Making home homely

I LOVE the concept of an imperfect but personal home, one that is welcoming, cosy and restful – and the last month has seen me enter a phase of working out how to create this for us, in our place, in the day-to-day.

I recently chose The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith as one of my current books to read, as its title so reflects my mood at the moment. It has encouraged me not to wait for the ‘one day’ when I can do the bigger daydream type projects to the house (you know, the orchard planting, the slate tiles for the kitchen floor, the outbuilding renovation – that kind of thing), but to add the little touches I can do now to make home homely for my little family as we are today.

Don’t you love how little things like having herbs on your window sill, having something in the slow cooker to come home to, putting up a new picture or adding a blanket to the dog bed can really deepen your sense of being at home?

What really inspires me is that making a home is not achieved only by spending money or collecting objects, but through little traditions and routines, adapting what you have already, and the way you actually live in the house.

One day, we’d love to install a new shower and change the units in our bathroom, but we can’t do that for now. The other day, though, I was able to really freshen up the room for hardly any cost, and less than a day’s work. I swapped an old peach carpet for wood-effect floor tiles, which admittedly was a bigger challenge than I’d envisioned, and the end result has certain imperfections, but I’m so proud that I did it! It brightened and updated the space very simply and provided a nice surprise for Andrew when he got back from work. Extra touches included plants, candles and a little kiwi from Habitat at Homebase (the most expensive thing in the room at only £8!).

I mentioned in my Small Things post my recent obsession with house plants – I’ve been happily pinning away and enjoying posts like this one. I think one of the things I love about plants is the act of cultivating them, as well as the sense of life and texture they bring to a room. My window sill herbs are starting to have the droopy winter look and I’ve already started to freeze basil leaves in anticipation of this, but I’m wondering what to swap it for and I love this tiny element of seasonal living in my kitchen. Our peace lily had grown and grown, so I googled how to separate it and have put one of the sections in a little pot to brighten up the bathroom, and a few more are sitting in the utility room, where I hope to make them into simple Christmas gifts. I think my favourite of the house plants are orchids, for their simple beauty and the fact that they are so easy to look after.

Another way I’m personalising our home is by using my huge book collection. Don’t you think that books on a shelf make a house seem so lived in and cosy? In the lounge at the moment it’s mainly just a few ‘coffee table’ style books and a couple magazines. In my bedroom it’s a couple I selected for Andrew on a window sill, and a stack on the floor by the bed. I’m hoping for these shelves for Christmas for my little ‘study’ room, and I’m thinking they’ll look great with a combination of my two obsessions: books and plants!

Today’s job was to finish sorting out the utility room, which doesn’t have to be boring and messy just because of its function!

It is such a joyful thing to engage with the house in this way and to really feel how I’m living in it and using it. I can’t wait to look back on this post in a year or two and reflect on all the little changes that we’ve made.

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What makes your home ‘home’?

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