Your apartment has a lot going for it, whether it’s an exposed brick wall, a south-facing outdoor space, or the fact that it’s only a few steps away from great coffee (the dream!). What is the issue? It doesn’t have the feel of a home.
While we all have different ideas for our interiors and different guides4homeowners.co.uk definitions of what makes a house feel like home to us, personal touches and decorative finishes tend to do the trick — though these items are often considered luxuries rather than necessities, which means they fall to the wayside if budgets are tight. If creating a sanctuary in your house is your objective, though, an indulgent purchase should occasionally take precedence over a functional one.
Are you unsure where to begin? There isn’t a doormat insight on our list of nine simple — and mainly affordable — methods to make your home feel even more hospitable.
1. Use artwork to liven up your walls.
You can’t make a house feel like home in a day. Can you, on the other hand? Sure, if it’s in horrible repair, it’ll take more than an evening to fix it, but if being naked is the most pressing concern, you’re covered. What would be the best course of action? There’s a lot of artwork. “Empty walls are one of the worst offenders for making properties lack homeliness,” says Amanda Hamilton, interior designer and creative director of Amanda Hamilton Design, who recommends stocking up on prints to create a more “pulled together” room. “Artwork should be suitably sized based on the scale of the wall,” she advises, adding that it should not be hung too high. “Also, mix huge pieces with clusters of smaller pieces, and change the style and medium to achieve a truly curated appearance that makes your house feel more lived in.”
2. Add plants and dried flowers to liven things up.
If you’re looking for a quick way to enhance ambiance, foliage is your best friend. We’ve never encountered a dark corner, bleak shelf, or gloomy mantel that couldn’t be instantly brightened with a little greenery. What’s even better? Plants can assist to filter the air and remove toxins from your home. If you ask us, it’s a win-win situation. Choose your spruce according on where it will be used and your level of experience. Broad potted plants and trees (such as palms and fiddle leaf figs) will benefit large expanses better, while succulents or a fresh flower arrangement will suffice on table tops. Plants that thrive in sunshine will, unsurprisingly, struggle in a dark basement, while those that prefer cooler temperatures may dry out if left in a heated spot. Is it difficult for you to grow plants? For a no-effort option, consider a vase of dried flowers. Lavender, eucalyptus, and hydrangea are all excellent choices.
3. Think about underfoot comfort with rugs that are the right size.
Do you ever feel that your living room’s life is being sucked out by a boring — or downright unattractive — floor? Easy. Add a rug to the mix for a more lively pattern and added comfort underfoot. “They can be a costly purchase, but they truly can provide a warm — and homey — feeling, as well as aid with acoustics in homes with a lot of hard surfaces,” Hamilton explains. “Affordable, fascinating designs can be found at CB2 and West Elm, but make sure you shop for a rug that is large enough. It should be able to fit at least halfway underneath your furniture.”
4. Clean, declutter, and put everything in its proper place.
Are you familiar with the saying “a clean house equals a clean mind”? While it may seem strange to people who prefer floor-drobes to their hidden cupboard counterparts for storing clothes, there is logic behind it, as clutter and disorganization can generate stress. It’s no surprise that your home doesn’t feel very welcoming if your countertops are stacked high with unclean plates and your clothes has gone unwashed for weeks. Make an effort to clean and tidy – on a regular basis – and, if necessary, invest in additional storage. Keep surfaces free of overdue invoices and unwashed bowls, and watch as your discomfort dissipates.
5. Use more candlelight and layer lighting.
Stuck with a place that remains cold and uninviting despite your best efforts to brighten it with flowers and art? Consider changing the lighting in your home. Adding and layering light sources, as simple as it sounds, has the power to change the entire vibe of a room, making it feel warm and welcoming. “Controlling and, most crucially, softening lighting will change a space,” Hamilton adds. Fluorescent overhead lighting can evoke sentiments of anguish, which is the polar opposite of what we want to achieve. Instead, use string lights and candles to create a cozy atmosphere. “In an entryway or dining room, adding table lights to consoles is a great touch,” Hamilton says. “If you have a small living room, search for a floor lamp with a base that can be tucked beneath your sofa to conserve space.”
6. Make modifications to your home that will improve your quality of life.
When it comes to cozy living, comfort is vital, so what good is a couch if it doesn’t deliver? Day-to-day tasks, such as meal preparation and laundry, should also be simple. A shower with insufficient power will only result in stress, which will not help you achieve your goal of owning a home. Allow yourself to spend money on products that will increase the quality of your home life, such as showers, stoves, heaters, mattresses, and sofas, and you will feel much better. Look for fashions that best suit your lifestyle, and if money is tight, check thrift stores and second-hand websites for bargains.
7. Increase the number of throws
What use do cushions and throws serve if not to make our homes feel more comfortable? Draping soft blankets and hanging thick curtains are tried-and-true ways for giving a plain area a more pleasant appearance and feel, so why not try it in your own home? “Layer sofas with two to three different sizes of pillows (we prefer one 22×22 pillow, two 20×20 pillows, and two 18×18 pillows per sofa), and make sure they vary in texture and/or pattern yet complement each other nicely,” Hamilton suggests. “Use soft throws to allow plenty of opportunities to curl up on the couch, and if required, hide ugly seats.”
8. Use a soothing color scheme.
Some colors are more conducive to stress-free living than others, so instead of going with your favorite color, consider painting and papering your walls in soothing color combinations. Soft blues, greens, pinks, and neutrals, as well as bright, neon, and some dark colors, are supposed to have a calming impact, while bright, neon, and some dark hues are said to have the opposite effect.
9. Increase the volume of the music.
If all of the above are in place but something is still missing, invest in a good sound system. “Music has the ability to completely change people,” Hamilton says. “You can influence and alter the tone of the place with music alone, making you feel more cheerful or relaxed. It’s especially useful for entertaining guests.” Make playlists of music that make you feel good and keep them on hand for case your house needs a pick-me-up.