When it comes to our homes, we want them to be an extended expression of ourselves and our personalities.
Whether you want to add some value to your home or simply just make it your own, there are plenty of areas that you can focus on. Some may involve spending a little bit of money, and others are small touches that won’t break the budget.
In every situation, though, if you truly want your home to be expression of you…your preferences, your personality, your lifestyle, your family…it will be more than checking off a list of things to do. You’ll put a little of your heart into it, too. But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
The magazine photos, Instagram and Pinterest pics are beautiful and usually look oh-so-perfect. Our initial reaction is to think, “if only my house could look like that!” But it’s so much more than a pretty picture, my friend.
The image above is not perfect by any means. It is the living area of the home I sold in Florida when I moved back to Michigan. But even with it’s flaws, it represents me, my style, my lifestyle, and things that I love.
Let’s dive deeper and learn some of the things that you can do to learn how to turn a house into a home to love.
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How to Turn a House Into a Home to Love
Create a Plan for Your Home’s Interior
I’ll use my new home as an example, because I recently relocated and started completely over with furnishings…and I mean completely. I wouldn’t necessarily advise making that drastic change in midlife, but it’s what I did and things have turned out well.
I brought a few things with me that have sentimental value, but in terms of the furniture and accessories, it was a blank canvas.
Here is a photo of the living area before I moved in:
I knew that I wanted a comfortable, casual style with a bit of a modern farmhouse / industrial look.
I wanted to have some fun with the accents, too. Nothing too contrived or matchy-matchy. (my technical term)
Some bright colors as accents were also high on the list, as the color palette of the walls and carpet were very neutral (a nice way of saying they were a bit boring).
To compliment and accent my ivory walls/trim and gray/blue carpet, I decided to use these colors throughout my home:
- Aqua – primary accent color
- Tangerine/Orange – primary accent color
- Sage Green
- and varying shades of blue and red
I wanted to take the small niche that you can see on the left side of the room and turn it into my office. So, the decisions I made for that area needed to work with the rest of the interesting, unique look with simple furnishings and accessories.
Timing was a factor as well, because I was in my new home and needed something to sit on. 🙂 Placing an order and waiting for 6 to 8 weeks would not work for me.
Your home may not look as empty and forlorn as mine does in the image above. You don’t have to take everything out of your home to put these tips into place and turn your house into a home to love. They can apply in any situation.
Whether you are decorating an empty space, redoing an existing room or freshening up your entire home, be sure to create a plan before you take the first step or spend any money.
Where are you going to spend the time and money making improvements, creating your custom dwelling, carving out the expressive home that embodies who you are and how you live?
For many, it is the Kitchen, the heart of the home. My kitchen included new appliances with the purchase, a big plus for me.
The flooring throughout the home was brand new also, another big plus.
The rest of the kitchen is fairly well used, and I thought about visiting a kitchen cabinet showroom to see what the possibilities would be for replacing the counter tops and cabinets.
Ultimately, though I determined that it was not realistic for me to make this expenditure right away, so I cleaned them all really, really well and called it good.
Update 2021: I was able to do some basic updating to the kitchen in 2020, including countertops, backsplash, sink, and faucet. Even though I kept the original cabinets, the result was such an improvement!
The Master Bath and Guest Bath in my new condo were also pretty tired, but clean.
I decided to go with one of my bright accent colors in the Guest Bath, shown above. Nothing fancy…the shower curtain is from Target…but it’s colorful and inviting.
Update 2021: The guest bath benefited from a remodel this year, thank goodness! Although I’m always grateful for what I have, it feels so much better to send my family and friends into a clean, fresh bathroom:
And, this little remodel was very cost effective. My budget was very modest and all of the fixtures came from Lowes as they were available in the store. No special or custom orders.
The Master Bedroom needed to be functional, as I didn’t want to sleep on the floor. But I wasn’t too concerned about it beyond the bed and a dresser.
I decided that the Living, Office and Dining areas were going to receive my immediate attention as far as the budget and styling were concerned.
Prioritizing your efforts will always help keep you on track, so matter the size of your decorating project. Remember to consider your budget.
Where to start? What to do? How to best put your plan and priorities into action? So many questions…let’s take a look at the options when you’re turning a house into a home.
