By Emma Bishop
The stressful part is over. You signed all the papers at closing, and you now have the keys to your new home in your hands. Now it’s time for the fun of making the place your own. Here are five decor tips for making a house a home.
1. Warm up the lighting
Not all light bulbs are created equal! When it comes to choosing light bulbs for your home, there’s more to it than the wattage. You want to take the color temperature into account too. If you’ve ever walked into a room lit up by a bright white light, (about 4,000 to 5,000 Kelvins) you know how harsh it can feel. It may illuminate everything in the room, but it’s not very cozy. A warmer, more yellow light will cast a homier feel in your home. For that, you should look for lightbulbs labeled “soft white” or 2,700 – 3,000 Kelvins.
2. Who lives here?
Show your sense of belonging in your decor. It’s your home now, it’s time to display your good taste. That could mean lots of things: framed family pictures, that hammock you picked up at a music festival, or knickknacks that you collected on your travels. Hang some curtains. The goal is for you and your guests to feel that sense of belonging and familiarity the moment you walk in the door. Social scientists call your relationship to your home “place attachment.” The right place is good for your well-being, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Don’t be shy about putting up those family photos and souvenirs from your honeymoon.
3. Organize for flow
The quickest way to feel at home is knowing where things are or how things work — in other words, creating a flow. Designate a place from everything from your dishes and towels to where you’ll put your keys when you walk in the door. Organization leads to decreased stress. In fact, a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their homes as cluttered were more depressed and produced more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Your home can’t be a haven if it stresses you out!
4. A green thumb
A garden will give your home a classic lived-in feel — even if it’s a container garden or vertical garden for a small space like a patio or balcony. Creating your own green space with native plants that thrive in California’s climate will lend your home a sense of peace and calm.
Don’t stop with the outdoor plants. Breathe some new life into your new house with a potted fig tree or a snake plant.
5. Finish unpacking
It might seem obvious, but you need to finish unpacking. A surprising number of people take days, weeks — even years to empty all the boxes. It’s easy to lose steam and stack some containers in a corner, but those unopened boxes will remind you that your house isn’t quite finished. Remember — you live in a home, not a storage locker!
Making your house a home doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. All you are trying to do is give yourself an emotional attachment to your home, and create a flow that will make your home a restful and comfy place to live. It can be as simple as hanging a hook in the kitchen for your keys or framing your family photos and changing out some lightbulbs. In the end, there will be no place like home.
Emma Bishop is a lifestyle and design writer, and mother of two beautiful girls. She is a social butterfly and loves to entertain guests at home with beautifully decorated spaces for any occasion.