"Make your house your home" was a slogan used by one of the UK DIY stores for ages. I think its a really good topic as its something of a process and since moving, its a process i have been going through. So here is my spaced out take on making my flat feel like my home.
I think three things have really be important in making my flat feel more home like. Routines, physical changes and personalisation.
My day to day routine is really strong and stable. I have awesome friends who help me each night and a wonderful babysitter who visits each evening to help me too end the day well.
My home is where my routine happens. At first, it was a bit scary and otherly because it was where things "could happen". Now it is where very specific things "will" happen. It’s a subtle difference. This predictability, sameness and stability is working really well for me.
Part of my routine is that i don’t spend too much time home alone. When i do i the pressure really gets to me. Instead, i have lots of support who come and go throughout the week. The support makes the flat a less scary place. Unlike late 2015 where i was burnt out, 2016 has been really positive. Having a more positive association with my home has been hugely benificial. It makes my home feel safer.
I am uncomfortable when home alone, so its really important that the physical spaces themselves are safe feeling. This has been a really subtle change. Making the rooms feel safer has meant considering more things than simple efficiency.
In the lounge, the room was transformed when i moved my sofa to use it as a room divider. It broke up one large, mixed use scare space into to much more smaller, cosy spaces. I have a "sitting and doing" area, and a "cooking and eating" area.
This has also helped when the babysitter visits. I still don’t spend time in the same room as her, but when my friends arrive i find it much easier to interact. I perch on the sofa, and she is in the cooking and eating area. The physical barrier really helps me to feel more comfortable.
The last change to the lounge is the addition of a good rug and a secluded work area. The rug makes the space feel softer and safer, the work area in the corner gives me a place to sit when i want to focus on work.
In my bedroom, i have removed anything which is "breakable". For ages, i have had a room full of sharp edges and breakable lego models. This made the room feel fragile and made moving around in the room quite uncomfortable. My bedroom is now much clearer and much more robust. I am planning to invest in a bigger rug in there too!
As i am renting this flat, and don’t expect to be here "long term" i can’t decorate that much. I am limited to changes which are trivial to reverse.
One of the most powerful things in making my flat feel more like my home, just for me, has been to make the flat more personal. This has happened in multiple ways, some deliberate, some accidental.
In the lounge i have a bookcase full of my books (lego, DK guides, Thomas tank engine boxsets), boxes of sensory toys and my blurays. On top of the bookcase is my lego. Taped to the side is a picture of Percy i coloured in about 2 years ago.
The bookcase shows my interests and passions so it brings aspects of my identity into the room.
My life is brought into the lounge rather bluntly by the giant 6 foot by 4 foot timetable on my wall. It’s not very subtle. This and other routines and schedules are everywhere in my flat. Acting as visual aids to help me smoothly flow through the week.
These functional changes are also personalisation. They add colour and interest to the rooms and spaces.
The final personalisation is the personalisation which is deliberate. For example, i have some awesome wall stickers in my bedroom which act as a nice focal point.
The personalisation all makes my home more specific to me and therefore it ends up feeling more homely. There are 5 flats with the same layout as mine above me, but mine is uniquely me. I bet its the only flat in the block with a 6 x 4 foot timetable :D
I like design and i like to play with and develop the way i use and occupy my home. Making my flat feel like my home is an ongoing process but it is going well. In a few weeks I will have been living here for 6 months so the process has only just started. I am excited to see where it will lead.