Friday, April 5, 2013

5 Ways to Make a House a Home

I recently wrote a post about living abroad and how you can’t just force a place to become a home (read it here). That said, there are some easy ways to make a new place feel homier.

1. Pets
I am a pet person. Having a little animal prowling around the house makes it feel full and busy. There is just something about having this creature dependent on my coming home each night and waking each morning. Even at her evilest (and our cat is very evil) she still makes me feel loved and needed. Every time we’ve moved, we’ve ended up with a pet mere weeks after arriving. There really is nothing like it.

2. Color
I love color. It is such a quick and easy way to make a place my own. Moving to Kuwait, where everything is brown, I have become obsessed with adding blues and greens into our daily lives. Paint is the easiest way I know to make a room feel ‘mine’. I choose the color, I pick the place, I give the effort and suddenly the room is stamped with my personality. B prefers plants. There are so many colors, textures and types. He loves moving them throughout the house and is always extra excited when a new one sprouts. However you choose to add color, do it. It will take you a lot closer to creating a ‘home’.

3. Traditions
Back in California, I had a weekly girl’s night. Once I arrived in Honduras, I felt left out knowing these nights were taking place without me. Part way through the year, a new friend offered to start hosting a bi-monthly book club and I practically cried from joy. I have since realized that I need ‘traditions’. Weekly girl’s night, monthly softball games, yearly friends-givings, whatever form they take, once they become a regular part of my life, the more content I feel in my new ‘home’.

4. A Bit of 'Home'
Everyone comes from a different life when they move abroad. I came from a place steeped in community. Therefore, I had to bring a little of that community with me. I brought a quilt that my hometown gave us on our wedding day and cards my sister wrote me as I left. My friends and family are also fantastic at mailing letters to keep me appraised about what’s happening back 'home'. Every little bit helps. 

5. Memories (Old & New)
It may seem obvious, but it is important to keep adding to your home as you keep living life. When we first moved in to our new apartment, I filled it with photos of the people we love. Whether I simply stuck photos to our fridge or hung them in a display, I tried to get them up fast. As the year progresses, I keep adding new photos and such. The happy buddha reminds me of an adventurous trip to Sri Lanka with a new friend, the camel connects me to my new country and the photos can change whenever the need arises. The more you can fill your space with the things that make you happiest, the quicker you will feel ‘home’ again.


  1. Jackie I absolutely LOVE how positive you are all the time! It's contagious and always makes me feel so much more positive about life here :)

  2. i agree with Aimee. So positive! oh and yeah for Book Club! It's continued, but sadly, without the same fervor as with you. Honduras misses you and me even more!

  3. Lovely home! You could be an interior designer in your next life. I agree pets make it feel homey. My little mutt I brought home from Paraguay serves two puposes-having a pet and a recuerdo of my peace corps days.

    1. Jill, I recently thought of you and then stumbled upon this comment. I hope you are still enjoying Ohio! <3