How to make an unfamiliar house feel like a home

One of the trickiest things to solve when you finally move into your new property, is how to make this unfamiliar house feel like a home. Although the novelty of a new environment will no doubt keep you upbeat in the first couple of weeks, the key to settling in is to turn your new space into a haven – the place that you come home to every day to feel safe and comfortable.

So here’s some advice from the interior gurus at The Moving Guys that can help you to make your new house feel like a home:

1) Deep clean everything before you unpack.
Without getting too metaphorical or obscure, there’s a primitive ownership that comes from ‘working the land’, or Locke’s principle of first appropriation. Basically, if you apply your labour to the land, then it becomes your property. Now, we might not be in seventeenth century enlightenment England, but the philosophy remains the same. So when you move into your new house, the first thing you can do to make it feel like your own is to give all the rooms and cupboards a good deep clean. And by mixing your labour with your building, the two will become intertwined. Well, that’s the theory anyway. You might just end up never wanting to clean anything ever again.

2) Get creative with some DIY.
In a similar respect, you can put your mark on a new house with a little bit of handy DIY manoeuvres. There’s no need to go crazy and start knocking down walls or creating new skylights, but a few shelves added or removed here and there can make you feel a little bit more in control of the space. And nobody ever regretted giving their new house a fresh lick of paint, so get yourself down to the local homeware store, stock up on some crisp whitewash, and start sprucing us your new home.

3) Light the place like an expert.
There is nothing that can make a home feel less welcoming than harsh, overhead white lights. Nobody wants to feel like they’re sitting in a department store changing room when they are relaxing on the sofa in their living room. So take some tips from the Impressionists: maximize daylight by hanging mirrors, lower the main sources of artificial lighting by using floor lamps, utilise dimmers to control the intensity on any overhead lights and use lamps and spotlights to highlight different layers in the space. And if you want to be really clever, do what directors of photography all around the world do everyday on a film set: light the objects, not the space – don’t angle lights pointlessly into the middle of the room, use them to bounce off of a wall, highlight the edge of a bookshelf, or create a warm glow from behind the sofa.

4) Showcase something you love.
Whether it’s your family photos, your favourite piece of art or your collection of poetry books – pick something small as a starting place, and use this to leverage some love in your home. For instance, if you have a shoebox full of images of your friends and family, then frame a few of them and display them in a hallway or living room. It will instantly make the place feel comforting. Or unpack some of your books onto a bookshelf – you don’t have to unpack everything in one go, but just a little stash in the corner of one of the main living areas will anchor the home and give it a sense of your own identity straight away.

5) Throw a dinner party worthy of Henry VIII.
Entertaining leaves a footprint on your home that you can’t create without real friends. It’s one of the easiest ways to start creating memories in your new home, as you’ll have the echoes of conversation in the kitchen and the lounge and dining areas. The house will start to breath a little, and feel like it belongs to you. So start planning a feast and invite over your hungriest friends.