7 ways to make your house more homely this weekend

My Mum has taught me many skills over the course of my life. To cook and effortlessly feed many people. To laugh at myself. To work hard. The joys of a good gin and tonic. A well made bed. To love fiercely and loyally. And to make a house a home. Wherever we have lived (with no money, or sometimes some money) she managed to make our houses into homes where people wanted to be. You felt comfortable in the spaces. People would always comment to my Mum about our house – wherever that house may have been – about how it always felt like home. And it’s something that people in turn have always said to me.

After spending last weekend moving Mum out of one house in Sydney down to another just 25 minutes away in the Highlands I know that she does have a knack and she has done it again creating another beautiful home for the next phase of their life. My sister and I helped her do it – I like to think that that “knack” has been passed onto us and hopefully onto my girls one day. They themselves like a good re-arrange and movement of their bits in their rooms so I know they will be able to do it too one day.

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I don’t know the exact science of it, or whether it’s a science at all. I do know that when someone has the knack you know it right away. Their homes feel like home. They are warm and inviting, you want to live in the space, settle in for some time. I have many friends who have this in their own homes and I have been thinking about just what some of the key elements to turning a house into a home. I have people email and comment to me often about how to do it so I thought I would have a crack at what I do, what my Mum and some friends do that seem to be able to do this. You could try some of them too – this very weekend!

There are some main elements that will turn ANY room into a homely space. I reckon your MUST haves are:

1. ย Rugs
2. Artwork
3. Lamps
4. Flowers or indoor plants or some greenery

All of these items together will draw a space together. You can pick up colours or textures or patterns through them to connect a space AND it will just instantly make a space feel lived in. A rug will anchor the floor or define a space. Artwork (or something) on the wall will do the same for the walls. Lamp light or candles makes a space cosy and intimate and greenery/flowers bring some of the outdoors in. Use this combo in ANY space and it will instantly feel more like home. Promise.

Here’s some other ideas I use inside and outside my house.

1. Potted colour around the house

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Growing up my Mum would always have some potted colour around the house. Whether it’s a window box or pots near your doorways they make an entranceway feel like someone cares. They don’t have to be expensive buxus topiaries either – I get little pots of colour from a nursery or even supermarket (our fruitshop sells them too) usually 5 for $10 or something like that. Plant them en masse or mix them up with bigger pots for a wonderful decoration OUTSIDE the house. I’ve got a mixture of all kinds of pots and while they do take some effort with the watering, herbs or fruit trees or flowers or shrubs will soften the outside of any house. Bring those pots INSIDE too – succulents look amazing inside on a bench or up against some collectibles you may have arranged in a bookcase or sideboard. Now is a good time to think about bulbs for Spring – why not plant some into some big pots or containers now ready for later in the year – you can plant them into dishes, pots – whatever!

2. Cushions

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I swear you get to a certain age where you stop caring so much about clothes and shoes and start getting more interested in soft furnishings and bed linens. I can’t be sure exactly when it happens, but there most definitely comes a time when 1200 thread count sheets on sale will have you adding to cart quicker than a pair of shoes. Cushions will ALWAYS make you feel like you have given your home a little facelift. And you don’t have to spend a fortune. Ikea, target, Kmart, Spotlight all have great options ย and you can mix and match as the seasons pass. Swap the covers over, move them from room to room, and have fun. I mix as many patterns and textures as I can too – don’t have matchy matchy – get creative and have fun.

3. Bowls of fruit or whatever

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Really Beth? Yes really. Anything en masse in a bowl or in various bowls on a bench top ABUNDANCE makes a room feel like home. This can be fruit in a bowl (cheap and easy ways) greenery from trees outside (or autumn foliage) piles of fire wood or sticks or candles or wooden spoons in a jar or ANYTHING you want grouped together in a big pile just looks good. I don’t know why, I just do it and I love it. When my kitchen bench is overflowing with flowers and fruits, herbs and flowers and greenery it just always looks gorgeous. You know when you look at magazines and everything looks fab? Those overflowing Country Style shoots? They have bought in ALL OF THE THINGS. From all the rooms, into the one space. More is more (sorry minimalists) for a lived in look.

