We have been in our house for almost 3 years, this August! It’s awesome to think back on how far we have come with putting it together, and making it feel like HOME.
I recently made an accomplishment with our house that I’m quite proud of — I FINALLY finished decorating and furnishing our home! This event has made me think about the home furnishing and decorating process, what I liked that I did, and what I would do differently.
Since many of us are in this phase of life right now or in the near future, I wanted to share my thoughts and suggestions for when you’re making your house feel like HOME. :) I’m definitely no Joanna Gaines when it comes to decorating or furnishing a home, especially with this being our first home! However, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error, as well as how important it is to make your home feel warm, inviting, loving, and comforting. And there are smart ways to go about achieving those feelings. So here are my suggestions and tips and I hope you’ll be able to take away something from it!
Don’t rush it
Many people think they need to get pictures and decor up on the walls as soon as they move in, and have every room in their house be functional right away. I don’t recommend this :) It’s more fun to give each room more focus and attention on how to make it amazing! I started with the rooms I felt we would spend the most time in – our living room and bedroom.
I also developed a better sense of what style I wanted overtime, so I wasn’t wasting money buying things and then realizing I didn’t totally like it later on. Over the past three years, I’ve moved a few things around and added a few new pieces, as you can see in the two pictures below. Yes it was more work, but it’s fine. I did try and minimize the work by repurposing frames I removed into other rooms or function as something else like a tray.
Have a realistic idea of costs
I remember thinking how cool it was that we could afford a house, but I forgot about how much it costs to put things IN that house, haha. We for sure needed to get a refrigerator, washer and dryer set, and a couch to sit on, which are all HUGE expenses, so I was bummed when I realized it would be quite a few more months before we could afford to decorate the way I wanted to. My advice is to handle this in one of the following ways:
- Wait a little longer to save up more money for furnishings and decor before you buy a home.
- Come to terms with it, and be OK with waiting a little longer to decorate. In the meantime, you can still be gathering ideas of what you want, and even be searching for the items you want to buy later.
- Decorate with more inexpensive items that you know you’ll replace later when you can afford more stuff. (This might not be the most cost-effective option)
- Buy things for one room at a time, like I did, that way you’re spending is spaced out, and less of a burden.
Focus on a feeling
As the first step in the decoration process, I think it’s important to consider the feeling you want to have in each room, that way you have more direction in the planning and execution.
For us personally, we wanted to feel Christ’s presence in our entire home, and we decided that a way to do that through decoration was to have a religious picture or painting of some sort in each main room. It’s amazing the difference it makes spiritually, which in turn benefits my marriage.
Another priority was to make sure we had pictures of us up, which seems obvious to do, but many people don’t have pictures of even their wedding day up in their house. I learned how important that was and wrote about why it’s important here. So I have definitely made sure there are a few pictures up from our wedding day, and then at least one big photo from our recent family pictures, updated as needed.
I remember how the first few months we lived in our house was absolutely barren of any pictures of us or any kind of artwork, and when we finally put up some pictures in our main living room, I pretty quickly noticed a different feeling in our home. It felt more home-y and comfortable, seeing pictures of us to remind me of our love.
Suggestions for things to include and not include in your home decor:
- Balance out the types of pictures you have. I didn’t realize for awhile how many pictures we had up of us kissing or just a lot of pictures of us up in general, haha. But when I balanced it more to include pictures of our family and friends, I noticed how much more mindful we were of them.
- Another tip for newlywed wives especially, don’t overwhelm your walls with your own bridal photos! I’ve been to people’s houses where it feels like a shrine to themselves with all their pictures of them in their wedding dress! I get it; you look absolutely gorgeous, and what an exciting time in life! However, one picture will do. Variety is more visually interesting.
- Incorporate some of your wedding decor pieces to remember that special time :) One of the colors for my wedding was what I planned to use in our apartment and home in the future, which was smart because so much of that decor ended up fitting in perfectly with our home! As you can see in our bedroom, we have these two minty blue doors and the banner hanging over the headboard which was used at our wedding reception where we stood for our receiving line :) I LOVE getting this happy memory DAILY.
- Make sure to account for future upgrading! By that, I’m talking about avoiding the mistake I made of having our wall collage come too low to work with our tiny TV screen, not planning for the height difference for when we upgraded to a larger TV 6 months later! So I had to re-do the whole wall because a foot of the collage was covered!
- Command strips will be your best friend! You avoid putting holes in your walls, which is nice for when you have to keep rearranging on accident… haha.
- Not every blank wall should have something on it. I learned this lesson in our small apartment when I had more decor and pictures than wall space available so I crammed as much as I could on every wall space. And guess what? It felt claustrophobic and uncoordinated.
- If you love a piece of furniture but it needs to be more cohesive with the rest of your decor and furnishings, find little ways to customize it. For example, I bought two nightstands for us that were the perfect color, functionality, and pricing for us, and just replaced the drawer knobs with ones from Hobby Lobby that could make it more cohesive with everything else in the room.
- The paper on the wall idea for planning your collages is truly a fantastic trick! It gives you the freedom to move the paper pieces around until you like the pattern enough to hang things on the wall more permanently. Don’t know what I’m talking about? See this picture below :)
What are some tips YOU have for decorating and furnishing a home to make it feel like HOME?