7 Shifts to make your house feel like a home
Just signed a new lease? Or better yet, went unconditional on your very own property?
Congratulations! A fresh start is always exciting, and now you have the perfect blank canvas to play with. Personally, that is a dream come true to me!
Having said that, there’s also a lot to think about; packing, moving, hooking up utilities, paperwork. These are all important for sure, but there’s one more step to the moving process that is often overlooked…
Luckily, it’s a fun one! I’m talking about how to make your new house really feel like a home.
Using these techniques is going to make a huge difference to the enjoyment you get out of your new property, and just make everyday you spend there a little more special. I feel like this is more important than ever right now given we’re all spending way more time at home.
1. Decorate with unique art and sentimental items
One of the quickest ways to spot the difference between a home and a staged property is the personal touches (I always try to add these personal touches in my staging, so you can’t tell the difference, but that’s another story!).
Before you even start shopping, look at the items you already have which could double as decorative pieces. Think; trinkets from holidays, meaningful family photos, favourite coffee table books… Anything that you love and appreciate in some way which also looks good. It’s a minor difference that others might not even notice, but these little touches will help you instantly make your mark on the space – and put a smile on your face anytime you see them.
2. Don’t go straight to the popular chain stores
If you head down to the local shopping centre and buy all your decorative pieces or textiles here, your home might look beautiful on the surface, but it’s not going to feel like home if it looks like any other generic house. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful pieces to be found in popular stores, but my suggestion is to try and mix it up!
I love rummaging through antique stores to score one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, and I’m always discovering amazing small homewares retailers with their own unique style. If you don’t have the patience to go hunting for these gems yourself, an interior designer can help source the perfect pieces for you.
3. Make it work for your lifestyle
Nothing feels more uncomfortable than trying to live your life in a space that just isn’t set up for your needs. A true home needs to work for your lifestyle.
This is one of the main tricks that interior designers use to make sure our clients always fall in love with their space. We know that styling isn’t just about making a home look good, it’s about making it feel good too. A real home has to be functional, or you won’t be able to get the most out of it.
Start by thinking about what you spend the most time doing in your home – or what you’d like to do more of. Is it working from home? Is it entertaining outdoors? Are you planning to start or grow your family? Decide on your priorities early on and stick to them.
4. Only let things you love into your home
Now I am by no means a minimalist – just take a look at my wardrobe – but I can’t stand clutter. I’m all for having many things in your home – as long as you love them and they’re valuable to you.
Moving is the best opportunity to reassess which things you really want to keep, and what can be sold, given away, or replaced. Our tastes can change so much over time, so just because you loved a piece when you bought it, doesn’t mean you have to love it forever. Filling your home only with things that truly mean something to you and suit your tastes is so important to making the space feel like it’s truly yours.
5. Don’t forget scents
Styling a home doesn’t stop at the visual elements. The perfect space should be kind on all of your senses – including smell! I don’t know about you, but certain scents instantly take me back to warm memories. The right fragrances can instantly boost our mood or help us feel more comfortable and safe in our surroundings.
So take a favourite scent you’re used to; maybe a specific type of flower, essential oil or candle that you love, and diffuse it throughout your new space. You won’t believe the difference this makes, especially since it’s one of the first things you’ll notice every time you step through the door!
If you own your new home then congratulations, you now have the power to change it any way you like. Some of the transformations that I’ve seen are insane. Never feel limited by how your house looks right now, the smallest changes like changing paint colours, handles, window treatments or tiles can make a massive difference. There’s just something about making these updates yourself that is so satisfying and really makes you feel like the space is truly yours.
Now don’t disregard this tip if you’re renting either. Of course, your options will be more limited, but if you have some great ideas and your rental is in need of some work, it doesn’t hurt to ask your landlord if they might allow you to make some small improvements. The worst they can say is no!
7. Take the stress away
Now you might be wondering; this sounds great, Dani, but how will I find the time?
Let’s be honest, securing a new home is exciting, but moving is also super stressful! You don’t want your first impressions of your new space to be feelings of stress, anxiety and chaos, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. A little extra investment in some helping hands to get your home ready for move-in is well-worth it when you consider the savings in time, stress and energy that you’ll get out of it. You have enough on your to-do list already!
My first suggestion is definitely to use a trusted removalist to help with moving – especially those bulky items. Not only does this take a massive chunk of work off your to-do list, but professional removalists will know how to transport your pieces safely and avoid damage. In my opinion, it’s well worth it when you have valuable furniture in your home.
I recently discovered Muval, a site where you can find, compare and book removalists all in one place. It’s such a good idea, I wish I thought of it!
Beyond finding a great removalist, the other area where it might pay to get the help of a professional is styling your home. Now, of course, I am a little biased here but naturally I know the difference that an interior designer’s touch can make to a space. If you just aren’t interested in making all those decisions and doing the heavy lifting yourself, then you can always outsource it! A good interior designer will really get to know you and what you want to get out of your space, so they can ensure it still feels just as much like home as if you did everything yourself. We don’t even mind if you take the credit when your friends compliment your beautiful home…
I am so excited for you to be making your house into a home. This is such an exciting time – make the most of it! If you follow any of these tips for yourself, I’d love to see the end results – tag me @styledbydanit on Instagram so we can share the love.