Sunday, 25 November 2018

5 Ways To Turn Your House Into A Home


About 6 months ago I moved into a new flat where I was living on my own, and I despised every second that I spent there.

There was no obvious reason for this at first. Perhaps I was lonely? Could I have been depressed? Was it because it was my first time living alone? Maybe because I was working so much I just spent my time there asleep so I never enjoyed it? 

These were thoughts that crossed my mind all the time, but I could never quite put my finger on it.
There was nothing wrong with the flat, it was huge for a start. Very spacious, it had a lot of potential. It was in a very sought after area and the view was incredible. I had the best neighbours anyone could ask for and it was in a very safe, secluded and quiet area.

It wasn't until I was leaving that I realised what the problem was.

It never felt like a home. Just a property I was renting. Somewhere to sleep and get by. 

Partly this was due to the dull lighting, the natural light was terrible.
Also the walls were of course painted in Magnolia 🙄. One of my pet peeves. But as I was renting, I couldn't change that. 

But mostly, it was my own fault. I took about 3 months to unpack for a start. I was working so much over summer that I was just exhausted by the time I got home and unpacking was the last thing on my mind.  A lot of my furniture was mismatched pieces I had picked up at a charity shop or second-hand items passed down to me from family or friends. 

I decorated with lots of little home-ware pieces to try and make a difference, but they just didn't seem to fit with the overall vibe of the flat (probably the magnolia walls 🙃).
Eventually I just gave up on trying to enjoy it and just despised it with all of my god given strength.

I moved out pretty quickly and last week I moved into a new flat where my one and only rule was that it had to be homely. I wanted 'hygge' vibes, cosiness and warmth.

But how do you make a house a home? What's the difference? Is there a trick to it?

Plants
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First up, plants. The flat is basically a jungle at this point. There are plants everywhere. The bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, the balcony, the hallway. You name it, there's a plant or ten there.

I love the touch of nature that plants bring, I just find them so calming yet refreshing. 

Plants instantly make any room look better and brighter, they also boost your oxygen levels and purify the air. So not only does it look good, it's doing you good!

That's presuming you opt for real plants, which of course require maintenance. Artificial plants are a great way to get around that issue and you can keep them forever. Ikea do a great selection! 

We actually have a mixture of real and artificial plants. And although I'm notorious for killing plants, I'm actually doing pretty well this time! Maybe it's the amazing lighting this place has (which is working wonders for my Instagram feed) (instagram.com/sleekforyourself)

I'd recommend plants like monstera, palm plants, cacti (obviously), ivy (I'd recommend fake so you can wrap it around various areas in your home like we have done), pothos plants are great too!

Plants are a staple summer piece to make a house a home.



A bookshelf
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I think a bookshelf is actually really important. It's a focal piece in your home. A conversation starter. Something for people to browse if you're not able to host at any point throughout the evening. It's a little slice of you and your personality and you can tell a lot about a person from their bookshelf. 
Mine are mostly self help books 🙄, fashion books and craft books. We've also added vinyls for a retro touch which I really love. 

You can play around with a bookshelf too and make a whole display of it. If you're going for vintage styling you can incorporate that into your bookshelf like I have. You can also dress it up with candles and photo frames for a really homely family-like touch.

Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, go for some colour if you're room is an eclectic mix of brights. I have a really girly shelf where I put all my aesthetically pleasing books. 


Lighting
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Lighting is a big one that makes all the difference.
Of course natural lighting can't be helped, but it can be enhanced. 
If you're lucky enough to have good lighting, don't neglect it. Get blinds that you can pull all the way up to bring in as much light as possible throughout the day. This will make your home feel bigger too.

If you're one of us unlucky sods who live in constant darkness then I say focus on evening lighting. Most of us are out all day at work anyway, so your home is the place where you want to come back, kick off your shoes, enjoy the smell of long awaited food, and relax for the rest of the evening and you would be very surprised at just how much of a difference lighting makes. 

A big mistake that a lot of people fall into the trap of is buying bright white lights. I almost feel like that brings a very clinical feeling to a room and that's the complete opposite of homely. It will also highlight any uncleanliness and make that look 1000 times worse than it actually is. It's probably not great for your eyesight either. 

Warm lights are key. 
We have fairy lights everywhere in the flat. The wires are all copper and the bulbs are all 'warm white'. It's just instant cosiness that I can't explain. The second I turn the lights on I feel an instant tension release and can just enjoy a chilled out evening playing Crash Bandicoot. 

We have also set our lights to be less bright and tend to use lamps instead of the ceiling spotlights. 
We have LED lights too in various places like behind the TV where we can change the colour from blue to green to pink, the whole works.

Textures / Layers
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By this I think I mean rugs...mostly.
Something I really like to do to add depth and warmth to a room is layer rugs. I know this sounds weird but trust me. 
When you're living in a flat with no carpets and only wooden flooring, that can make it difficult to make it homely. So rugs are of utmost importance. 
Big furry shaggy rugs (that was a mouthful) are great for adding texture! Patterned rugs add a lot of fun, and colourful rugs are a personal favourite too! 

Heavy curtains are great too. Everywhere I have lived previously I've had quite thin curtains and I hated them. There's just something very luxurious about a good quality thick curtain so that's recommended for the winter months.

Fur blankets (faux of course) are great to drape over sofas as a practical styling piece. And we also decided to put a wall hanging over our sofa. I think it adds a bohemian feel to the living room. I really like the element of putting materials on walls. Now I just need to make some macrame and I'm all set! 


Wood
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Another of my pet peeves when it comes to styling is black furniture. Yes it looks sleek and modern, but every speck of dust is going to show on it and even if you clean it, the dust will just resettle again seconds later. 

I prefer white furniture to black but it still requires a lot of upkeep, and it's definitely not good if you have pets or children! 

I personally live for wood furniture. You can mix and match shades of wood and it will still look fab. It definitely adds an element of cosiness and warmth. It's easier to clean. Wood is hard to style badly. You can throw anything on a wooden shelf and it will look good. There's no such thing as colour clashing with it, it's just a foolproof way to make your house easier to style. 


So those are my 5 tips on how to turn your house into a home.

Do you have any tips or tricks on how to do it? How do you style your homes? Let me know in the comments below! 

If you want to see more of my home-ware photos for inspiration head over to my Instagram.

I finally live somewhere I can call home. 


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