A Very, Very, Very Fine House

A Very, Very, Very Fine House

Get 4 simple and not-too-expensive steps to turn your house into a home.


I'll never forget when a new acquaintance walked into my home for the first time, looked around and muttered, "Oh, you're so … artsy."

It wasn't a compliment.

I tried to see my living room through her eyes. Okay, so the sofa had seen better days – I blame my cat. And, yes, most of my furniture was picked up at yard sales or donated by friends moving to sunnier climes. But what was it about my home that screamed "artsy?" The weird lamps? Vintage typewriters? Multicolored walls?

A voice inside my head (possibly my mother's) said, "You're a grown-up. You should live like one." That's when I decided to turn my house into a home – one that would reflect my passions and not what neighbors had put out on their front lawn.

Paint a Picture
I started by covering one wall with photos of family and friends (OK – just one of my cat). If you do this, don't just focus on recent photos – vintage pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents create a special feeling.

Shelve It Up
Books are like diaries to me. They remind me of all the different places I have lived, friends I've had and journeys I've taken. I even have a few from my childhood. To show these memories off, I arranged them in small clusters on the coffee table, on window sills and even on the floor. Your reading material tells your guests who you are; if you love to cook, place a stack of cookbooks within reach.

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Not much of a reader? CDs or DVDs will work just as well. I like to keep mine in wicker baskets. Having visible mementos of things you've enjoyed at various points in your life can make you feel at home and transport your mind instantly to another time.

Inside Out
I wanted to make the entrance of my house more welcoming, so I painted the front door a color I call Moroccan blue. It reminds me of the bright blue doors of North Africa.

If you're an outdoor person like me, you probably spend a lot of time in your yard, so having something cozy and welcoming to sit on is essential. You don't have to spend hundreds on furniture; a lawn chair and a homemade fire pit can be just as homey.

Down with Décor
Being on a budget, I didn't invest in any new furniture except for some "grown-up" floor lamps, decorative pillows, rugs and ornaments that made my house feel like it's truly mine. Small mementos from your hometown sports team – like a team flag flying outside – could be just the thing to bring back memories and create that feeling of home.

Of course, the thing that will really make any house a home is you. What do you love? What makes you feel at home and at ease? Whether it's your family, your pets, your hometown or something else, find these things and build connections with them.

What about your space makes you feel connected and at home?

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