How to Make a House a Home

Family of three surrounded by moving boxes

You’ve done it! You found your dream home. Now it’s time to settle into your new-and-improved life. Here are some ways you can make a house feel like a home:

1. Start decorating before you move in (if possible).

It’s easier to make yourself at home if you’re not surrounded by white walls or someone else’s design choices. If you can get repainting, reflooring or other renovations done before you move in—or, even better, have a new home built just for you with the finishes, flooring and fixtures you want—your home will reflect your personal style from day one.    

2. Take time to appreciate firsts.

Moving into a new home is an exciting (and busy!) experience. The whirlwind of packing boxes, scheduling movers, connecting utilities and all the other practical tasks you need to get done before, during and after Moving Day will claim a lot of your attention and energy. That’s why it’s important to stop once in a while and appreciate the milestone that a new home represents for you and your household.

Take photos and take note of how you’re feeling. Record funny happenings and all the ups and downs that make your move special. Whether it’s your spouse singing “Our House” as you wake up on your first morning, the way your dog can’t get over your new backyard, or a happily exhausted fast-food picnic where your dinner table will eventually go, someday you may look back fondly on the first memories you built in your new home.         

3. Prioritize your creature comforts.

There are many things that can make a Moving Day go smoothly, but the days that come after that are important too. If your daily routine calls for a cup of coffee in your favorite mug, some unwinding time with a book, or a soak in the bathtub, make sure you have access to the things (and time) you’ll need to make that happen. The sooner you can feel comfortable in your new home, the sooner it will start to feel like home.

4. Make yourself at home in your neighborhood.

Feeling at home may start with your house, but it doesn’t end there. The shops and restaurants you frequent, the trails you walk and the parks you play in will all contribute to your daily routine. Though it’s a little harder to establish a new normal when the world is so different, there are some ways you can take back some control:

  • Explore your neighborhood, either online or in person, and figure out how the places around you will fit into your life, both now and once businesses are operating normally again. Some places may offer curbside pickup or delivery, so you don’t have to wait to try out local offerings and find new favorites.
  • Focus on outdoor activities you and your family can enjoy nearby, whether that’s a neighborhood playground, nature trail, fishing spot, golf course, tennis court or drive-in movie theater.
  • Find appropriate ways to connect with your new neighbors, such as a socially distanced chat on the lawn or an introduction post on Nextdoor or a neighborhood Facebook Group. You may learn about ways people are staying connected, like book club video chats, volunteer-at-home programs, starting a photo scavenger hunt or finding a fitness buddy.   

5. Banish the boxes!

It’s tempting to take a break once you’ve unpacked your essentials, but don’t let the days spent with carboard boxes turn into weeks or months. Put away your long-term and seasonal storage items and then ruthlessly tackle the rest. Ask yourself, if you don’t need to take it out of the box, do you really need it? When you’re done, donate or recycle the leftover packing materials to put your move firmly in the past. 

6. Involve family and friends.

Housewarming doesn’t have to mean hosting a house party. At its heart, a housewarming is the act of celebrating a new chapter of your life with the people most important to you. Here are some fun ways to do that, even when you can’t get together:

  • Record a video walkthrough of your new space before, during and after your move, and (securely) share it with friends so they can see your progress.
  • Ask for recipes to try in your new kitchen, or advice about furniture placement or your choice of curtains.
  • Send out moving announcements and/or party-favor care packages.
  • Throw a Zoom, Google Meet or Messenger Rooms party. You can even give people photos of your festively decorated house to use as virtual backgrounds!
  • Have a drive-up party station for folks who want to swing by and admire your curb appeal.

Sharing your excitement and inviting others to be a part of it is a great way to deepen your connection with your new home and to be present in the lives of your loved ones.

Looking for more ways to enjoy life in your new home? Check out our articles about home decorating and organizing!