Houses vs. Homes

I would like to talk about the difference (in my opinion) between houses and homes. A house is a valuable commodity; it provides shelter, warmth, and a place to hang your hat. It can also be a sanctuary, a place where memories are built, and the place where you feel safe and comfortable. This is invaluable, well, to me anyway. I have travelled to many places, both near and far; sometimes staying for 6 months. As much as I made temporary homes wherever I was, and home is wherever you feel comfortable, blah, blah, blah… there is nothing quite as nice as coming home. This doesn’t mean you have to have been in this place for ages, or that it has a particular grandeur. There is just something that says “home” to some people.

These principles play a huge part in decorating- both for sale and for long term living. When staging for sale they say less is more, neutral is best, declutter, refrain from displaying personal pictures etc. so that potential buyers can picture themselves living there. These are valuable points! I have tended to specialize in decorating for people who have just purchased a house or condo, and are trying to figure out how to make it feel like their home.

For this I simply say to figure out what makes your home special. What soothes you? What feeling do you want these rooms to evoke? Colour theory can be a HUGE tool for this! If you are someone who likes simple flow, maybe picking just the right neutral is the ticket. You can reserve your pops of colour for accessories! Dressing a space with plants, throw pillows from fabrics that speak to you, and what I call “personal artifacts”. If you have traveled a lot and purchased or inherited some fabulous pieces of art, rugs, furniture or textiles great! Sometimes even just doing a gallery wall with some pictures from good times in your life can do it. Maybe you are or know a craftsman, and you have a piece of furniture with a great story.

If you are someone who needs some colour, think about how colour affects you. If you want your dining room to feel cozy and encourage conversation and the desire to smell and eat yummy things it is said that reds and oranges are a good choice. If you want something serene maybe a cooler tone like blues, greens, or purples are a better choice. Basically you know what speaks to you. Green might go with your furniture and bring out your fabulous wood trim, but if you hate green – it won’t be a good colour in your home! A handy general rule is that cool colours (blues, greens, purples) tend to make walls recede, helping to achieve a bigger, airy feeling in the space. Warm colours (red, orange, yellow) can tend to make a space feel cozier. If you have a gargantuan rec room that just seems too big, maybe go with a warmer tone, and if that spare bedroom seems rather small maybe a blue-green is in order.

Contrast can be another beautiful thing. Light and dark, warm and cool. A darker colour can be imposing, but if it’s broken up with lighter furniture, or art etc. it can actually have a really neat dramatic effect. The same goes for light vs. dark. Warm vs. cool is a neat one. Say you have lovely wood furniture or trim that you really want to stand out, paint the walls in a cooler tone. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go with a true “colour” either. Undertones can be an awesome thing! Say a green would look really great in a room and help that horrible green countertop fade away, but you hate green or would have preferred a neutral. So go with a beige, taupe or grey with a slight green undertone! Easy peasy.

All of these things, or just a combination of them can all contribute to making your space feel more “you”. A few unique pieces, some cozy textiles and the odd pop of colour and voila! You’re ready for your “home-warming” party.