I have a lot of experience with interior decorating and home staging, so putting a style, a look, a room, an entire home together is not intimidating for me. I’m not bragging, it’s just the reality of the situation.
So for me, my plan and my priorities were clear in my head, and from there I started to gather photos of pieces that I liked and that fit my budget.
It usually makes sense to find the largest pieces first, and in this case that is what I did. I found the sofa, accent chairs and dining set at a local furniture store. The pattern on the chairs was a bit of a risk, but I loved them at first sight and knew they would fit perfectly into my plan!
The sofa had to be a certain size, as my living area is not huge, and this piece fit the size and the style requirement. Casual, clean, simple, easy and not too light in color.
After those purchases were made I was able to continue on with the accent pieces, like the coffee table, end tables, dining area rug, pillows and art. I actually brought the art you see with me from my previous home, confident that I would find a place for them, and I did!
I knew the Plan, as that had already been determined, so I was confident of my choices because I knew they would work well. And that, my friends, is half the battle of decorating your home, turning it from ‘just a house’ into a home to live in and love. Confidence in your decisions.
Maybe you want the focus to be on your entire home, and while completely changing every room in your house will cost you a small fortune, decorating it with a fresh coat of paint and sprucing up the smaller details could be just enough.
You might decide to totally refresh a particular room. The process is the same. Set a Plan, determine the Priorities. Decide if this is going to be the first step in transitioning to a different color palette.
If so, give a bit of thought to the colors you are selecting and how they might work in the other rooms of your home.
To help your home flow from room to room, keep to similar color tones and styles throughout.
Here are some similar pieces to those I selected for the living area as well as the corner desk in my office area:
While painting can be a great way to help your home flow and feel renewed, think about the furniture that you have on display as well as the smaller pieces and accents.
I knew that the space I was working with was not large, so my choices in furniture and accessories were kept to scale. Nothing huge in this condo!
How the furniture is placed can create an emotional response, or vibe, in your home.
I always enjoy using angles to create interest and the vibe, so I used them in the living area, making sure that the occupants (me, typically) would be able to enjoy the TV, conversation, fireplace and the view.
The accents such as coffee table, end tables, the desk in my ‘office’, the lighting…all were chosen to be consistent with my casual, Modern Farmhouse style with an industrial vibe. (The Plan!)
Other considerations were the finish, the wood type/look, the base and the shape of each piece. I didn’t want a Great Room full of circles, or squares, or rectangles, so I mixed up the shapes, as well as the finishes on the tops and bases of the pieces.
One vintage piece was included, and I love it. The small china cabinet belonged to my great Aunt Bada, and I had it in my home many years ago. The piece found its way back to me recently, and it still looks pretty good!
I was able to put my china and collectables in it, and I think the antique piece is a wonderful focal point. Mixing vintage and more modern, or contemporary pieces can be a wonderful look if you enjoy it!
You may love modern furniture, or like to put your own stamp on things by upcycling older and retro pieces.
Remember: only have things in your home that you love, want and need. This can help avoid clutter.
Furnishing a home is such a personal decision. Whether you are starting out with an empty palette as I did, you’re replacing the furniture and decor in an entire room, or choosing some new pieces to blend in with what you have, how to turn a house into a home will be an ongoing project.
I’ve got a ways to go as we close out 2021, but each of the rooms in my small home reflect my personal taste and lifestyle.
It is a reflection of me, what I love and how I live. I have turned this house into a home!
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4 thoughts on “How to Turn a House Into a Home, and Love the Results!”
Excellent advice. I have been working hard to make my house feel like a home. It’s a process that has taken almost 13 years, mostly because we didn’t originally plan to stay here this long, but with new paint, furniture moved around and a few new pieces, I’m finally starting to love it.
Glad to hear that your home is taking on the qualities that you love, Sarah. Sometimes it is a long process!
I love your home! It is so comforting and welcoming but at the same time very modern and chic. We’re busy buying at the moment and this is the look we’re after. It’s an old house (we’ve been told around 300 years!) so we can’t touch the outside at all without permission from the local government, but inside we want to do it like you have – a fresh, clean, modern look to balance the traditional touches it has. You’ve given me so much inspiration! Thank you x
I’m glad you found some helpful tips here, Elizabeth. I love old homes that have a rich history! Hope the purchase goes well and you can start updating the interior soon!