Creating a Home You Love

I’m going to say something that may surprise you. Having a home you love is not about decorating. It’s not even much about how your place looks or what you own. How your home feels is critical – it can even be life-changing.

So how do you create a home you love?

1. Reflect your personality. If you’re a playful person, put art in unusual places or display your clown that you bought in Mexico. Show off souvenirs from vacations that make you smile, art you bought on your honeymoon; or items with sentimental value that fill your heart with love, like the old sewing machine you inherited from your grandmother.

2. Highlight your possessions. Leave space around your furniture to show it off; hang your art to its best advantage; display your treasures so you can appreciate them.

3. Art, accessories and furniture need to work with each other in vignettes. Think of each part of the room as an outfit. You can have expensive clothes, but if they don’t coordinate, the outfit doesn’t work.

4. Create a functional home. Do you need a reading chair in the family room? Do you want a spot to do your arts and crafts? Do you have a favorite TV-watching chair?

5. Think outside the box. How can your space work better? Could the dining room that never gets used be an arts and crafts room? Could the large living room be a family room and the smaller room be a quiet adult sanctuary?

Creating a home you love can be life-changing. In my redesign business we only use what people already own. And the reactions are incredible.

Some people confessed they’d been embarrassed to have guests. Many hadn’t entertained in years. After the redesign they couldn’t wait to invite people over.

Some are shocked that their home could be so beautiful without buying anything new. They look in disbelief and say “these are my things!”

Some cried tears of happiness when they saw their ‘new’ home. One said “I even care what I wear now.”

One woman told me she hadn’t wanted to get out of bed in the mornings, but after I did the redesign she excitedly leapt out of bed. Another said she knew she needed to move on with her life but couldn’t seem to do it. After the redesign she ended a negative relationship and is now happily married to a new man. She credits the redesign!

Relationships in your family will even be better. One woman said her teenagers sat around the table to eat dinner “for the first time in ages.”

What is most rewarding in taking the time to create a home you love is that you will feel warmth every time you look around your home; you will be proud to invite people into your home, and your entire family will benefit.

Tips for giving your home personality

* Display only pieces that are special to you.

* Less is more. Eliminate everything that doesn’t add to the feeling of the room.

* Put like items together in one spot instead of all over the room. Art, plants and accessories make a statement when grouped in collections.

* Create vignettes with a theme. For example, hang a contemporary piece of art with a pewter frame over your glass and pewter table. Accessorize with pewter items, or items that pick up the colors or theme of the art.

We need to take back our power. Your home is about you and should reflect you, not page 35 of a decorating magazine. It’s time to get back to basics and be creative with what already exists in your home. It can be life-changing.

Val Sharp is the founder and past president of the Canadian Re-designers Association and the author of “The Art of Redesign – 5 Simple Steps to No-Cost Redecorating”. She instructs people in starting their own interior redesign and home staging business.