4. Artwork

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While it would be nice to have an unlimited budget to have amazing art on the walls, it’s not really going to happen so think creatively about stuff on your walls. Prints do the trick. Why not have a crack at your own canvas? Plates on a wall? Controversial but it works. Tapestries. Sculptures. Weavings. Photos. Magazine cuts outs. Cheap frames with anything in them. Gallery walls. I use the girls artwork a LOT in our house, sure it looks like the rainbow has vomited everywhere most of the time, but I think it works.

5. Flowers and Greenery EVERYWHERE

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Not everyone has a garden filled with flowers to cut (not even me) but I will always have fresh flowers if I can. Every trip to the fruit shop will see me with a bunch. When my garden is a little light on I use trees and shrubs – any kind of greenery does the trick. Become friends with people who have beautiful gardens and they will always share their goods with you – help someone out who has a garden. Raid friends gardens that have plants there that they won’t even miss. Cut it. Whack it in a vase. Group different things together and just GO FOR IT.

6. Rugs and Throws

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I have rugs all through our house. All different kinds and sizes, styles and textures – some fancy mostly cheap – but they all create and define spaces, help tie colour themes together and of course provide warmth and softness underfoot. Mix them up – move them around often – and don’t be scared to clash. Clash is good! Make sure they don’t slip though – that is the work of the devil and for some a little anal. Monk like and OTT like me, a good quality non slip matt will save your sanity. In the cooler months I have lots of different rugs and throws around the place that not only add layers of texture to a room or space they are practical and get used. Perfect home makers.

7. Get the good stuff out

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Do you have cupboards filled with all your “good stuff” like the stuff from weddings that get used for “special occasions”. Get it out! Use it! Every day life is for the good stuff. I have a whole heap of stuff from my Grandmothers and now Mum’s place that I love to have out and use. Things with history that have stories, will only add to the story of YOUR home.

What do you think makes a house a home?
What are on your list of essentials?
Are you a Suzie home maker like me? I LOVE this shit. Always have, always will.

Comments

  1. I love having my house just so. It only lasts for a little time as having a 3 and 1 year old carving up the joint my beautiful things are a little disrespected! Your home is beautiful Beth, always stunning combos everywhere.

  2. I feel like my home doesn’t feel homely enough. Don’t get me wrong, I feel happy in it and I’m always working on it, but I feel like I’m yet to get THERE. Thanks for the tips! I will definitely think more about it x

  3. Cushions! I have them on the beds and on the couches and my husband does not get it. He has to move cushions to sit on the couch and get into bed. I have recently added a ‘throw’ on the bed and he thinks I’m insane. I agree with your observation about home furnishings versus shoes etc as you get older, I love home stuff. Although I still buy the clothing and shoes as well. Thread count and linen bedcovers, kitchen towels, plants inside. I used to hate cut flowers but now I love them as I’ve got older. I don’t have rugs but I think I would like one for winter. I had a white one in the lounge room but it got so grubby I couldn’t stand it. If I get a pattern I would wonder if it is still dirty but I can’t see it? That would drive me mad. My aim this year is to get everyone to take their shoes off at the door.

  4. great beth! next to painting, foofing is my job! … love it!
    I love what you do with your house to make it a home!
    noticed you are loving yourself sick hun! … perfect!
    go beth love the do! even though I loved the darks coming through!
    the platinum is hot to trot!
    love m:)X

  5. I have become such a Suzie home-maker Beth!! I find myself turning into my mum – who has always made her house a home with photos and rugs. Not to mention I am now determined to pot a bunch of empty pot plant holders to create some greenery around the house….Could be a little bit of a challenge as I have a pretty bad purple thumb when it comes to keeping plants alive. Loved this post!

  6. There’s something about your regular blog feed that makes me feel good. I love hearing about your girls, seeing photos of Maggie by the door waiting for her sisters to come home, hearing about your community and your family.
    It resonates with me. It’s real, genuine and honest and makes me think. Thank you Beth for sharing your life and your family and for writing the way you do.

  7. Hi – I agree with rugs, cushions and lamps (I can’t stand bright overhead lights. Also photos, books and candles create a cozy atmosphere. And a little bit of mess to make a home looked lived in…can’t stand spotless, minimal (white) sparkly houses.

