For some reason I’ve always been really bad at making my space feel like home. I tend to have the mindset that it’s solely a place for me to rest my head – otherwise I’m at work, traveling, out with friends, etc. I tend to let things pile up miscellaneously, and have even left boxes unpacked months after moving into a place. Before I moved to Austin I got rid of a lot of junk and donated a ton of my belongings. The majority of what I did keep, I stored away, and took with me only what I could fit into my car.
There I was, with my suitcase, a bag of books, my records and record player, and a couple cameras…. somehow it still surprised me when I arrived at my new apartment, it only took a few trips to unload everything.
It was clear that it would take a little work to make this place feel like home. And it’s important, when going through a change like this, to have a space where you feel comfortable, safe, happy… well, at home.
These are some of the ways I’m attempting to make this new, blank canvas my own. If you have any suggestions I would really, really love to hear them!
This first one is pretty obvious. Surrounding myself with some select personal items that have been with me over the years, through various moves. No matter where I’ve gone, there are certain photographs, trinkets, books, and artwork that I never leave behind. Having them around me can make any space – even a hotel room – feel like home.
In the past year I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot and meet some incredible people. I’ve kept little reminders of those people and places in the form of postcards, polaroids, patches, ticket stubs, handwritten notes, and other various mementos. I hate the idea of storing them away in a box, because I want to be able to see them and keep those moments alive. I spent one evening soon after moving arranging them all on one of my blank walls – inspired by this post Jana did not too long ago.
There are times when I’ve gone weeks living out of a bag, either out of necessity when traveling, or out of laziness when I don’t feel like unpacking. One of the things I decided to do upon moving in was set up a closet area so that I wasn’t living out of my suitcase. I decided to forego the actual closet space and get a rolling rack and some drawers to hold the few items I brought with me. It’s funny how little things like this can help when you’re trying to adapt to a new city and life.
Plants are such great way to literally bring some life into a place. Not only do they help freshen the air, but they also give you something to tend to and care for, an important aspect of feeling at home somewhere. The second I brought these plants into my home it felt brighter, and almost as if the apartment itself is a living, breathing being. I have cats, so I referred to this post by Brigette when picking out plants. I’m in love with this little money tree, and the gorgeous colors of the leaves of the Calathea plant below.
My new apartment comes with a kitchen that is a serious upgrade to my previous one, and I have resolved to take advantage of that. I’m in the very early stages of learning how to cook for myself, but it’s a fun challenge and also a great way to enjoy being at home. Not to mention, that first cup of coffee I brewed was one of the best I’ve had in a while.
Last but certainly not least, my cure for almost all things… music. I love how a song can take on new meaning depending on the scenario in which it is heard. There are a few records I’ve been listening to nonstop that seem to have taken on a whole new meaning since moving. The one spinning in this photo is Kevin Morby’s Harlem River, which I highly recommend if you aren’t familiar. Also, Austin native Shakey Graves’s album And The War Came, and some old standbys that are getting new life lately: Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones. Playing these loud, with the windows open, while writing or working on some other project has become pure happiness for me.
If you have any tips for making a new space feel like home please let me know!
I use old wooden milk crates/wooden boxes. You can arrange a few of them against a wall and have a floating storage built in look. They are quite inexpensive too. I use them in several room and each time with a different purpose. I also love to layer crochet blankets and lace tablecloths…it just makes any space feel like home for me. Good luck!
I use old wooden/milk crates. I stack them, or hang them in groups against the wall. I use them in several rooms for different purposes. In the kitchen they hold fruits and veggies. In the mudroom a catch all for shoes. Also great for nightstands they make great book shelves too. I also love layering crochet throws and blankets with vintage lace table cloths. The combination for me makes any place feel like home. Good luck!
This is exactly what I needed for my dorm, thanks! Right now it’s basically bare, but hopefully that’ll change soon. Loving the photo wall :) -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s
I adore the closet in the open like this! I want one with a birch brach so badly. Awesome job on the photo wall, too!
Mmm! love all of the pops of green from the plants. feels fresh and inviting!!
I love those personal touches — the little things that make it clear that this is in fact your space. I love pops of green & color in fresh plants. Gorgeous place. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼ ☯
These are all great tips!! I move to a new place in June… we will see how this goes!
I love, love the photo wall. It gives an instant home-y effect that’s also artistic at the same time! And I do agree with the mantra: what’s inside should be a significant thing in your life. Awesome.
Whenever I move, no matter the space I move into I have to create a space that feels like homw. I get really agitated if it doesn’t have pieces of me and my life. I do need to focus on getting some little plants though! I love the idea of having them in your living space.
I love how your gallery wall is so unique. The fact that it’s not just pictures but little sentimental things from travel makes it special. It’s an instant way to make your home feel cozy. If you need to expand your “closet” you can get another rack, put them side by side and then install a floating shelf above for your shoes. I love your space though…minimal and cozy!
Luh this. Can’t wait to see in person <3 <3 <3
Love the wall idea :) I don’t live on my own or anything but my bedroom walls are pretty blank besides this awkward painting my brother left behind. I’ve been meaning to take it down but I just didn’t know what to put up. Now I do :) I think I’ll save money to get a polaroid so I can have little memories to put up
I wish everyone could experience packing up a car and moving – or a cross-country move of sorts. Although I haven’t packed one car, I have moved cross country twice, and just knowing that you have to *pay to ship everything* is incentive enough to get rid of a LOT! When I moved from Philly/Brooklyn back to California in August, I got rid of e i g h t garbage bags of clothing. It was insane. I had only lived in NY for two years! I was so over what I had accumulated. But knowing that I was going back to CA was so freeing. I knew I wouldn’t need certain warm layers and frumpy coats. Time to start a new chapter with your favorite items in tow!
Plants, greenery, succulents – so essential. It’s the first thing I want to buy when I move somewhere new. I love the breath of fresh life in your space, and watching them grow while you do. Love this post – again so excited for you! :-) Also turns out I’m moving back to SF soon, and will be adapting to a new exciting space of my own. Can’t wait <3
Question — for your clothing rack, where did you find the hook to hang your necklaces on? I’ve been wanting to find one of those for my clothing rack so I can display my purses and scarves and have been out of luck!
Also, in terms of decorating to make a space feel more like a home, I believe that curtains really bring warmth to the room and depending on the design you choose, it not only tells a story about how you should feel in the space, but it overall gives a room that pop of color or feeling of luxury it deserves.
Love all of these ideas!
I just moved across the country- Perfect timing! Thank you for this post, I love it!
needed this. it is so important to have a space where you are comfortable, somewhere that makes you feel good. great photos! love all the ideas thanks!
Awesome vintage photographs.
I like this green plant! :)
I like the idea that, if it does not matter, you should get rid of it. I definitely agree with the statement especially when it is about home interior, Empty wall are considered to be boring, but I think that sometimes it is much better than irrelevant decorations. Every detail should be deliberated and encounted,
I like the photo wall. big thanks for you.
I find the ideas more than amazing! Thanks so much for sharing! The images are awesome! I can’t stop looking at them! Storage Stmarycray Ltd.
I love the image of “If it doesn’t matter, get rid of it”. Did you create it? Would you mind if I used it on my blog with the appropriate attribution?