Whether you’ve just moved into a new house or you’re looking for inviting ideas for a house you’ve lived in for a while, these questions and tips for how to make a house a home will help you create that homey feeling.
Have you recently moved into a new house that still doesn’t make you feel like home?
Or maybe you’ve been there for a while but just haven’t been able to create that homey feeling?
Everyone would like to have a house that feels inviting and makes them happy to be there.
But sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you need to do to create that feeling of home.
While there are some easy things you can do to make a house a home, the first step is to figure out what exactly “home” means to you.
Because everyone has their own definition of what a welcoming and comfortable home looks (and feels) like.
So we’ll start with some questions that will help you determine your personal home style.
Then we’ll combine those answers with some quick fixes to come up with a decorating plan.
Let’s get started with those questions…
1 | What Do You Love?
This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission if you buy the products from these links (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But we only recommend products we would use ourselves. For more information, click here to see our disclosures.
If you only follow one of the steps to make your house feel like home, this is the one: Surround yourself with things you love.
This 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 bought because it was on sale but you never really liked.
Or light candles in the expensive candle sticks that were a wedding present but 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…even if you don’t realize it.
So 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.
So you need to come up with a plant to do something about all those things you don’t love:
- Give them a makeover so you do love them.
- Donate them so someone else can love them.
- Put them in a room you don’t use often (at least you don’t have to see them all the time).
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.
2 | What Would Make Your House More Comfortable?
Another major part of helping to make your house feel like home is by making it comfortable to live in.
Look at each room in your house and think about what you could add (or take away) that would make it feel more homey.
- 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 that is easy to get to but hides the cords (I used an armoire in my front hall for this purpose).
- Have some books or magazines near your favorite chair so it’s easy to sit down and read.
Still not sure what to do?
The next time you sit in your room, notice the things that annoy you. Then come up with a way to fix them.
3 | Do You Get Bored Quickly?
People who get bored with their decor easily need to plan to be able to change it (this would be me!).
Use the following ideas to choose things that can be changed easily:
- Use paint instead of wallpaper.
- Get 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.
- Purchase modular furniture that can be re-arranged more easily (re-positioning a sofa and a chair is easier than finding a new location for a large sectional).
- Have an accessory storage location in your house so you can put your accessories on a rotation. Then when you get bored with them, you can swap some of them out 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.
4 | Does Quality Matter To You?
If you are someone who is uncomfortable living with lower quality furniture and accessories, don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap.
Every time you look at or sit on that sofa, you will get those subconscious negative thoughts I was talking about above.
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.
5 | Is Style or Function More Important To You?
Some people are mostly concerned with making sure what they buy works the way they want it to.
While others are much more concerned about the way that it looks.
Recognizing which is more important will help you remember the part that you are missing.
Because to be successful at decorating, you really need to consider both – style and function.
Try not to make home decor decisions solely based on your style vs function preference. Because they don’t usually end up being the best option for your house.
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.
6 | What Makes You Feel Relaxed?
Figuring out what makes you feel relaxed will help to 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.
7 | What Is Your Color Personality?
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.
Now…Those Quick Fixes
Now that you’ve identified what you want, there are a few easy fixes you can do to help your house feel like home quickly.
1 | Hang Artwork
There is nothing more personal than artwork.
So hanging some pictures that you love will immediately make you feel at home.
2 | Add Accessories and Pillows That Are “You”
Choosing throw pillows, blankets, candle sticks and other accessories that reflect your personality will help to make your house feel like home.
Not sure what those might be?
If it’s something that your best friend would say “That’s so you!”, you’ve got it right.
3 | Use Fabrics With Texture
Texture adds warmth to any space and helps to create a comfortable room.
Think of a plush area rug, a chenille blanket, woolly throw pillows, or a velvet-covered chaise. All of these are 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.
4 | Choose the Right Light Fixtures
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 (like the living room), 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 very flattering.
Lamps that provide diffused light at face level help even out these shadows making people look better.
Just make sure that the bulbs are covered with shades in eye-level lighting. Looking directly at the bulbs is hard on the eyes.
Any kind of lights that provide interesting reflections (like crystal chandeliers) will add a little more glamour to your room.
And candles create a warm look and feel in any room.
For functional areas (like kitchens), adding task lights (such as under-cabinet lights) will make it easier to work.
And anything that makes work around the house easier, will help to create a more functional space that feels like home.
5 | Put Down An Area Rug
An area rug performs a lot of functions in a room that help to make it feel more homey:
- A rug adds some texture and pattern to the floor.
- It groups furniture together creating the feeling of a room within a room. Which helps to make large rooms feel more cozy.
- And they warm up a wood or tile floor which is especially helpful places where you walk barefoot, like the bedroom.
6 | Add A Fireplace
There’s nothing that makes a room feel inviting like a roaring fire, especially when it’s cold outside.
If your house has a built-in fireplace, you’re ahead of the game in this category.
But even if your house doesn’t have a fireplace, it’s not that difficult to add one.
You can install a standalone electric fireplace (like the one above in my office) that will add the cozy, homey feeling without requiring any structural changes.
They aren’t as expensive as you might think!
Or if you prefer, add a mantel with some candlesticks under it like I did in my bedroom.
Even without the fire, it makes the room feel welcoming.
Other Home Decor Ideas You Might Like
- How To Make Your Room Cozy
- How To Make Your House Look More Expensive
- Tips To Make Your House Look More Cohesive
Have comments or question on how to make your house a home? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on September 13, 2014 but was updated with new content on February 28, 2022.