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  • Lauren Bennett

How to Make Your Current House Feel like Your Dream Home


We all have that dream house in our minds… for me, it’s definitely a mixture of Pinterest images, magazine clippings, Instagram photos, and a few copy-pasted moments and memories from my childhood home.

When my husband and I got married, I realized that he too, had his own very specific ideas about what our dream house would look like! For us, and 80% of America, we wouldn’t say that we are currently living in our dream home. So, if our dream home isn’t reality right now, how can we make our current home still feel like our favorite place to be?


As a military wife, we’ve moved into 5 different places within our 4.5 years of marriage. These places have ranged from a bedroom in a family member’s basement, to a 100-year-old Southern charmer with three bedrooms, two living rooms, and more space than we knew what to do with! Some of these places have been more comfortable, and more “our style” than others, but each has come with its own quirks, advantages, and disadvantages. In each of those 5 different places, I’ve learned so much about what makes a house a home, and what tiny details can make a huge difference in how a space can feel, and function. Let me share a few tips that anyone can use to make your house feel more like your dream home.


Put function first. Maybe this goes without saying, but before we get to decorating, and making your home look pretty, it needs to flow and function well for everyday living. Where you place certain items or pieces of furniture within each room, or even where you assign certain rooms to be within your home will have a huge impact on how traffic flows through your home, and how easy (or difficult) it is to drop your stuff as you come home from work, take off your shoes, and make dinner at the end of the day.


A simple way to achieve good traffic flow, and efficient use of space in your home is to pay attention to how you, and the other people in your home use the space currently. Do you find yourself constantly shimmying past a chair that’s a bit too close to a doorway? Are you rummaging through your entire first floor looking for your left shoe and car keys every morning? Do you reach up to the highest shelf in your kitchen more than once a day? I’ll be the first to admit that I have answered yes to all of these at one time or another. Take note of these small inconveniences, and make the small changes required to fix them.


If you’re squeezing past that chair, maybe there’s a better location for it, or maybe we can reconfigure how the room is set up to take better advantage of the traffic flow. If you’re constantly looking for shoes and keys, maybe it’s time to invest in a basket for shoes, near the entry of your home, and a small tray or a hook for your keys right next to the door.

Perhaps consider placing the least used items in your kitchen on those high, hard to reach shelves, and the most commonly used items on the lower, more convenient shelves, so you don’t have to pull out the step-stool quite as often. These small changes in functionality will allow for the way you use your home to stay the same, and the efficiency of your home to improve, instantly.


Use the architecture (or lack of it) to your advantage! Like I mentioned before, we have lived in all sorts of different houses, built in all sorts of different architectural styles, and eras. Therefore, each house had a different flavor, and a different range of décor that would look more appropriate than others. Take cues from the architecture of the home, and that will always point you in the right direction for how do decorate.


As newlyweds and full-time students, my husband and I lived in a 1960s apartment, and had a very small budget to work with for decoration and furniture. We took cues from the 1960s exterior details of our complex, and the stark interior of the apartment to create a

colorful mixture of contemporary and midcentury modern décor with a 50’s style futon (sooo classy), a white shag rug (groovy), a gifted contemporary dining set, and an “IKEA hack” headboard we turned into a midcentury inspired architectural detail to hang in our hallway, which happened to be the largest “room” in the apartment. While it was not our most glamorous living arrangement, we loved our first home there, and had so much fun using the quirky architecture of the building to inspire a fun, and youthful design.


Wall art and rugs! Wall art and rugs! This is possibly the simplest, and also the most difficult tip on the list. It’s no secret that wall art, and a good rug can make or break any room, and it instantly adds a bit of texture, personality, and a comfortable, homey quality to any space. However, the difficulty presents itself in determining the right size art and rugs for the proportions of the room. Trust me, I have a lot more to say about this, but to keep it simple, almost every room in the home should have a rug, and the rug should cover the majority of the floor within each space. On average (and in a perfect world), a living room, dining room, or bedroom rug should not be any smaller than 8’x10’.

The same can be said for wall art. When in doubt, always go one size larger than you think you should, and feel free to use more of the wall than you think you need. The more generous the proportions of your art and rug are in your space, the more luxe, comfortable, and settled your home will look and feel.


Bring in the light. These days, most houses have their fair share of overhead lighting that does well to light up the home with can and track lights, perhaps some pendants or a chandelier. However, we humans are wired to relax, and feel more at ease in settings where the light has been brought to eye level, and is often a soft, warm tone, much like the fires our distant ancestors used in caves when the sun, our overhead light, had set. If you want to make your home feel safe, comfortable, and warm, bring in some lamps!

The most effective floor lamps, or table lamps will be those that are at your own, and your family’s average eye level. For a floor lamp, it can be anywhere from 58-64 inches, and for a table lamp, I find that the best sit at around 30 inches tall.

This relaxing, and homey lighting detail is increased when additional lamps are added to the home. Try for three in each room, although this is not always possible based on room size and function.


Finally, my favorite, bringing the outdoors inside. This seems to be a big trend right now, but it will never go out of style! Bringing greenery into your home, whether it be real or faux, (we don’t judge here) immediately breathes life and fresh energy into the space. My personal favorites are seasonal greenery that can be changed out through the year, adding a fresh new detail to the home, every few months. We are so lucky to live in Hawaii at the moment, and my very favorite thing to do is use a few palm fronds from my backyard fern to place in my living room, and dining room, where we spend the most of our time.


Bringing the outdoors in can be more than just adding a few plants to your décor. Take every advantage you can to open the blinds and push back the curtains. Let in as much natural light as possible to allow your home to bring in that all important Vitamin D and boost the overall mood of the home. There are several scientific studies to back the theory that we humans need constant interaction with nature in some capacity daily, if not hourly to maintain healthy brain function, and overall health and wellness. Might as well take advantage of those free health benefits and draw back those shades, right?

As I mentioned before, these are just a few tips that I’ve learned in my time living in several different housing arrangements. I know for a fact that it will be a long time before we make it to our dream house, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make our current house feel like our escape, our comfort, and our very favorite place.

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julieumberger
03 de set. de 2019

I love this! Looking back I have lived in 7 homes in my adult life ranging from a shared one bedroom basement to a home with extra everything! Since I haven't pulled the trigger of home buying yet, I don't wholly invest in my home decor. I'm finally changing my attitude! I want to love where I live right now. And although I believe I have mastered the greenery and wall art proportions, I still need lessons in rug purchases. Thanks for the inspired advice!

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