Everyone would like to come home to a house that makes them feel comfortable, welcome and happy to be there. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to make your house feel like home.
Click Next to see our 7 steps to create a home that is comfortable, welcoming and warm.
Step 1: Surround yourself with things you love (and get rid of the things you don’t)
If you only follow one of the steps to make your house feel like home, this is the one to follow. Surrounding yourself with things you love applies to everything…furniture, accessories, drapery, rugs, paint colors…everything.
You’ll be amazed at how much more welcoming your house feels when you don’t have to look at that painting you have always hated, or light candles in the expensive candle sticks that don’t suit your taste, or sit in the old hand-me-down armchair that you never liked. When you don’t really like the things that you live with, you get a negative feeling every time you look at them or use them. You will never feel completely relaxed and comfortable with all that negative energy hanging around.
The opposite happens when you have a picture or piece of furniture that you really love…every time you see it, it brings a little happiness to your life. And once you feel happier and more relaxed at home, everyone else will feel more comfortable there, too…that relaxed feeling is contagious!
Obviously if you don’t live alone, you may need to do some negotiating. If that armchair you are dying to get rid of happens to be your husband’s favorite chair, it might be better for your marriage to come up with a compromise. Maybe it can go to another room in the house that he can call his own. Or he might be fine with swapping it out for a different comfortable chair that you like. Or if it’s mostly the color that bothers you, you could buy (or make) a slipcover for it that allows the chair to stay.
Step 2: Make your home easy to live in
Another major component in helping to make your house feel like home is by making the people in it feel comfortable…so set your rooms up to be easy to live in.
Think of what people in the room would want before they have thought of it themselves.
- Place a blanket over the back of a reading chair or the sofa that someone could use if they were cold
- Have a place to put down a drink for every seat, with coasters if it is a table that will mark if it gets wet
- Use lamps or overhead lights with dimmers to provide diffused lighting which make people’s skin tone look better
- On a similar note, get rid of all fluorescent lighting. Nobody looks good in fluorescent light. I won’t even use them in the garage!
- Put breakable things in places where they can be seen but not easily knocked over. Nothing makes people feel more uncomfortable than constantly being worried that they will knock something over and break it!
- Make sure there’s enough room to comfortably pull out chairs in the dining room
- Hang a mirror in the front hall so people can check their hair and make up on the way in or out.
- Hang a framed sign with your wireless network name and password in your guest room, so that people don’t have to ask you what it is
- Provide a place for charging phones and laptops
- Place the phone beside your favorite chair so you don’t have to get up to answer it
- Have an easily-accessible stack of books or magazines that anyone could read
The next time you sit in your room, notice the things that annoy you. Then come up with a way to fix them.
Step 3: Use your decorating type to determine what to put in your rooms
If you can figure out the type of decorator you are, you will find it easier to stick to rule #1.
1. Do you get tired of things quickly? People who get bored with their decor easily need to plan to be able to change it. Use the following ideas to choose things that can be changed easily:
- Use paint instead of wallpaper.
- Buy furniture that comes with a slip cover, or is easy to slip cover, so you can change the look easily.
- Buy less expensive furniture so you won’t feel guilty replacing it.
- Buy modular furniture that can be re-arranged more easily (ie. re-positioning a sofa and a chair is easier than finding a new location for a large sectional)
- Have an accessory storage location in the house so you can put your accessories on a rotation…swap some of them out to a different room or to your storage area, and bring out some new ones to keep the room from getting stale.
- Use a fairly consistent color scheme throughout your house so that it is easy to move furniture and accessories from room to room.
2. Would you be unhappy with your purchase if was not a high-quality product? If you are someone who is uncomfortable living with lower quality furniture and accessories, don’t do it! Again, this will cause negative energy in your house every time you look at or sit on that sofa. If you are on a budget, you can often find good-quality furniture for lower prices at thrift stores, antique stores or consignment shops, especially if you shop in the area of town where the higher-end neighborhoods are located. If you are shopping for new furniture, it would be better to save for the better-quality piece that you want than to live for years with something that is making you subconsciously unhappy in your home.
3. Are you a function-first or style-first decorator? Some people are mostly concerned with making sure that what they buy functions the way they want it to, while others are much more concerned about the way that it looks. Recognizing which personality type you are will help you remember the part that you are missing. Buying a sofa that is the perfect color but uncomfortable to sit on or the wrong size for the room will make the room feel uncomfortable, as will buying the right-sized, comfortable sofa that is the wrong color. For a house to feel welcoming, it needs to have both function and beauty, so when you are purchasing items, try to find things that fulfill both sides of the equation–looking good and functioning well.
4. What makes you feel relaxed and comfortable? Figuring this out will help determine the decorating styles you should use. Do you think of curling up with a book in a large chair in front of the fireplace? Walking on the beach on a beautiful sunny day? Hiking through the mountains? Whatever your definition of relaxing is…use that as a starting point for how to decorate and accessorize your rooms.
Step 4: Add accessories and pillows that are “you”
Throw pillows, blankets, pictures and other accessories often contribute to a “homey” feeling especially if they reflect the personality of the owner.
Having said that, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. A sofa with a couple of cushions at each end is welcoming. A sofa with so many cushions on it that there is no room to sit down is not. If there are so many accessories on the tables that people have no room to put their drinks down or cannot walk by without fear of knocking something off, they will not feel comfortable even if it does look beautiful.
Step 5: Choose fabrics with texture that automatically add a welcoming feeling
Step 5 for how to make your house feel like home is to include fabrics with texture. Texture adds warmth to any space and helps to create a comfortable home. Think of a plush area rug, a chenille blanket, woolly throw pillows, or a velvet-covered chaise. All of these made with fabrics that have texture. This is especially important if you are someone who prefers streamlined rooms with few accessories…texture will add the warmth that is missing.
Step 6: Choose colors that match your personality and allow you to express yourself
Choosing colors that you love will definitely help you create a home that you are always happy to walk into.
Your definition of relaxing often dictates whether you prefer a darker or lighter color on the walls. Darker colors bring the space in, and can make large rooms feel more grounded and cozy…if you are a “curl-up in front of the fireplace” person, this may be exactly what you are looking for.
Lighter colors expand the space and make it feel more airy…if your idea of relaxing is walking on the beach, this may be the way to go for you.
If you are someone who is afraid to use a lot of color (and there are a lot of you out there), you can still use neutrals for your walls and big furniture pieces, and then bring in color using smaller items, such as cushions, accessories and artwork. This also gives you the benefit of being able to swap the color out for another one if you get tired of it.
Step 7: Choose the right light fixture for the right room
Lighting is often one of the most overlooked parts of a room, and I think it makes the biggest impact on the ambiance in the room.
In social areas, use lamps and wall sconces that provide light from the side rather than relying solely on overhead lighting. Overhead lights tend to throw unnatural shadows that are not always flattering. Lamps that provides diffused light at face level help even out these shadows making people look better (make sure that the bulbs are covered in eye-level lighting…looking directly at the bulbs is hard on the eyes).
Any kind of lights that provide interesting reflections, such as the crystals on chandeliers, will add a little more glamour to your room (and everyone knows I love a little sparkle!). And candles add warmth to any room.
For functional areas, such as kitchens, adding task lights (such as under-cabinet lights in the kitchen) will make it easier to work. And anything that makes work around the house easier, will help to create a comfortable home.