  8. And I forgot to mention with flowers, I remember watching The Oprah Show (back in the day) and she said that even when she had not much money, she would always buy a bunch of flowers every week to put in her home. I have always remembered this and it’s my justification when buy them every Friday on the way home from work…

  9. Your home always looks beautiful Beth. xx

  10. I am at my happiest when moving things , particularly furniture around. You are so right about potted colour, normally inexpensive but gives great results.
    Have a happy weekend

  11. Lamps and indoor plants ?? I couldn’t even tell you where the light switches are in my house because I always use the lamps!

  12. Its my birthday next week and the things I really want are homewares or furniture or a dyson (I’m dreaming). Mum thinks these things arent personal enough but with a baby I dont really need lovely clothes, nice shoes, jewellery, perfume or a new handbag so eh ….

  13. Lovely home. I’m a fan of cushions ( i do get in trouble over my cushions , but its worth listening to the moans) Rugs. Yes. Candles yes. Lamps . Yes. And sheets yes ! I think husband could possibly prefer clothes and shoes. Maybe? But I prefer homewares! Getting older I have soooo many clothes and shoes that even I’m over them. Homewares are my new thing!

  14. I need to run out and get some flowers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Fab post. I’m going to share it. I love cushion shopping. You can never have too many. As for rugs, I can’t wait to add more to our house and change the existing one in our living room – but not until Phoebe is fully toilet trained – which is a year and a bit away.

  16. mrs_woodette says

    More is most definitely more to make a house a home ? lived in minimal and more. I love more! Your home is pretty special?

  17. Your home is so…..homely!! I just love to see pictures of it in my Insta feed. So bright and happy and cosy. Great tips thank you!! Going to work on the rug one myself. Photos of family scattered around are a thing that can turn a house into a home for me. Photos of my children as babies, and photos of grandparents and those photos of siblings that you can’t believe you snapped because they show the closeness and the relationship right there without words. Gallery walls and picture rails are big features in my home. Oh and thanks for explaining my need to have potted colour by the entrance even though we are in a modern home!!! It just makes me happy. It’s like greeting guests with a smile and a warm familiar hug ?

  18. I love this shit too Beth.
    Hard!!
    I think I definitely have the Suzie Homemaker gene.
    I’ve moved into soulless share houses, more than once, and within a week, bam, they’ve become cosy, personalised havens.
    I live by myself now, which I love, and my home (a rundown rental) is my refuge and a welcoming sanctuary for friends.
    I have prints galore, a few by an iconic Australian photographer, a few from the op shop, a few picked up from gallery visits and framed on the cheap, some from Ikea, and my own burgeoning collection of little artworks, which I switch around often on Ikea clips and string.
    I want more fresh flowers and greenery (I’m a peace lily murderer).
    I love a candle or three, and stacks of books.
    Could use a killer rug or two but that’s beyond the budget at the moment.
    My grandma’s Onkaparinga blanket is a treasured element of my autumn/winter decor.
    Home is where I want to be.
    It’s where I want my friends, my sisters, my faves, to feel completely relaxed and safe.
    Add good food, a glass of wine, or coffee and a warm slice of banana bread…. HEAVEN ON EARTH.

    This stuff is why people love your blog Beth – they feel welcomed and at home with you.

    • There are some great cheap rugs (like rug rags) at a local home ware store down here – you might find them locally for you too. Thanjs Annette x

  19. Great tips. I always admire how your home looks on the blog here. I get a bit low about living in a small place that feels a little art-less and lacks me. This is mostly due to lack of funds but you’ve inspired me to do more, because really you don’t need much. I’m all for greenery and flowers scattered about too. I always feel better when there are plants and flowers. Something embedded in me from my mum too I think.

  20. I think your home definitely has “hygge” Beth. Its a Dansih term, basically translated it means you’ve created warmth, a tone, ambiance, coziness, a lovely feeling in your home. I love that phrase, I’m a little minimalist but I’m trying to create hygge in my new home too ?. I especially like the idea of clustering different objects together on a sideboard or something…and i know I’m a bit anal with straightening throws and cushions and spraying benches, but it makes me feel better. Haha. Great post, your house is beautiful !

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