Creating a home takes time, but feeling at home doesn’t have to wait. Today I’m sharing seven simple ways we made our house feel like home in the first year. This October we celebrated our first year anniversary of selling our previous house and making this one our “forever home”! Time flies, yes?
Hopefully, these simple concepts and ideas will inspire and encourage you to make your house a home right now, whether you’ve lived there for decades are are just moving in.
Simple ways to make any house feel like home
1. Hang art (or photos!) on the walls!
Even though we know some spaces in our home will change and we aren’t sure where our art will land more “permanently” (if permanent is even a thing ha), we started hanging our art (and personal family photos, too). It was a helpful way to get it off the floor and out of boxes! And it instantly made our house feel more “homey.”
Hanging your photos or art does not have to be the last step in creating a home. We don’t have to be 100% certain where we want it. Designers often say to make sure your paint colors and backdrops the way you want them first and then hang art as a final “finishing step.” While hanging art last may be ideal, for many of us waiting for that perfect moment to feel at home is not always possible, necessary or even beneficial.
Blank walls with art on the floor tells our subconscious that we are not able to relax or get settled. It is a reminder that there is so much to do (or that we are unable to do) that we should not even try to feel at home yet. And that feels, well, unsettling, especially for us homebodies.
So unless you are really just about to paint the room or are remodeling it immediately, I think going ahead and hanging your art or family photos tells your eyes, brain and heart that you belong here. You are able to make this a home right now, even if some things will change in time.
Here is a related post to hanging art:
2. Layer in personal accessories and warmth.
You might remember we bought this house with some furniture in it! Long story, but it was wonderful for us as most of our other larger furniture would not have fit here (we gave most of what we had to our kids). So in order to make this space feel like our home right away, we brought in some of our own things and began layering in our personal accessories and warmth through textiles and lighting.
Besides our own art, we have been adding our own personal accessories and books on shelves. To me, it’s those personal things that really make any space feel like your own.
We also got some pretty new pillow covers, throw blankets and slipcovers on the chairs! They make the house feel more layered and cozy, which helped me to feel more at home. The new things we bought we know we’ll love and be able to use no matter what might be updated in these rooms in the future.
For even more warmth and personality, we hung two new light fixtures so far! One is this lantern in our entry. It’s so charming, I feel like it set the tone for the whole house, so it was a perfect start to the character and feeling we want for our home.
The other light we added is the sconce you see above. Ours is not wired in! You can see the sources in the battery powered sconces here. I love the personality it brought to this little book nook and it makes this little book nook spot so warm and inviting when the light is on, too. It could be easily wired in if we want to down the road (we left the wires in place!).
See the following posts related to adding layers of warmth and personality (and room sources)!
New Lantern in the Entry (before and after)
How to Pick Decorative Pillows that Go Together (5 tips on style, which inserts to get and saving money)
The Ultimate Decorative Pillow Round Up
A Home that Tells Your Story (My Staffordshire Dogs in the Living Room)
New Affordable Slipcovers for My Chairs
Layers with Reversible Throw Blankets
In tip #3, let’s talk about creating experiences that connect us to our home ….
3. Create memories and new traditions related to the home.
Our living room has double doors out to our little covered porch, and of course we are having a lot of fun with that! We’ve decorated it in each season, hung window boxes (railing boxes!, and put up our wall lantern on the porch. We added an outdoor rug this summer (at some point I may bring it in for the winter, but I’m still enjoying it! The porch is covered so it’s fine. You can find the porch accessories and rug sources in this post.
We are SO excited for our second Christmas here so we can hang our porch stars again! They will be a tradition here every year, we loved that last year and our neighbors did, too.
I think one of the BEST ways to make any house feel like yours is to immediately make memories in it. Create new and special traditions you look forward to at home in each season! We started a “candles in the window” tradition this year for winter and we will look forward to that next year as well. We’re also hosting Thanksgiving this year, our first official family holiday here in our home (since last year it snowed and we had to cancel!).
Of course, I love to do simple homey things, too, like clean surfaces, wash windows, touch up paint. Caring for your home makes you feel like it belongs to you and you belong there! It’s fun to be able to putter around the house and do simple projects inside and out to make it feel welcoming to our family. It’s the little things we do in every season that make us feel more connected to our home!
below are posts related to creating memories and new traditions related to the home
Start a candles in the windows tradition
Create a coffee shop experience at home
Our Christmas Porch and a New Tradition for our Home
DIY Scented Pinecones (toxin-free scents)
Thanksgiving in the Kitchen Mood Board (we’re hosting this year!)
Hang Railing Boxes (window boxes!)
DIY Porch Wall Lantern without wiring, electricity or gas!
Wondering which room should you prioritize? Let’s talk about that in tip #4, it might not be the room you think…..
4. Bring comfort to the bedroom.
One of the first rooms to get set up and settled in (in my opinion) should be the bedroom. It doesn’t have to be all decorated right away, but if you feel like you have a comfortable place to rest, you’ll feel more relaxed and at home. Many people think you should start with the public rooms. But I think if you have to prioritize a room, the bedroom is a perfect room to start since it’s nurturing how you feel in your home.
