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How to Create a Home You'll Love

If time, money, and circumstances were no issue, we’d all have a perfect house on our first try. Starter home? No need! Downsizing? Never! Odd spaces that don’t look HGTV-perfect? None! But in reality, we transition through houses as our budgets and location needs evolve, and even a dream house needs TLC to become a dream home. But where do you start?

Whether you’re in a two-bedroom cottage or an ocean-view mansion, it all boils down to some simple concepts. And you don’t have to have that mansion-level budget to create a space that’s right for you.

Start with the Feeling

Model homes are long on style but short on feeling, and that’s by design (no pun intended). Those homes are decorated so that anyone can imagine living in them, and there’s no reflection of personality.

Your home should be, well, your home. Instead of thinking about how you want it to look, think about how you want it to feel. Cozy? Fun? Calm? Energizing? Do you want to bound out of bed every morning to a pop of color, or unwind every evening among muted tones and soft lights? That feeling — not an interior design blog — should guide your décor choices. Once you have the mood you want to evoke, browse magazines and Pinterest boards to find layouts, colors, and pieces that speak to you.

But don’t fall into the trap of trying to imitate someone else’s vision. Choose the elements you like, and add in touches that really tell the world who you are. That may mean a gallery wall of family photos, or framed vintage movie posters, or anything else that reflects your interests or tells your story. At some point, if you put your home up for sale, you may tone down your aesthetic so that, as with a model home, anyone can imagine living there. Until then, though, the only person who needs to feel at home is you.

Consider the Function

A fragile vase on a rickety table placed next to the front door? It’s a staple of old comedy films, but in real life, it’s obviously a huge “don’t.” Your home’s design needs to facilitate your daily life, not impede it, and that means thinking in terms of zones that serve specific purposes.

For example, front entries should be welcoming, but also set up to accommodate wet umbrellas, muddy shoes, and “running late” mornings. Bedrooms for kids need spaces to corral toys and school supplies, while a master bedroom may call for a minimalist look that provides a relaxing environment.

Beyond the obvious, though, when you think about zones, be creative and intentional with how you use space. Your home may have been built with a formal dining room, but if you always take your meals around the kitchen table, ask yourself how this space could be more livable and functional. Maybe you really need a second office, or a dedicated homework/remote learning space for kids, or playroom to keep little ones in sight (but not underfoot) when you’re preparing dinner.

In other words, don’t just think of how areas should look … think about how they can meet your day-to-day needs, and furnish them accordingly. A high-traffic family room populated with kids and pets calls for a durable, stain-resistant couch, but a more elegant sofa is suitable for an area that only grown-ups will be enjoying. Homework space will need desks or tables, but also shelves for school supplies and outlets for charging laptops. Form should follow function, so assign a purpose to each space, and let the décor support that function.

But no matter what, place that fragile vase well out of harm’s way!

Celebrate the Imperfections

Remember that mood you want to evoke? Hopefully it’s not “high-strung perfectionism.” Your design choices should reflect what you enjoy and makes you comfortable, which isn’t necessarily the latest trend on a celebrity’s Instagram. You’re not curating a museum, you’re creating a home, and homes — like the humans who live in them — don’t have to be picture-perfect.

If you’re not sure what to do with an awkward nook or a bedroom with no natural light, by all means, look around for ideas to minimize flaws and maximize livability, but don’t blow your budget trying to create a space to impress others. Start with easy fixes (a fresh coat of paint, strategic use of lamps) and move up from there if you need to. A small (or even major) renovation may be needed for you to truly enjoy your home, but scale the project to your needs and budget.

Embrace the Process

Creating your ideal living space isn’t going to happen overnight, so don’t pressure yourself to figure out every room all at once. This is your chance to explore your tastes, experiment with different styles, and even make a few harmless missteps. If that accent piece that looked great in the store looks less great in your house, feel free to find something else. Besides, your sense of style and need for function will change over time, so there’s no need to feel locked into one look.

It's your home, so make it work for you!


If no amount of decorative flourish can help your home meet your needs, it may be time to renovate or move. Fortunately, we can help with financing for both! Reach out so we can explore your options.


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