10 Simple Ways to Make Your House a Home

As we all know, the current economic climate means that more of us are stuck in the houses we once saw as 'starter homes' or 'stop-gaps'. But when your temporary stopgap house is going to be somewhere you end up spending 5-10yrs of your life, it's worth making some cheap and easy changes to make it feel like your ideal home. A home isn't a display to be admired but somewhere you have fun, feel happy and relax.
1. Plants are a great way of making a home feel really welcoming and permanent. Ready planted hanging baskets are cheap, easy to get hold of and low maintenance yet look fantastic. Equally, if space allows why not put a pot plant or two by the front door - we have small conifers. Continue the theme through the house by keeping a vase of fresh flowers - supermarket flowers last a week and are no longer an indulgence. It's also nice to have couple of pots of herbs in your kitchen. If you're green fingered why not get more pot plants and have them throughout.
2. Get some gorgeously soft slippers and wear them at home. They're so cosy and relaxing that you'll feel more settled and this will rub off on visitors too.
3. Have a pet, that way you don't come home to an empty house. If work means time is short get something small like a rabbit or independent like a cat. Even in rentals where pets are not allowed you can get yourself a small aquarium - fish are really relaxing to watch!
4. Minimalism can look really sterile so have some ornaments/pictures. Simple touches like items brought back from holidays and photo collages liven a room and add a personal touch.
5. Keep it smelling fresh. Choose a scent you like - some people like floral, for others it may be 'ocean fresh' etc. Be consistent about having this scent through the house, discreet air-fresheners or plug ins are an easy way to do this and if you can buy cleaning products in matching scents this will help. If you find traditional air fresheners to cloying or don't like them you can use your favourite perfume. A simple trick to do this is to not only spray it on fabrics but to spray it on light bulbs so that every time you turn on a light or lamp it acts as an infuser.
6. If you can have a real fire - go for it every now and then. It makes for a lovely, cosy romantic winter evening. If you don't have a functioning fireplace consider getting a 'real flame effect' version. The dancing flame effect in the background should have the same effect.
7. Have the radio on whenever you're in. If you're not actively listening turn it down low so there is a background murmur of voices; it makes a home feel full and is quite soothing. A spoken word station is ideal.
8. Bring seasonality into your home - you can do this in a number of ways: Flowers: Scented Candles (eg cinnamon in winter): Displays - (an autumn bowl of conkers or pine cones): Throws - having them on sofas in the colder seasons ready for use is very cosy.
9. If you have children display their artwork. Lots of home makeover shows discourage personalisation in this way but your home is not a show home, your children live there too. Change the pictures as they do more and keep lots of photos around - frame your favourite. A digital photo frame is a lovely personal touch.
10. This one takes a bit more skill and time but is a lovely keepsake idea for the crafty - make a family quilt. Patchwork a quilt using your children's old clothes - they don't always get a lot of wear out of them and come in a fabulous array of colours. It's something you can work on over the years adding to as you go along and as they get older you can explain what it is and share stories; and when they do fly the nest they have an adorable souvenir.
Hopefully using some or all of these ideas will help you enjoy the house you have rather than crave the house you want.

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