The Importance Of Making Your House A Home

Dorothy was really on to something when she said that there’s no place like home.

By Andrea Mew4 min read
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The world outside your front door can sometimes be a drag. It can feel like there's always something bad happening. People you encounter on the street and the noise they make can be overwhelming. Everyone’s moving at breakneck pace, and all you want is some safety within the eye of the storm. That’s where your home comes in.

Your house is meant to be a place where you can feel safe, where you can let your true self emerge, where you can welcome others in and feel at ease. Your home is your own personal sanctuary, and if you haven't already, it's time you start turning your house into a home!

Home Decor Is an Outlet for Creativity

In its simplest form, a house is endlessly customizable. It can be simple and modern, classic, or whimsical. Turning a house into a home is a form of artistic self-expression, using design elements that you're attracted to. And, it's a place where you can test your creativity at any budget. 

Some people are naturally blessed with being able to envision a space and make it come to life, and some of us are a bit more design-challenged. If you need help, there are countless tools you can use, from design magazines to home decorating websites to the entire HGTV channel. Give yourself a bit of freedom to try and fail before you figure out your style. Pull out things that you're drawn to and create a mood board. That way, you'll slowly see your personal style come into shape. Consider enlisting a good friend or a family member to be a second set of eyes before you purchase a unique piece or undergo an ambitious painting project.

While you don’t need to break the bank to get good furniture, you also don’t need to clutter your space with generic, cheap products from Target, HomeGoods, and Amazon. Establish what the space in your house is going to be used for, and write out what you think you might need in furnishings to make that vision a reality. 

For example, it might be tempting when you walk by the Target dollar section to stock up on some decorative tins and jars, but if you don’t have anywhere to put them, what good do they do? Hop on to Pinterest and browse some room inspiration, write down what big ticket items you see in the photographs, and then decide if you’d like to splurge on a new piece from Anthro or if you could thrift something similar. Thrift stores give you the ick? Get on Facebook Marketplace, and thank me later!

Decorating Your Home Isn’t Vain

Don't let the idea of decorating your home seem useless; a customized personal space is very much a part of feel comfortable in your own home. Perhaps you work from home, or you host people often, or maybe you’re just a bit of a homebody. Regardless, you live in this space, so make the space your own.

You likely wouldn’t wear clothes that you actively dislike or that make you feel badly – unless you’re in your menstrual phase and feeling particularly moody – so why exist within an environment that isn’t beautiful, or at the very least agreeable?

As with clothes, there’s no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on home decor for your house to look good. In fact, you don't even have to purchase a lot of "stuff" to make your home personal. Think: framed family photos, artwork collected (or created!) over the years, and knick-knacks purchased while traveling — all of these things tell a story of who you are and where you've been.

Your home is your dedicated outlet to create a space that translates your personal philosophies, your passions, and your priorities into physical form. You may not get to customize the office space you work in and you certainly don’t get much of a say in public buildings, but your home is one of the few places where you can take control.

It’s Not a Waste of Financial Resources

There’s no shortage of methods and hacks to make home decor easy and affordable. When you’re making a house a home, establishing priorities is one of the easiest ways to ward off the big, unnecessary expenses. A study was done where homeowners were asked to rank what makes their house feel more like their home. The biggest priority for the surveyed homeowners was the living room, then the master bedroom and then the kitchen. 

Some of the top items in the list were family photos, bookshelves filled with your own books, a dedicated "space” on the sofa, freshly washed bed sheets, natural light, plants, and even things like fridge magnets, shoes by the door, and personal items on display, like festival tickets. Many of these items don’t actually require purchasing; they’re things that a homeowner (or renter) accumulates naturally.

This study also reveals how a house can feel more like a home just by what goes on within it. Among the list were more abstract things such as sleeping in your own bed, the smell of freshly cooked food, and the memories made in the home.

Seasonal Decoration Can Ward Off Seasonal Depression

Do you feel a bit giddy when you know PSL-season is coming up? How about when you start to see string lights lining the outside of your neighbor's home or a Christmas tree in the window? Turns out that seasonal decoration can actually make you a happier person.

Updating your home seasonally is a fun activity that boosts your mental health. Psychiatrist at New York’s Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Elaina DellaCava, MD, explains that joy can emerge from the little pleasurable moments we incorporate into our lives as the year chugs along. “Colors can influence our mood and can actually create a surge of dopamine, which is our happiness hormone,” she said in a recent interview with Huffpost. For the spring season, we start decorating with flowers, Easter eggs, and other spring decor, which often incorporate the colors orange and yellow. In a 2020 study, researchers found that orange is often associated with positive feelings, and yellow is associated with joyous, amused feelings.

Dr. DellaCava also pointed out how seasonal decorating is a tradition. Traditions give us something we can anticipate and look forward to, reminding us of (hopefully!) good times with those we love. Other experts agree, saying that nostalgia from Christmas decorations, for example, brings us back to simpler times and, therefore, gives us a much-needed boost of dopamine. What’s more, people who decorate earlier for Christmas actually tend to be friendlier, happier people!

Here’s one final thought to consider on seasonal decor: Once you’re out of school, you really don’t have as many moments in the year to benchmark time. You used to have summer break, back-to-school season, fall break, Christmas break, and more. And while you were in school, you’d participate in endless crafts and activities themed to the season. You've also likely achieved most of the big developmental milestones, like voting for the first time, getting your driver’s license, and taking your first (legal) sip of alcohol. Now that you’re out in the adult sphere, there are far fewer ways to warmly mark the passage of time. This is where seasonal decor comes in handy! By investing time and resources into seasonal decor, you can add a bit more joy and excitement to your typical work routine.

No idea where to start? Look no further than interior design guru Joanna Gaines who recommends the following tips for shifting into spring and summer. First, debut a new scent by shifting candles to floral or beach scents. “You just remember those sensory moments that let everyone know when they step in, I’m home,” Gaines said.

Then, change up some textures by swapping out throw pillow and blankets to match the season. “Just simple shifts in color and texture make all the difference,” she said.

Finally, don’t forget to bring in some seasonal foliage. You can use real or fake greenery and florals, and Gaines herself even advises that you mix both into your projects. “You can go outside and cut a couple of branches to put into a vase,” she said. Then mix those with a few realistic-looking faux sprigs from the store.

Closing Thoughts

No matter if you rent or own, live in an apartment, a townhome, or even a single-family home, it’s well worth your time to make sure you love where you live. No place will be perfect. You might get the square footage you’ve been dreaming of, but your neighborhood is noisy. You might have been dead set on two bathrooms but have to make do with one. What’s important is knowing what you can and can't control. The way your home looks is in your control, so let your personality shine through it!

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