January of last year we did a few simple things to our room, such as putting up some affordable wall sconces next to the bed. They have been wonderful for reading and mood lighting. You can find the January bedroom refresh post with sources here.
Then a couple of weeks ago I hung these beautiful (and affordable!) curtains and gorgeous curtain rods, both of which I absolutely LOVE! I’ll take more photos soon to show you how they look in the room, but I haven’t even steamed out the wrinkles yet :). This is the view wall with the double doors and two side windows. It was tricky to decide what to do, but I’m happy with what I came up with.
The curtains were a bit of an impulse buy, but I feel good about that when I’m certain they are the right choice! I had been thinking about curtain panels in here for awhile. The minute I saw the fabric I knew it was just what I wanted in here. Patterned curtains have been one of my signature style pieces for years! They are a bold choice, but they are helping me to shape the style of this room. Rather than feeling indecisive about choices or making everything safe and neutral, the curtains can be the deciding factor on what to do next. In fact, they already have inspired some new additions and layers I’m working on. Stay tuned for more!
Just like hanging art, curtains can be hung whenever you want them to be. That’s the beauty of not spending a fortune on custom drapes, there are so many affordable ready made panels or if you sew, you make your own. Then you can enjoy them as long as you want to. Let your home evolve over time, so no need to “design it” once and for all.
You’ll see various ways I have been pulling spaces together in this post. Every room is different, what I have to work with or can find is different for each space so I would rarely furnish or add pieces in the same order every time. To make your home “homey” you aren’t trying to design it like a designer would all in order so that it is “finished.”
Feeling at home is the goal, so there is no right or wrong way to do that.
If you are stumped where to begin decorating a room, or how, I have new decorating resources on the way to help you! Be sure to subscribe to my emails so you don’t miss any of my new decorating resources and updates to this room!
related posts to creating a comfortable bedroom
Refresh Your Bedroom for January
3 Updates to Make Your Bedroom Your Sanctuary
Now let’s talk about the significance of creating a functional space in tip #5 …
5. Set up functional spaces to be practical, then work on pretty.
The week of Courtney’s wedding we set up a bed (one we already had) in a corner in my office for an additional guest space. It didn’t seem “ideal” from a design standpoint to create a guest corner in this room, but it was the best option for our home and current situation. I’ll share more about this room and corner soon as well, but we used what we had to meet an immediate need and as a result, it made us (and our family) feel more at home!
A few weeks ago I added a cute new quilt and shams and a darling lampshade to the lamp. I don’t have a real plan with where I’m going with this space, I’m just adding cuteness as I find things that work here, or that I think are worth buying. 🙂 .
For spaces to evolve over time, you can begin to meet the practical needs of your family or guests. You don’t have to have a design plan, just a “meet needs” plan. In this case, we needed a bed, a lamp, a table. Then make what you have pretty on a budget that makes sense.
Working on practical solutions applies to getting organized in your home, too! We didn’t have space for our guest linens in a closet, so we found a practical solution. See our under bed organizers here!
Related resources for setting up spaces to be pretty and practical.
I’ve written many books on the home, on so many topics! Everything decorating to hosting gatherings, to finding contentment with what you have, to creating a healthier home and ways to savor the joy of every season in your home.
Find the complete list of my books here, get inspired for your home, add them to your coffee table and bookshelves and give them as gifts!
I’ll share two more helpful tips for you, below!
6. A rug can pull together a mix of furnishings and styles!
The guest bed is on the other side of this room above. It’s not only my office but it’s become real multipurpose space for guests and TV watching, too. Recently we added a new area rug to this conversation area. It works great over the existing carpet, so we are able to enjoy it now even as we await new flooring.
I’ve always tried as much as possible to use furniture I have, even mixing and matching pieces that didn’t originally “go together.” One way to bringing random pieces together is to choose an area rug that has a couple of the main furniture colors in it. I love the cozy color palette of brown and teal rug, and it pulls together the two main colors in our leather sofa and the teal chair and ottoman. The pattern, palette and size the rug also brings a sense of intention and unity the existing furniture and conversation area in this room.
And finally, a tip that might be hard to find on design shows or Instagram these days, but it works for our “real life” home!
7. Live in a home before making major changes.
While many people decide to go big and fast in their first year completing home projects, remodeling or decorating, we have taken the first year slow and simple. We always try to wait at least a year before changing permanent things.
There’s not a right or wrong way to get settled when you move, or when you should begin to do projects in a home. Every home and family is different, and sometimes you just have to things right away or before you move in. But going slower is generally what has worked for us in all of our homes. Even in our homes that definitely NEEDED remodeling!
Taking our time has taught us to be patient, content and creative with things we already have, too, as we create a sanctuary for our family.When we take time to get organized and settled we can better see where the needs actually are (not just run with the grand ideas we had before we even moved in).
Layer by layer, our house is feeling more and more like us and we have a more confident vision for it going forward.
Now … onto the holidays and year two!
Posts related to living in a home before making major changes: