Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting (and possibly stressful) times of your life. After all of the paperwork is signed, keys are in hand, and belongings are packed and moved, it may take a little while for you and your family to adjust to the new space.
This is normal—no house, even if it was custom built and you are the first tenant, feels like home on day one. Home is a place that feels familiar and comfortable. It is a place where you can take solace from the world and make happy memories. Your new house will eventually feel like home with time, but there are a few things you can do early in your move that will help your new house feel like home much sooner.
Start with Your Bedroom
This seems like a no-brainer, but the bedroom should be set up first. Not only do you need a place to sleep, but this is where you will be spending most of your time in your home. If you make it as comfortable and inviting as possible, you will feel more at ease in your new house.
You should set up your bed, furniture, and bedding exactly how you would like it to be when you are finished unpacking your entire home. It may be tempting to lay your mattress on the floor and use the first set of sheets you find so that you can move on to other areas of the home that guests will see first. If you do this, it is likely that your bedroom will remain unfinished for longer than intended. By making your bedroom your priority, you will have a pleasant “home base” while you unpack your new home and will enjoy the entire transition much more.
Use Your Kitchen
Preparing meals in your new kitchen may not be the first thing you feel like doing—especially if you don’t cook a lot in general, but this is crucial for making your space feel like home. Instead of getting takeout the entire time you unpack and get settled, try to cook or bake a few simple things in your new kitchen the first week you are inside your new house.
This will help you feel at home for a few reasons. First, it will get you familiar with your appliances and help you unpack important items that you will use often in your kitchen, which is where families spend the most time (awake) in a home.
Secondly, using your kitchen will literally make your home warmer and will fill it with smells of food that you enjoy, which brings us to our next point:
Fill it With Your Favorite Smells
Smell is a powerful sense that is closely tied to memory and emotion. Now that you’ve cooked in your house, you have already begun to create a “smell” that will be tied to this home and the memories you make in it for a long time.
You can also add comforting smells by using candles you enjoyed in previous homes, doing laundry with a detergent you like or find familiar, and bringing in flowers or houseplants.
If you have one and it is the appropriate season, lighting your fireplace will also create homey smells with the added benefit of warmth and lighting.
Avoid Overhead Lighting
Overhead lights are nice to have when you are working on something or trying to see details, but they are generally not comforting in a home.
Make sure you set up lamps, string lights, and other alternate low light sources to keep the ambience of your home warm and calm.
The word “warm” is used a lot when describing what makes a place feel like home, and this translates to literal warmth as well. Even in the summer, modern air conditioning can leave you feeling chilly and can deter you from relaxing and enjoying certain places in your home.
When you begin decorating, be sure to incorporate plenty of these elements first to increase comfort and usability in spaces like bathrooms, nooks, and living rooms:
1. Curtains and Drapes
2. Blankets and Throws
3. Layered Rugs
Plenty of Comfortable Seating
Even rooms that you don’t think of as sitting spaces should include a place to sit. For instance, a kitchen that has breakfast bar should have stools. Even without a bar, small chairs can be tucked beside larger pieces of furniture so guests always have the option to linger in a room.
Invite Over the People You Love
Ultimately, a home is about the memories you make within it. Once you have followed the above advice to make your house as comfortable as possible for you, invite over people that you enjoy.
Many families avoid planning a housewarming until everything is absolutely perfect. The problem with this idea is that your home will never be perfect, and these plans can fall by the wayside and be forgotten.
People that are close to you do not care what your home looks like—only that you thought to invite them into it. So do not wait to invite friends over for dinner, games, or for a short tour.