Home is where the heart is: how to impress a date with your décor style

Happy couple in a nicely decorated home

April is Decorating Month and, while that might seem unrelated to the world of dating, our newest survey has discovered that your home décor can have a bigger impact on your love-life than you might think. In fact, more than half of Canadians would end a burgeoning romance if their date’s living space was sub-par!¹

It’s what’s on the inside that counts: why décor matters

The survey, which looked at responses from 700 Canadians, revealed that a person’s home decorating style can shape how they are seen by others, with a whopping 94% of singles believing that a person’s living space reflects their personality.

This connection means that one’s home decor can have the power to help – or harm – romantic relationships. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Canadians (64%) think that it is possible to be initially attracted to someone simply because they have a stylish, welcoming home. Additionally, more than half of Canadians singles (58%) would dump a potential partner whose living situation turned out to be unwelcoming – and 11% already have!

Décor don’ts: five style no-nos (and how to fix them)

So what exactly is it that makes a home unwelcoming? The survey had Canadians vote on their biggest décor don’ts, revealing the top five things that put off prospective partners. We’ve listed them here – along with a few tips on how to fix them:

1. A lingering smell (e.g. tobacco): Earning 55% of the vote, the biggest décor don’t for Canadians is a house that smells, with tobacco being tipped as the worst offender. Want to overcome it? Cleanipedia notes that prevention is better than cure: if you must smoke inside, make sure to let air circulate so that the aromas don’t settle.2

2. Clothes lying around: The second biggest no-no for Canadians, untidy piles of clothes are a common problem that’s easy to solve. Jennifer Phelps from Houzz recommends storing your clothes in a way that lets you see them all (i.e. filing rather than stacking). That way you never have to messily dig for what you need!3

3. A lack of real furniture: A lack of furniture screams ‘unsettled,’ making it the third biggest décor turn off. However, for those just starting out (or starting over), a bare home can be daunting to furnish. Apartment Therapy recommends buying big pieces of furniture second hand, allowing you to save money until you get a feel for the style you want.4

4. Video games and action figures on display: The fourth biggest décor turn-off is untidy piles of video games, cables, cords and collectable toys. Games Radar suggests investing in a multi-use USB cable to charge all your goodies: fewer cables instantly means less clutter.5

5. Ugly, clashing décor: An eyesore of a house is considered the fifth biggest turn-off but luckily the fix for a mismatched life is surprisingly easy: it’s all about the ‘bridge pieces.’ Anabelle Bernard Fournier from BuildDirect suggests looking at the colours that don’t match (eg red and blue) and adding some hints of a colour that can harmonize with them both (in this case purple). Even something as simple as a rug can really tie a room together!6

Décor do’s: 5 ways to impress a date with your home

Thankfully, it’s not all bad news for the decoratively challenged. As the survey revealed, a welcoming house has the opposite impact to an unwelcoming one and, happily, we’ve also uncovered the top five household additions that can help you impress a date with your home:

  1. Thoughtfully planned décor
  2. Family pictures
  3. A pet
  4. A well-stocked bookshelf
  5. Artworks on the walls

Interestingly, the top décor flourishes that attract Canadians are not those that scream opulence, expense and luxury. Instead, the five top picks mostly include the kind of cherished, sentimentally-valuable items that make a house a home.

In Psychologies magazine, author Kara O’Reilly and psychologist Linda Papadopoulos discuss this notion of ‘home‘ and how we create it by surrounding ourselves with our favourite things.7 This could be one explanation for why the singles in our survey are attracted to the more gentle, cozy aspects of home décor: if someone’s home has style touches like books and photos, it’s a good indication that their favourite things include such values as intelligence and family. In other words, a cozy home can help indicate that the owner is ready for the kind of lasting, rewarding relationship that our members seek.

Why you shouldn’t mess around when it comes to cleaning

Long-term, then, it is a good idea to focus on your interiors if you want to indicate your relationship-readiness to other singles. However, if you don’t have time to completely redo your interiors, don’t despair – you can still impress a date with your home. You just need to do one thing: have a really good cleaning session. This will help you get on the good side of the 84% of Canadians who would rather date someone too tidy than someone too messy.

As it turns out, many singles in Canada are already getting the cleaning message. 85% say that they always clean the house before a date – with the cleanliness of some rooms being more important than others.

Surprisingly, the most important room to clean up is not the bedroom. In fact, just 5% of singles would make it a priority to change their sheets before a date came round – making bed prep even less urgent than buying fresh flowers (considered a must-do by 7% of singles). Instead, the #1, must-clean room in the whole house is the bathroom. 40% of singles make it a policy to always scrub the toilet before welcoming their date for a romantic night in meaning that, for many Canadians, a clean lavatory might just hold the keys to love!

Want to meet someone to build your home with? Start by joining EliteSingles today.

EliteSingles editorial April 2016

If you have any questions, comments or tips on how to impress a date with your home then please leave a comment below or write to us at [email protected]


1 All statistics from the EliteSingles ‘Dating and decorating’ survey, 2016. Sample size: 700 Canadian men and women.

2 Cleanipedia, How to Get Rid of the Smell of Smoke. Found at https://www.cleanipedia.com/gb/odour-stain-removal/how-to-get-rid-of-the-smell-of-smoke

3 Jennifer Pearce, writing for Houzz, 2015. 7 Habits to Help a Tidy Closet Stay That Way. Found at http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/19420259/list/7-habits-to-help-a-tidy-closet-stay-that-way

4 Apartment Therapy, 9 Things I Wish I’d Known About Decorating a First Home. Found at http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/what-i-know-now-that-i-wish-i-157684

5 Ryan Taljonick, writing for Games Radar, 2014. Lifehacks for Gamers. Found at http://www.gamesradar.com/13-life-hacks-gamers/

6 Anabelle Bernard Fournier, writing for BuildDirect. Home Decor First Aid: How To Harmonize Your Home. Found at https://www.builddirect.com/blog/home-decor-first-aid-how-to-harmonize-your-home/

7 Kara O’Reilly, writing for Psychologies magazine, 2012, How to Make Your House A Home. Found at https://www.psychologies.co.uk/self/how-to-make-your-house-a-home.html

About the author: Sophie Watson

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