First impressions count. This is a well-studied phenomenon in psychology where the first interaction you have with a person or object is the basis for the mental image you have thereafter. It’s completely normal human behaviour that most likely stems from a need to assess the environment around us and adapt to any challenges. What is also very human is the fact we are quite attached to our first impressions. Once formed, they are somewhat hard to get rid of. Whenever we go to important meetings such as job interviews, we will want to ensure we look our best and entirely in tune with what we are after.
Most people instinctively know this and will ensure they leave a good first impression and go out their way to groom themselves and dress nicely. But first impressions are not just restricted to humans, objects associated with us are measured in the same way as well. For example, what does your house say about you, in particular: what does the front of your house say about you. Here is a step by step walkthrough of what your guest will go through before you have a chance to welcome them inside.
Before people get to your house, the street you live on will set part of the expectations. Lots of trees will give set the scene for a romanticist, and a street devoid of green will set an urban vibe. If it’s easy to get to it shows practicality, if it’s a bit of a journey to get to, it shows you are willing to sacrifice convenience to get what you want. Regardless, on the way in the cars on display in the street will set the expectation regarding affluence. Flashy SUVs means that people will expect urban professionals, large MPVs will set the stage for family orientated individuals. Before even having reached the front of your house people will have formed an opinion of your standing in life.
Armed with an idea of who you are people will arrive at your house and their eye will wander to its surroundings: the front garden. 1 in 4 front gardens in the UK are paved as parking space is a premium in urban environments. In most cases paving your front yard is seen as practical. In all other cases, what you have in your front garden could say a thing or two about you. Lot’s of gravel and the occasional hard-wearing plant says that you are practical but also like to stand out at times. You are a realist who wants to have fun. A neatly mowed lawn and flowerbeds say you are a traditionalist. High hedges and almost a maze-like entrance says you are a dreamer and romantic. A front garden full of exotic plants says you are a seasoned traveller and a citizen of the world. A fully paved front yard with a single slab removed to make room for a plant means you are an anarchist.
Once the front garden has had a once-over, people will assess the size and age of your house. The size is directly related to how many bedrooms people imagine you have. If they guess single bedroom, they assume you are barely out of uni or just a loner. Two bedrooms mean you are at the start of your career and are in a relationship or are considering one. Three bedrooms and more means that you either have children or are considering them. The age of your house says something about how adventurous and romantic you are. A new build tells people you are practical and planning for the future. An old house usually means you are grounded and a realist. An ancient old house says you are a hopeless romantic.
With the size and age of your house assessed, people will try to investigate the inside of the house. A quick glance through the windows will give away clues of someone’s personality. Having blinds instead of curtains tells people you are no-nonsense. The state of your plants on the windowsill will tell someone if you are caring and dependable, a cactus will say you might have a more devil may cry attitude.
If people manage to peer into the window a bit longer, they might spot things beyond what’s directly near the window. If you have walls full of inspirational quotes you might want to consider that some psychologists, consider this a sign of neuroticism. They say that people who enjoy having quotes in their house, subconsciously have this to calm their worries and help them through the day.
Having loads of photos displayed of yourself usually means you are a millennial. Where the previous generation would consider hanging up pictures of yourself self-promotion, the generation that has grown up with selfies and Facebook believes this entirely reasonable.
If they manage to peer into your living room, the way your furniture is organised will tell them a lot about you. If all your furniture is orientated towards a TV, it says you like to be engrossed in a film or TV show. If you have a lot of room on the couch and additional chairs, it might mean you like to entertain. If you have made room for a desk, it says you like to productive and creative.
They also might spot how tidy or messy your house is. Now being meticulous shows attention to detail, care, and patience. Being clean and organised is commonly associated with being generous. A messy environment sometimes is a sign of creativeness. A disorderly environment helps people produce better ideas some studies say. Some studies have also made a link between being neat and messy in terms of political affiliation. Extreme neatness is often associated with conservatives and cluttered environments with liberal-minded individuals.
Regardless of how long people will stare into your window, and whatever judgement they make of the cleanliness, they will eventually be confronted your front door. And if they could not properly see the colours on display on the interior through the window, they will have a defining moment of colour now. Colour makes all the difference, and your front door is full of it. And although everyone will have a favourite colour, specific emotional associations seem quite universal. In most cases is not as much the colour itself that evokes an emotion, but the associations with it. These associations can vary from culture to culture. For example, in most Western cultures, black is associated with death, while in Asian cultures, this is usually white. Someone who has grown up in an Asian culture might be more uncomfortable in an all-white room with all-white walls, whereas a Western person will experience the same uncomfortably in a similar all-black room.
Other colours are more universal and can be traced back to quite rudimentary examples. Red, for example, is usually associated with fire and blood, often associated with excitement and danger. Blue is the colour of the sky and sea, representing openness and pensiveness. Green is the colour of grass, plants, and leaves, associated with a closer connection with our surroundings. Yellow is associated with the sun and warmth. Purple is associated with exotic plants and expensive textiles. Because of these rudimentary associations, the colour of choice for people can have some value in predicting personalities.
If we take the example of front doors, assuming someone takes the time to personalise it, people will have an idea of the person to open the door. If you have a dark blue front door, people will usually associate that with intelligence. Blue also says that you are easy going and feel comfortable in most situations. A yellow door is associated with happy and welcoming people. A black door evokes the air of mystery. Most likely you are consistent, conservative, and reserved. A grey door represents sincerity. A red door stands for passion. You like going out, and you’re not afraid to stand out in a crowd either. A purple front door will cause associations with creativity. A white door reminds people of peacefulness. A green door reminds people of traditional values. And lastly, a pink door is commonly associated with outgoing and mischievous personalities.
As people take in the front garden, size, and age of the house, what they can learn from peeking into the window and the front door, they will also consider the general state of repair of your front door, window frames and garage door. A poorly kept front door, with cracks in the wood or paint chips flaking off, is often associated with poor personal hygiene and care. Avoid this by adequately caring for the front door and refresh the paint once every few years. If you can afford it, get low maintenance window frames that will last you a while. If your garage door needs some care, consider garage door repairs by professionals.
Once you have all things in place for the front of your house to make a good impression, all that is left to do is open the door with a wide-open smile, a mysterious smirk, or whatever expression that fits the first impression you were planning to make.
*This is a contributed post