The secret ingredient to turn your house into a home

How do I make this house I have feel like home? This is one of the big questions I get asked as an architectural and interior designer and I can’t wait to let you in on some real trade secrets. Do you know what developers, merchandisers and designers all do to create a space that you are just drawn to? How they create a room that you just love and can really see yourself living there? Wait for it… They study you!

They create really homely feeling spaces by knowing how you live and how you intend to use the space. They even narrow it down to your age, hobbies, interests and habits. They study this and implement it into their show homes, shops and into high end properties too, and they are meticulous, to the last detail.

IKEA recently opened up in my town and I was really surprised how modern the new design was, how up to date with current finishes they were and how they had started including architectural features into their faux rooms and one “stage” set even included a pottery section. They have started making the spaces even more believable for you, so that you can imagine yourself living there. They do this by leaving little clues around, such as a table set for dinner, a bowl full of fruit in the kitchen, a utility/kitchen with an arts and crafts table or a living room with a view out onto the garden and a chair positioned in just the right place. This is a very good tool to spur your imagination, which many industries use to persuade you to buy things.

INTERIOR DESIGNER’S BUSINESS SCHOOL

Think about the last time you walked into a show home and it was set up, just perfectly. If it was a 3 or 4 bedroom home it might have been set up for a young couple with a young child or an older couple with at least a teenage child. Either way, there would have been clues of how they lived in that property. For example in the teenager’s room there might have been an iPad on the dresser, next to a pile of books, some sport equipment and a picture frame with a stock photo showing off good times with friends. Could you imagine yourself living in that home, if you had a teenager? So how do they do nail the “homely” feeling and how can you use this idea to turn your house into a home?.

I always tell my clients that the Secret Ingredient to any home is you, so if you are decorating a particular room, think about the things that you use on a daily basis and include them into a temporary “display” or as interior designers and artist’s like to call vignettes .

When your room is clean and everything is put away and you still feel as though it just doesn’t “feel” like “home” just yet, think about how you use the space, in the morning, during the day or weekends and then in the evening. What kind of clues can you leave out? If you go a bit OTT here, that’s ok, you can always peel it back, you don’t want your home looking like a shop, but you do want your personality there and you do want to leave a clue about who you are. I love patterned blankets and since moving to the UK have always had a blanket in almost every room. I use these to play on some of the themes in the room too. I am not really a collector, but I do love sculptural vases and pot plants, so I use these to create little vignettes and stories about my life, (which I have to admit, I usually change weekly!) So if you are stuck on creating a homely feeling at home, ask yourself the following questions and see if this gives you any ideas on what you can add to make the space feel different for you:

  1. What time of the day do I use this space the most, how do I use it and what items do I use?
  2. Are any of these items particularly beautiful, represent me in any way or create a nice contrast against something in the room that plays on my eyes and creates joy when I see it?
  3. In what way can I display this in an informal way, so it looks natural, or as though it was meant to be there, ready for me to use.
  4. What other items can i display in a more permanent way to keep this homely feeling in the room for longer?

Did this give you some ideas? Do you still have questions? Email me your questions or post them on my facebook wall. I answer every question personally.