Guest post by Katie of Embracing a Simpler Life
I recently redecorated my house. Actually I decorated it for the first time. Since buying our house five years ago, decorating had not been a priority financially.
That time was a great exercise in patience and contentment for me.
But I also ultimately wanted a well-presented home. Not fancy, but well thought-out and welcoming. In keeping with the simplistic mentality, I chose what I called a “clean, yet homey” decorating style.
I wanted the modern, uncluttered look. However, maintaining a warm, homey feeling was also a priority. But what exactly is homey? How is this feeling achieved? That’s the question I asked myself, and here’s what I came up with.
Image by F.D. Richards
Through introspection, I realized there are certain elements in a home that make me feel “at home.” For me, these are things like:
- Accent lamps: These add a pleasant, welcoming low-light, especially when left on for someone returning after dark.
- Decorate with plates: This can certainly be done with a funky or modern twist, but not much says “home” like plates on the wall or counter top. This feels down-to-earth and has an atmosphere of tradition.
- House plants: Green, alive, and oxygenating, house plants add vibrance and warmth to an environment. There is an air of care and nurture conveyed when a houseplant is thriving.
- Textiles: Fabric adds softness and texture to hard surfaces. Pillows, drapes, and table runners can make a house feel comfortable and inviting.
- Family photos: What makes a house a home more than the people living in it? Take your space from mere walls and fixtures to a representation of the lives lived within them by adding your favorite, well-placed photographs.
- A wreath on the door: Wreathes make me happy. They are truly beautiful and welcoming, cheerful and pleasant. They are that extra touch that shows the care of the one who lives within.
Image by Frank Tellez
While the tangible homey touches are fun, they are absolutely no match for the intangible ones. If you want to truly add warmth and welcome to your home, try adding:
- A warm greeting: There’s nothing quite like coming through a door where you feel wanted. A warm greeting is a beautiful way to welcome anyone and everyone through your doors.
- Enjoyment of one another’s company: This might be my favorite “homey touch.” I say that because, growing up, my family did this so well. My parents delighted in us kids. They thought we were funny, and we knew it. They thought we were smart and engaging. They loved talking with us and being with us. This may be the most over-looked element of “home,” and one I take to heart very much.
- An atmosphere of grace: Ultimately, that cozy, homey feeling will be present only if and when a sense of unconditional love, safety, and grace are also present. No amount of “cutesy accents” can substitute for the pure love for one another that comes only from God.
Add warmth and welcome to your home. Consider using one of these simple touches today to cultivate that homey atmosphere.
Which of these ideas will you apply to your home today? What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section.
Hi! I’m Katie. I’m a young-ish, stay-at-home mom of two adorably-fun little ones, and I live a life devoted to Jesus. I love to write, and I focus my energy on living simply and well. I’m fairly new to the blogging world, recently launching a blog called Embracing a Simpler Life where I write about eternal perspective, being a wife and mama for the glory of God, and simple, intentional living. Come check it out!
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup
I’ve lived in my home for 8 years and haven’t been able to decorate it as I would like to. Most of my walls are still white and badly in need of real paint. Finances have kept me from being able to do what I would like to, but I have learned to be content. Decorating with family pictures, vinyl Scripture verses on the walls, and other reminders of my faith make it feel like home to me. I hardly see the white walls anymore! Thanks for the post.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
This is a great list. I appreciate how they can all be done with little or no money. We have been in our house for almost 3 years and I am finally taking more initiative to decorate and change things up to the way I want them. I read The Nesting Place at the beginning of the summer and it was definitely great motivation! Green house plants is up next for me. That and actually putting pictures in the frames I hung up for a gallery wall (a month ago…).
I think you’re right about the importance of a warm greeting, too. It can be tempting to “unload” on my husband when he comes home, but I try to start with a calm greeting and asking him about his day before I start telling him about mine. Also, when we have guests over I try to plan preparations so they are complete before our guests arrive so that I can give them a focused, cheerful greeting rather than a rushed, preoccupied one.
Love your tips. We have been in our home for 11 years. Major repairs have always taken the top of the list.
About 6 or 7 years ago I purchased some very nice framed pictures at Ross and a few got hung. I purchased two lamps after my father in law gave us two matching end tables and a matching coffee table (he actually got it for one of his 4daughters and none of them wanted them).
We searched for a couple of years before we found an entertainment center that we both liked and that was within our price range. And last year I purchased an area rug for under the coffee table for the sofa and love seat area. As a cozy place to visit with friends and each other.
But nothing took away from our ugly ugly floors. So 2 weeks ago I got a really nice wood laminate put in. It can get wet and is made in Georgia.
I began hanging more of the pictures that I already had and have been considering plants as my next step. So I am on target. We have also painted some of the rooms.
But the biggest thing I do when we are expecting company is put out a few throws add extra cushions, dim the lights and light a candle. Even if I did not clean the old ugly floors, they looked decent because I took the eye off of the floors with smell, low lights and lots of good food.
A friend came over to see my floors and said it was beginning to look like HGTV in here. I took that as a compliment.
I have found that focusing on one area or one big project at a time is the best route for me. This weekend I am painting bookcases black and will work on the next room as I think this one is about done.
Melissa @ Goal Minded Girl
I completely agree with this list. I definitely don’t have a green thumb so I don’t go with the plants but the pictures on the walls and curtains are always top on my list. These can be done in an affordable way and still look awesome. 🙂 candles or diffusers are nice too.
Having soap and a hand towel in the bathroom!! I always feel so refreshed when there is soap and a hand towel in the bathroom, especially if its a fancy soap that leaves your hands smelling fruity 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to someones house and they either don’t have soap in their bathroom or theres no towel to dry your hands so you either have to use your clothes or someones dirty bat towel!
What a great tip!
This is exactly what I needed. I’ve only been married for 5 years, but I haven’t been able to add those small touches to make our home cozy. We have three littles so that I hindered us from wanting to get thing we love in fear they will destroy it. I love that these are simple changes that can easily be added without tons of planning or money!