This month, I quietly celebrated 11 years of blogging. As part of that, last week, we watched the very first home tour video I ever did for this blog. It was of our first basement apartment that we were renting. The one we brought Greta home to and where I started the blog. Andi filmed our reactions while we were watching the whole heart-warming, very shaky, nothing-in-focus video. You can watch it (with our reactions!) below. It’s pretty entertaining.
I thought so much about apartment over the last decade +. And how it shaped me into the homebody, home-loving person I am today. Over the last 11 years, I made a career out of loving where you live and it started in that basement apartment. So no matter where you live, here are my 10 tips for how to start loving where you live right now.
- Don’t wait. (Okay, you knew that was coming.) Don’t wait until you have the house of your dreams of the budget of your dreams to start improving where you live. It’s so easy to say “We’re moving in a year, I’m not doing anything.” But a year is a LONG time to not love where you live. Invest in things you can take with you (like art for the walls, furnishings!) and start now!
- Tastes change–thank goodness! I get a lot of messages telling me I’ve changed over the years and I take every one as a compliment. We’re supposed to change. We’re supposed to improve. We’re supposed to evolve. So it’s really natural to grow out of that wall color or candle color or textile or your decor in general. Making sure those pieces go to a home that will love it will make everyone a lot happier than disliking that patterned chair every time you see it.
- If you have an idea for your house that you can’t stop thinking about–do it and maybe you just love it or you might just need to get it out of your system. In our first house, I painted our living room purple! Me! Purple! I painted Greta’s room lime green. I painted our living room blue! I left no color un-turned and I tried it all. Now I’m much more reserved in my palette but I never wonder and if the color itch strikes again, I’m not afraid to go for it. It’s just paint.
- Your home should be a self-expression of YOU, your family and no one else. So if someone says, “It needs more color.” or “Less color!” or pushing a minimalist movement on you when you’re more of a maximalist or making you feel bad for your colorful cabinets when they prefer white kitchens–remember, it’s YOUR home to love. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no wrong.
- Creativity is a muscle. The more involved you are in improving your home, the more comfortable and confident you will be in doing so. When I was in a graphic design class in art school, I had to make 50 logos a day. At first it was so hard. But when I got in the groove, I found I could even go beyond 50! If you’re wanting to be creative in your DIY endeavors in your home, start and don’t stop–the ideas will start flowing.
- You’re going to make mistakes–it’s okay, it’s just decorating. Oops I forgot to stir the paint and now the edges are a different color (guilty!). Oops, I didn’t measure and the couch is not fitting through the door. Oops, I hate it. Give yourself a break. You’re allowed to not like something you originally chose.
- Home is not a before and after. It takes time and money and more time and that evolving that we talked about in #2. A kitchen isn’t going to be renovated in 30 minutes like on TV and the lived-in, collected looked that makes a house a home, takes time and love. Don’t be afraid to take your time.
- Start making memories and invite people over! Nothing makes a home feel more like yours faster than hosting a game night, inviting some friends for dinner or just dessert! We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for Chris’s family in our first basement apartment. I guarantee it was the smallest living area of any of his siblings but they came and I’ll never forget it.
- Dedicate a budget to improving your home every month. When I first started this blog, we set aside $20 every month to spend on home improvements. (That’s separate from utilities or emergency home funds). I got creative. I thrifted. I used mistinted paint A LOT. Some months I rolled it over so I could buy that lamp. (bonus: Every living space could benefit from a lamp and window treatments). I made curtains. Obviously our budget now is larger, but the point is, give yourself the freedom to spend money on your house–no matter how big or small.
- Loving your home is a relationship. It takes work. There will be ups and downs. Sometimes a renovation isn’t going well or an appliance breaks and there’s water everywhere and you’re mad. At your house. (Just me?) And sometimes you look around and see all the imperfections and memories and uniqueness and declare yourself a certified homebody. You don’t have to love everything about your home to love where you live. I think that would be impossible. To me, it’s more about focusing on the good and going from there.