What makes your house a home?

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Our homes contain our daydreams, our styles, and our memories. How one’s home looks and how we approach decorating is such a personal thing! But what is it that truly makes your house feel like a home?

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read/shared this post from Naomi a couple weeks ago. In it, she was talking about the cottage she bought in 2012, and how the last few years were filled with excitement and daydreams about what the space would become. Now, she’s not as sure. It really got me thinking about the fantasies and expectations we can place on our homes, and how that looks (and manifests) from person to person. 

Like Naomi, I can totally relate to that feeling of wanting a space to be finished NOW, and I can’t enjoy it until then. It’s a double edged sword, you know? On the one hand, I know it’s a process, and I relish the thrill of finding pieces I truly love and treasure for my home. On the other, I can’t say I’ve ever felt completely settled in any place I’ve lived in as an adult. Sure, the first apartment out of college was one thing, with its mismatched, hand-me-down pieces. Now, at this stage in my life, I crave something more cohesive and put together — likely a reflection of how I always assumed my 30-something life would look as a whole. When I take a step back, it seems so silly — that I’m waiting on physical objects to lead to some feeling of “completeness.” After all, more stuff doesn’t lead to life happiness. But I do think it’s a tricky balance. I mean, obviously, people gather objects and furnishings to express something about themselves and make a home feel more familiar, right? But that has become tricky too, lest we forget: the advent of social media leads us to compare our own homes to the perfectly styled ones we see online, as well as seek out certain trends that we’re trying on for size.

So, what makes my house feel like a home? Where I’ve landed personally is that it’s all in the slow collection of objects that tell stories. They could be stories about how I found the item, or the item’s own provenance, but for me, that’s key. Additionally, when I envision “home,” I think of a place where I can easily welcome my friends and family — where you can create new stories and memories together. Admittedly, with city living, that hasn’t happened as much as in my happy home daydreams, which might contribute to my feelings (but then again, those daydreams involve things like guest bedrooms for all and a big backyard for grilling and lawn games. These things probably only exist in the ‘burbs…but eesh, that’s a post for another day or even year).

I’ve realized it’s so easy to fall into the if/then trap, just like Naomi mentioned. If we had a guest bedroom, then I’d have friends come stay with us. If we knew where we were going to be living in another two years, then it would be easier to make a decision about X piece of furniture. We end up painting ourselves into the (somewhat unfinished) corner! All this rambling to say, I’m still trying to figure out the balance of making a home feel like my own, as well as remembering to be content with the now and enjoy the place we live. I’m curious to know — how do you approach this balance in your own life? Do you find it easy to be happy with the way your home looks? Or is it a never ending thing for you? What are the items in your home that make it feel most like “you?” And are there any you’ve purchased just to be “done” with something, but it didn’t work out the way you intended? I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!



Images all via my Instagram, and ironically, taken in our New York apartment. It’s the apartment we lived in that felt closest to being “done!”


  1. 8.21.15
    Shirsha said:

    There are five of us in our house – my husband’s parents, my sister-in-law, and my husband and I (as much as nuclear families is a reality in India, so is living with your in-laws). Six, if you count the dog. Our house is in many ways, an amalgamation of our tastes. The living room is mostly neutral, while our own rooms are more tailored for each one’s personality. We moved into this house about a year ago, and I still see corners which feel incomplete. There’s a planter needed here, some art for that walls, etc. etc. While I am content with how it all looks now, at the back of my head, I tend to maintain a list of things which would “just make it all better”. I’ve gotten better at not struggling over that list, but it’s taken time.

    My room feels more like me. I think it’s my books and memory keeping supplies that seal the deal for me. They are a huge part of my life, and seeing my books around gives me a sense of quiet comfort.

  2. 8.21.15
    Sam said:

    I struggle with this. We bought our first place in January and we’ve been slowly settling in. I’m a design blog/Pinterest fiend and am always wanting to “complete” a room just to have it finished (and photograph ready). I’m trying to reign myself back in — no one is going to be photographing my home and I tend to rush into decisions/change my mind quickly. My husband keeps reminding me that it doesn’t have to be complete the first year we move in. So I’m working with what I’ve got. We finally unpacked some decor items around the house last weekend and it feels more “home”.

  3. 8.21.15
    Ginet said:

    I have the same sentiment about wanting a room to feel finished, but I’m in no particular rush (though if money was of no object..). To me, what makes a house a home is not anything materialistic. It’s having my husband be the first and last person I see in the day. It’s having my pug Otis lay on my legs while I’m reading or watching TV. Though I haven’t felt quite settled in years until we purchased our first house, my home is wherever my loved ones are.

    • 8.22.15
      Danielle said:

      I couldn’t agree more with this. When you strip away the furniture and four walls, I feel it boils down to who you feel happiest sharing the space with. Whether you live alone, or as a house share or family of six.

  4. 8.24.15

    So Well said, Victoria! Obviously I relate. Particularly to the point about not knowing where I’ll be in 2 years, so how do you settle into now?

    Thanks so much for sharing my post!


  5. 8.25.15

    So much of this resonates with me right now. My husband and I just bought our first home after renting for 3 years. I, of course, wanted it to be “done” and feel like home instantly. But I’ve since taken a step back and reminded myself that while yes someday I do want to replace our dining room table (and plenty of other things) it’s not necessary today. Today I just want to live in this house, cook dinner with my husband and truly enjoy it. That to me is what makes our place a home!

  6. 9.9.15
    Kate said:

    How in the world did you find this glorious NY apartment?

    • 9.9.15

      Haha, through 30ish showings of other places that weren’t as good, and also having to wait 6 weeks for it to become available, during which time we sublet. It was a saga.

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