I recently got asked this question, ‘What makes a house a home’ as part of a magazine interview. And I my reply was instant, “the people who live there”. It seems blindingly obvious but also maybe overlooked. But in the case of a house fire it’s my family and my dog Lucy who I would be rushing to save from the flames.
I’m mid renovation right now and the house is a mess. Bare concrete floors, wires and extention leads seem to be growing from every crevice, bare windows and most of my decorative objects like pictures and ornaments still in boxes after moving in two years ago. This is certainly a slow baked project and it’s made me realise that when your home is up and together it really does help and support you to go forth in the world! When it’s not it can really drain you. But then this time of year seems to be doing a pretty good job of that for everyone!
However I’m so blessed to have a great husband, a gorgeous son and possibly the cutest most cuddlesome dog. These are who I come home to after a hard day, that make me smile and feel loved and some how create a foggy glow around all the unsightly mess and builders dust. No matter how dissatisfied and at times frustrated I am by the state of the house- these three make my house feel like the perfect home.
However in terms of interior design, here are five ways to make your house feel like home:
Daft as this might sound, I truly believe that a house really feels like home when you the designs and colours you use have a deeper resonance. For this you need to tear yourself away from looking at other peoples houses and pouring over Pinterest and dig a little deeper to find out what your true sense of style is and surround yourself with colours that make you happy. That’s what my Colour Workshops are all about.
After you’ve picked the paint, the furniture, hung the drapes and laid down the floor you need to start thinking about putting your own personal stamp on a place. I find a display of a few personal momentoes does this better than anything. Find a surface- be it a small shelf, a console or side table and make a small display of a few of your favourite things that triggers memories.
It doesn’t have to be a Picasso! But collecting artwork and and creating a focal point within your room can really help make a space feel unique. I like to mix shop bought prints with a original contemporary art and limited addition prints and even car boot sale vintage finds too. I’ve written a whole blog post on how to display your art here.
The Danish think they have this look nailed but us Brits are great at creating cosy and welcoming spaces too. This time of year it’s all about the open fire for me. My husband has the ritual of chopping and stacking the logs while my son and I gather the kindling from the garden. We are surrounded by trees and so have plenty to call upon! Candle light is another great way to create the homely glow and I am partial to a scented candle to create a lovely homely vibe. Smell can be evocative too and I’m a sucker for a Rose and Geranium scent as I find it really grounding.
Displaying photos of those you love or happy memories is a really powerful way to make a house feel home. My tip is to convert them to black and white if you are going to make a prominent display- it makes them look s much more cohesive. Which brings me neatly round to my first point- that what really makes a home is the people within it so we should celebrate that in all elements of our design.
Disclaimer: By looking at this image you might be fooled into thinking I have the perfect home already! Because I sometimes have to do shoots in my house so I decorated one corner of the living room- so this has been faked up for the camera, and photographed by the talented Alun Callender. The rest of the room is still bland magnolia! So remember next time you have house envy- the camera often lies! I should know I’ve made a career out of it!!!!