Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ways to Make a Temporary Place Feel Like Home

Growing up I shared a room and throughout my college years I always lived with other girls (at one point 7!), so it's been pretty exciting the last couple of months to finally make a home with the hubz. Knowing we're only in London temporarily though has made it a bit of a challenge. Especially given the reality that we're far from anywhere we've ever considered home. I've wondered if it's that important to spend the time, money and energy toward making a little Wimbledon flat like ours feel like home. I decided yes it is! And I've found some easy and most cost-efficient ways to help make the space ours.
The first thing I did was add some colorful couch pillows to our flat. Pillows can help set a quick color theme and feel to any space. Although it's a small step, you'll be surprised what a difference it makes. Our flat was one boring beige blob when we moved in. Beige walls, beige curtains, beige couches - it was ridiculous. Adding a few teal pillows helped break up the beige and gave me a starting point for the rest of my decorating.
I love the cozy feel that candles and string lighting bring. They're a quick and fairly inexpensive way to dramatically change the mood of a room. We have solar powered string lights draped on our living room windows, but sadly we need a new type, we've learned that trying to use solar power here in London doesn't work out too well (no wonder they were on sale). ;) I found the right image on Pinterest.
Flowers add so much life to a room. Sometimes it can seem kind of silly to buy flowers knowing that they'll only last for a week. But if you appreciate flowers, I think it's a worthwhile gift to yourself and makes your space feel so much more homey. I love what Max from Apartment Therapy has to say about flowers in the home, you can watch here.
Going all out with decor when you're living somewhere temporarily doesn't make much sense, but displaying any DIY piece or special things you're given are definitely worth it. We brought two favorite things with us from the US: a quilt made by a dear friend as a wedding gift, which was then signed by everyone at our wedding, and the adventure sign I made for our engagement and wedding photos. The quilt reminds us of loved ones, and the sign that, no matter where we are or what we're doing, it's all part of a bigger picture and one grand adventure.

I love snooping around in friend's books and photos whenever I visit them. To me they say a lot about a person and give character to a home. Unfortunately, we're only allowed to hang things on the few nails that were already in our walls, but we've still managed to find places to set some up (like the hearth). We couldn't bring many books over either, but with a library membership I quickly filled our small shelf. 

Finally, I've decided to call our flat home. Even though it's temporary, we've found that calling it home helps us embrace our space and living situation all the more. At the end of the day, our flat is home. It's the place we lay our heads, have dinner parties, spend time together and just unwind and refuel. Instead of dwelling on the past or over-focusing on the future, calling it home helps me live in the present.

What makes your space feel like home?

Michaela Rae


  1. I just wanted to pop in to say that I love the way new pillows can change the look of a room. Actually, most of my pillows are yard-sale finds but I can change them frequently since I don't spend much on them and they are more easily changed than wall color.

  2. Love this Michaela!! It is weird making a place home when you know it is temporary but it is much more enjoyable that way! At least we were able to bring almost all of our stuff to Texas, since we could use a moving van, you guys definitely didn't have that option. Hope you are well, I think of you often!

  3. I love it! Especially the string lights...so cozy.

  4. Amy, it's so true! Although I probably won't do too much switching out over the next year, when you find them for half price or in thrift shops they're worth playing around with to change up the room. Definitely going to do that when we have a place back in the States.

    Jessie, you should post some pictures of your place. I bet it's great! :-)

  5. I also love your lights!
    I've struggled with this too ...moving in with Andrew's parents(also temporary) I've had the challenge of making our one bedroom "home." It definitely helped when I hung lots of my pictures on the wall :)

  6. This is a great post, I actually drafted something similar a while back and never published it. You did a better job than I anyway :)

  7. Rachel, I can imagine that is tough! I hope you guys are able to feel more & more at home in that little bedroom =).

    Reese, that's funny. You should still post it, I'd love to hear your tips for making it home. =P

  8. The string lights are really cute, never seen any like that before. Wish your dad and I could drop over for a visit and eat some coffee cake with you:)


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