I have seen lots of blog posts and magazine articles lately with lists of what a home needs to be whatever…elegant, cozy, updated etc. While I always enjoy and am inspired by other designers ideas I have always stuck to my own design mantra that each home is different and no single list of items will satisfy everyone. So here is my take on items that will help make your ordinary house an extraordinary home for your family:
- Family photos. Many designers feel that family photos should be relegated to private spaces and kept out of public areas like the entry, living room etc. I disagree! Family photos tell a story about the people who occupy the space and, more importantly, bring joy to the occupants (you and your family) of that space.
- Live plants. While I do understand that in certain circumstances beautiful silk flowers are the best choice, nothing captures my attention when I walk into a room more than an arrangement of fresh flowers. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, pick them yourself. Or maybe you have a generous neighbor (who might sleep late and you can pick some yourself–you did not hear that from me!) Or purchase them from the grocery store–I promise they will not break the bank, and soon you will begin to miss the color and life they add when you do not have them in your home.
- Books. I love a wall full of books but that is not always possible. However, every home has room for some coffee table books. Select those with topics that interest you, not just something to fill the space on a coffee table, and you will add personality to your living or family room. Or use a stack of your favorite titles as bookends on a side table or in a curio cabinet.
- Artwork. The artwork you choose to hang on your walls tells so much about you as a person, a homeowner etc. Hang only those pieces that you love and do not worry about whether the colors match your decor etc.
- Family heirlooms. I always enjoy visiting a home that has an occasional piece on display that simply begs you to ask “Where did this come from?” A dining room hutch filled with your parent’s wedding china, an end table that was hand-crafted by your father when he was a teenager, a chair that has been in the family for generations or a vase your Mom made in ceramics class when she was pregnant with you, are items that are unique to your home. I have actually seen all of the above items in client’s homes.
- Pets. A doggie bed tucked into the corner of the family room or a set of food and water dishes in the kitchen instantly tells you that a beloved pet is a member of the family. And what makes a house a home more than a pet?!
- Collections. Whether you collect valuable mid-century pottery or inexpensive Star Trek figurines, these personal touches make your ordinary tract house a home for you and your family. Try to avoid scattering them all over the house which makes it difficult to identify them as a collection but rather, group them on a tabletop, bookshelf or custom cabinet designed to properly display and protect your treasures.
What do you have in your house that makes you feel at home as soon as you walk in?