Hollie Modular Sofa:   by Darlings of Chelsea

Questions to avoid when you visit someone’s home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Nobody wants to come off as bored and uninteresting, right? That’s why we ask questions when in other people’s company, not only to show them that we notice our surroundings, but also that we take an interest and/or are curious in them as people. 

However, curiosity often leads to trouble, especially when you don’t know when to zip it. A question such as “Where did you get that lovely lampshade” is fine, but asking “How much did you pay for that sofa” is a bit more awkward. 

Thus, the next time you’re a guest in someone else’s house and want to appear interested instead of nosy (or downright rude), see which questions are deemed okay by social standards, and which ones are completely off limits.

1. Never ask: “How much did that cost?”

 Front doors by FingerHaus GmbH
FingerHaus GmbH

VIO 302—Eingang

FingerHaus GmbH

When being shown your host’s new headboard, study desk, or kitchen island (or any other fancy feature), resist the temptation to talk costs. It’s a bit indelicate to ask what they spend on their furniture and décor, very much like asking how much they earn. 

Rather rephrase with: “I really like that colour/material.” Drop a positive comment on that particular feature’s colour or style, and ask your host to recommend the builder responsible. Zero in on the results instead of the financial details.

2. Never ask: “How much is this place worth now?”

Exterior - Before and After Side dormer : modern Houses by A1 Lofts and Extensions
A1 Lofts and Extensions

Exterior—Before and After Side dormer

A1 Lofts and Extensions

This question is equally awkward as asking your host what they paid for a property. If you really want the details, Google-search local estate agents and get the scoop from them. 

Rather rephrase with: “Has your property gone up since you bought it?” This shows you are interested without being inquisitive, and your host is free to reveal what the price is without feeling like you placed them on the spot.

3. Never ask: “Did your kid(s) paint this?”

 Walls & flooring by Bimago
Bimago

Bimago Wandbild

Bimago

If you happen to spot an interesting-looking painting on the wall, never ask if the host’s child painted it, just in case they didn’t…  

Rather rephrase with: “Wow, that’s unique! Now what, exactly, does this painting mean to you?”  

These 10 Simple Tips For Gallery-Worthy Wall Art At Home are for your own home, not to recommend to your host!

4. Never ask: “How do you manage in such a small/big house?”

Floreat Residence: modern Houses by Moda Interiors
Moda Interiors

Floreat Residence

Moda Interiors

Don’t draw attention to your host’s house size, whether it’s a tiny bachelor pad or a 10-room mansion. 

Even if you mean to compliment their large house, your host could feel that they have to apologise for their good fortune. And pointing out how small a place is might make them feel embarrassed or patronised. 

Rather rephrase with: There is no good substitute question! Compliment their beautiful floors, or whatever.

5. Never ask: “Is this from IKEA?”

modern Dining room by Allnatura
Allnatura

Stuhl Auricia und Tisch Mercedo

Allnatura

It might sound like a compliment in your head, but if your host has spent a pretty penny on that bookshelf/dining table/whatever piece, your question could seem like a snooty remark. 

Rather rephrase with: “It’s gorgeous, where did you find this”!?

6. Never ask: “Aren’t those white walls/carpets/couches impractical with children/dogs?”

Hollie Modular Sofa: classic Living room by Darlings of Chelsea
Darlings of Chelsea

Hollie Modular Sofa

Darlings of Chelsea

Yes, we all know that white surfaces can be challenging, but it’s not your place to get all practical with your host’s choice in home furnishings

They might take your questions as you implying their white surfaces are looking a bit grubby! 

Rather rephrase with: “Everything is so clean, I feel like I need to take my shoes off!” *enter friendly giggle right here.

7. Never ask: “Why don’t you guys extend into the loft?”

A subtle hint of a loft extension...: modern Houses by The Market Design & Build
The Market Design & Build

A subtle hint of a loft extension…

The Market Design & Build

This seems like a reasonable question. However, if a cash flow is the thing that is keeping that expansion from happening, you are obliging your host to confess to financial constraints. Nice job! 

Rather rephrase with: “Have any of your neighbours done loft extensions?”

8. Never ask: “How much did this place cost?”

House prices are fascinating, especially other people’s, but asking outright how much your host spends on his/her lifestyle can cause embarrassment, especially if it turns out to be quite valuable. Or if they received help from family in buying it. 

Rather rephrase with: “How long have you lived here? And have you seen a change in the area during that time”? A much safer approach!

9. Never ask: “Why do you have such a big TV/bed/table/ etc?”

Fairways at the Bishops Avenue: modern Bedroom by Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors
Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors

Fairways at the Bishops Avenue

Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors

You wouldn’t ask about your host’s anatomical package, would you? Well then, don’t draw attention to any large décor- and/or furniture pieces either. They have their reasons, and it’s theirs! 

Rather rephrase with: “Bloody nice bed, looks super comfy!’ 

10. Never ask: “Where do you get your design style from? Your place is so unique/quirky/you!”

eclectic Living room by homify
homify

Chic Living Room

homify

Don’t draw attention to your host’s unusual interior design style, even if you are genuinely impressed by it. It’s easy to read this question as criticism. 

Rather rephrase with: “Amazing. Well done on a truly unique style!” *remember to smile!

Did we forget any questions that could be sensitive?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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