How to Make Your House a Home

Whether you’ve just moved into a new place or you’ve lived somewhere for years but haven’t invested the time and effort into warming up your home (or maybe you have but realized you don’t really know how), sometimes we find ourselves caught in stark, desolate spaces that leave us feeling uninspired. I’m a firm believer that your home should be a place where you truly enjoy waking up, and a place that energizes you, makes you feel comfortable, and gets your gears turning when you need it to.

A few of my favorite places to shop are World Market and Iamfy (obviously also gotta love your West Elms and CB2’s). And then I also love supporting smaller, sustainable brands like Minda Living and The Citizenry, that work to empower artisans around the world by bringing their handmade crafts into our homes. I also love to shop for my home while traveling, because nothing makes your place unique like pieces you can’t find very many places.

I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned can easily help make your house feel like a home. Incorporating these 4 things into any space can instantly warm it up, make it feel lived in, and add character. Let’s get started!

Photos by Arnelle Lozada, Oksana Bondar, Arnelle Lozada

1. Texture

No matter how minimal a room is, texture is always one of the first things I think of when deciding how to make a space feel lived in. In my opinion, one of the main things that makes a space feel bleak and sterile is too many smooth surfaces and too many clean lines; adding texture breaks those things up. Incorporating various textures not only adds character, but also adds an element of warmth which makes it more inviting. When looking for textures for your space, think about what you’d like to cozy up in or next to. Is it fuzzy/furry things? Is it shearling-lined or oversized knit blankets? Is it pom pom throws or mudcloth pillows like the Indigo dyed ones you see above from Minda Living? Is it basket woven drawers? Is it macrame or a piece of driftwood on the wall? Even alternative choices to staple pieces like the above small rope woven stool versus a standard bedside table can add something special to your space.

Photos by Floral Deco, Olalalala

2. Plants

Plants are literally what bring life into any space. Not only are the splashes of various shades of green a breath of fresh air (quite literally, again), but they bring the outdoors in, which makes us feel connected to mother nature even when we are in the shelter of our own homes. Their organic nature breaks up the overflow of clean, manmade lines and immediately makes any room more than just a box to live in. Yes, they can be a chore to maintain, so be sure to set aside some time each week to care for them. I find that penciling in some time to water my plants every Sunday has become quite a meditative and therapeutic experience, and it feels far more like an pleasant, enjoyable routine than a daunting task. If you’re new to the plant mom/dad life, it also helps to pick plants that require very little upkeep (think succulents, cacti, sansevierias, air plants — some of these only need water once a month). Plants also bring us back to #1 and add texture to the space.

Photos by Arnelle Lozada

3. Personalized wall touches

Art pieces by artists or photographers you love are definitely great in any space, especially if they speak to your personal style or aesthetic, but I also highly suggest personalized pieces. Whether it be your own photos, your own artwork, or quotes that you’ve hand selected, these personalized items are daily reminders of the people and places you love, of precious memories, and of positive messages that help inspire you and instill a sense of gratitude can instantly uplift your mood. These 3 gold frames I’ve selected from Framebridge now keep some of my favorite travel images and one of my favorite quotes by Rumi, and they’re the perfect addition to my gallery wall and the blank space above my desk! I intentionally placed the quote, “Let the beauty we love be what we do” above my desk to serve as a reminder of one of my core values every time I sit there and work.

Photos by Inats, Arnelle Lozada

4. Scented candles

This one might seem super basic, but I’m telling you it makes a difference. Let me just point out the super obvious (but often unspoken) fact that adding little touches of fire literally adds a sense of warmth to your space. Regular candles are good, but scented candles are the best. With so many different sizes, shapes, and scents to choose from, there are certainly a scented candles to suit all tastes. On those colder evenings (or just any evening for that matter), lighted scented candles and their tiny burning flames add movement, inviting aromas, and a romantic and relaxing ambiance without having to do much else at all. Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, so think about how you’d like your guests to remember your place. Trust me, scented candles are a game changer.

And that’s it! Hopefully that provided some helpful insight and inspired you to show your space some TLC. If you decide to incorporate any of these elements into your home, we’d love to see hear your feedback and how you’ve implemented them in the comments below! Happy decorating! :)