You can tell a lot about a person when you enter their home. A home that seems to envelope you in a hug has heart and soul in its design. Whether you’ve just bought a new house or if you’re simply redecorating, appealing to the senses of sight, smell, touch, and hearing are ways you can impact the feel and appeal of your home.
It doesn’t take much money to make your house a home with heart and soul, without hiring an interior designer. Knowing and using DIY tips and tricks can transform a house into a home, even on a tight budget. The saying “Home is Where the Heart Is” implies that someone has invested considerable energy decorating and stylizing their home, regardless of the style type. It’s not a matter of money spent, it’s about your physical and emotional energies.
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The first thing people notice when they enter someone’s home is the way it looks. People choose colors, furnishings, stylistic themes and decor for very personal reasons. It’s possible to make choices for your own comfort that will also provide comfort to friends and family.
Studying the color wheel and learning which colors are cool and which are warm can be dizzying. How can you know whether to paint the walls of a room warm or cool, anyway? In the summer you may want a cool color. In the winter you may want warm colors. Rather than determine the warmth of a room by the wall colors, select a neutral color that can support changes in interior décor. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent the room from feeling like a box.
- Paint walls of different colors. Paint two walls one color and a different, complementary color for the other two walls.
- Paint all walls one color, but use a half-tone shade for the ceiling color. Instruct the paint mixer at your paint store or hardware store to create a half-tone based on your wall color. Essentially this means creating a 1:1 mix of the primary color with white paint. It can be done easily and doesn’t cost extra for half-tone paint mixtures. This painting method will give the room depth.
Use chalkboard paint on walls in areas where people congregate or high traffic areas in your home. Use chalk to decorate the wall with pictures and inspirational messages and messages that inspire others to contribute to the writing. Write starting messages such as “Today I’m grateful for…” so that people can respond with their gratitude. Make sure several colors of chalk (and an eraser) are available for others to use.
Chalkboard paint is easy to apply to drywall and plaster as well as concrete, glass, metal, wood and some ceramics. Before painting, prepare the surface by removing dirt or any loose particles. Sanding and priming are recommended for some surfaces for better paint adhesion. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for brushing or spraying the paint onto the surface and for the appropriate drying time.
Whitewashing or Antiquing for a Shabby-Chic Effect
Using whitewash or antiquing paint gives a surface more of a chic look rather than shabby. You can paint an old table with this paint and it no longer looks like a tired piece of furniture. It looks revived, refreshed, even cherished. This paint can be used on wood, brick, plaster, stone or other primed surface. It can be brushed, rolled or painted on, depending on the manufacturer. Surfaces should be clean and dry prior to painting. Prepare surfaces by sanding and cleaning prior to paint application.
Signs of Welcome
A doormat at the entrance to your home does more than just keep the dirt outside. There is an abundance of reasonably priced shapes, sizes and styles of interior and exterior welcome mats available commercially. If you can’t find your perfect welcome mat, they can be customized with a welcoming message with or without your family name.
Adhesive Wall Art
Easily add pop and flair to your plainly painted walls with commercially available adhesive murals. The selections are endless. Choose florals, animal prints, landscapes, shapes and or mirrors. Clean all surfaces and apply them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Inspirational sayings have become very popular. These adhesive murals can be applied to almost any surface and are easily removable.
Hanging a wreath on your door was historically a symbol of an eternal cycle of life. In modern times people generally hang them for aesthetic purposes. They’re typically seasonal, as in Christmas wreaths at Christmas time, or fall and spring wreaths that are adorned with flowers and foliage commonly found in their respective season. Wreaths can be pricey if purchased commercially but are easy to make. Purchase a circular twig, straw or foam base from either craft shops or a dollar store. Adorn wit either dry or artificial flowers and foliage and any other objects that have an aesthetic appeal to you, using floral wire or tape, or hot glue. Add ribbon or other decorative touches to give your wreath it’s the final touch. Hang the wreath on your door with either an adhesive hook or over the door wreath hanger.
Bring warmth and personal style to bare and carpeted floors with area rugs. Area rugs can be quite expensive at regular retailers, but off-brand retailers and thrift stores can be an excellent source for these. Surprisingly, throw rugs can be made more easily than imagined using torn strips of repurposed fabric. Tear the fabric into long strips, making it into long “yarn” strips. Using your largest crochet hook, crochet using a single chain (SC). Crochet 6 SC in the round, then in the second round double that, so 2 SC into each of the first 6 SC which amounts to a total of 12 SC in the second round. For each new round add an additional SC until you’ve reached your desired diameter. Sew in the end using thread and a large tapestry needle.
Seeing all the small items that make a household functional doesn’t make the house feel “homey”. It makes it feel messy and can make people feel uncomfortable. There are many crafty ways to manage clutter. You don’t need to buy elaborate furniture with clever compartments and drawers to maintain a clutter.
Scour off-brand retailers and thrift stores for baskets that you can embellish. Use hot-glue to attach adornments such as dried or artificial flowers and foliage, pom-poms, ribbons or other personally appealing supplies. Use the baskets to store neatly folded towels, shoes, office supplies, mail, recycling and, really, just about anything.
Recycle cardboard boxes using fabric and mod-podge to create a personalized storage space for random household items. First, paint the cardboard surface with the mod-podge, then place the fabric over the wet surface. Finish by painting (or spraying) a second layer of mod-podge over the fabric. Mod-podge is essentially a glue mixture, so it can be sticky if the surface isn’t sealed. Spray the box with varnish in a well-ventilated area and allow 24 hours to dry.
Any cardboard box can be painted and used for storage. First, cover the box with masking tape. Paint a layer of Gesso over the tape to create a blank palette. Use acrylic paint to design your personalized decorative box. Seal the finish with a varnish paint.
Hide Commercial Labels
In kitchens and bathrooms, exposed labels can create visual clutter. Repurpose bottles and jars to create liquid containers for dish soap, hand soap, lotion, and shampoo. Tear colored tissue paper into small pieces, about 1”x1”. Paint the exterior of the jar with mod-podge and then paint the pieces of tissue paper onto the jar. Seal the surface with a varnish paint.
Deliberate aesthetic use of light is a subtle way of creating a desirable atmosphere in your home. There are many ways to achieve your desired ambiance.
LED String “Fairy” Lights
These are like mini-Christmas tree lights. No matter how you display these lights, they bring warmth, character and even romancer to a room. Tap small finish nails or thumbtacks into the walls where you want to hang and display the lights. As a side note, the string of lights can be inserted into mason jars or decorative bottles as décor.
Be selective about your use of light bulbs. Use LED light bulbs to create a warm or cool atmosphere. They can be used to produce warm, relaxing lighting, some with multiple color temperatures in the same bulb. There are bulbs available that emit a full spectrum of color by remote control!
Himalayan Salt Lamps
These pink salt lamps are used to add a warm glow to a room. They’re also said to detoxify a room by adding negative ions into the air. They come in a variety of different sizes and display types.
The length, weight, color, and style can dramatically affect the feel of a room. Curtains can be used to let light in or to block light. Heavy curtains can be used to keep heat from escaping a room. Use a lightweight sheer curtain style in the summer to allow for the entrance of a breeze and to give a room cool feel. Use a heavy, dark-colored curtain in colder months. There are curtains available commercially and inexpensively that have twinkle star LED lights embedded into them which add a touch of romance into a room.
Decorative Air Vent Covers
Air ventilation is a household necessity, but you can turn a plain or ugly vent cover into something charming for very little money. There’s a large variety of decorative air return covers available commercially. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for easy installation.
Photos give house life. Frames are meant to accent the photos. There are probably millions of commercially available photo frames available. Breathe new life into old wooden frames from thrift stores. Apply a quick coat of acrylic paint and a gloss finish or paint some mod-podge and wrapping paper or tissue paper onto the frame for a completely unique frame. The ways to decorate with picture frames and photographs are limitless. Shutterfly offers several ways to display photos on several types of canvases.
Jigsaw Puzzles to Engage Family and Friends
Start a coffee table jigsaw puzzle, leaving unmatched pieces accessible for anyone to work with. This is a simple and inexpensive way to have people in your home to interact with each other. You can have you’re made into jigsaw puzzles, making it more fun for your family to contribute to the completion of the puzzle.
Quilts and Throws
Use quilts or throws as decorations. Handmade quilts scream “heart and soul” because they show that someone cared enough to spend their time creating this warming object. Quilts aren’t easy or inexpensive to make. Check your local thrift store for well-cared-for hand-made quilts. Alternatively, a throw strewn over a chair or couch is just as homey and comes with a smaller price-tag.
Fresh Flowers or Houseplants
The key here is “fresh”. Live houseplants and fresh flowers invigorate a room with life. A simple vase with a couple of sprigs from the garden can be enough. The greenery adds an aesthetic appeal to a neutral room. There are many things you can do with the vases to add to the décor. The type of vase you use will speak to your personal sense of style. Use plain terra cotta flower pots for a natural, earthy feel. Paint terra cotta with a whitewash paint for a rustic but clean look. Use chalkboard paint on the pots so you can label what’s in the pot, or color in inspirational messages.
Cover tired wooden furniture with fabric
First, clean the surfaces. Use a paintbrush to brush on mod-podge onto a surface. Use hands to flatten out fabric onto the mod-podge, releasing any air bubbles. After that dries, paint over the fabric. Once that has dried, spray the entire piece of furniture with a varnish sealer. Allow drying fully before using the furniture functionally.
Turn an end table into a fabric-covered ottoman
Use fabric, foam, staple gun and staples. Measure and cut the fabric about one inch larger than the table on each edge. Measure and cut a piece of foam or batting the size of the area of the table. Lay the fabric flat, upside down onto the floor. Center the foam or batting over the fabric. Place the table surface, upside down, onto the foam or batting. Tuck the edges of the fabric under the surface of the table, stapling it into place. After doing one side, turn the table over and smooth out the surface. Turn the table upside down again and do the next side. Continue to smooth out the surface as you complete each side.
Recover a desk chair into a furry chair
Cut a piece of fluffy, furry fabric to the size of the seat and back of the chair. Simply spray the surface of the seat and back of the chair and smooth the fabric onto the chair.