Home Guide

There’s a difference between a house and a home. It’s one of those things that’s intangible, but you know it when you feel it. A coziness and comfort, it’s the difference between Emily’s Gilmore’s manor and Lorelai Gilmore’s house on Gilmore Girls. With that example, you might think it’s money that makes the difference between a house and a home—that the Weasleys of the world will always live in homes while the Malfoys of the world are doomed to live in sterile houses—but that’s not the case at all. No matter your budget or your taste, it’s possible to make your house feel like a home. Here are some quick and easy tips.

Make It Comfortable

If you want your house to feel like a home, it has to, first and foremost, be comfortable to be there. At a minimum, this means you want to avoid any uncomfortable odors and keep your house a comfortable temperature. Sometimes, larger houses can get cold because it costs so much to heat them. If that’s the case in your home, strategically placing slippers or throw blankets around important rooms in your house can give you the cozy feel you’re looking for. Temperature changes outdoors can also affect air quality in your home, so you’ll want to make allowances for them.

Reduce the Clutter

Clutter is the enemy of a comfortable home. The more that you can declutter your home, the more likely you are to be comfortable within it. You might think that clutter can help you achieve a cozy feel in your home, but it’s more likely to make you feel stressed out and not know where to look. Instead of letting clutter seep into your home, decide which items are most important to you and find ways to highlight those. And on that note…

Have a Personality

Pinterest is great, but one thing that it has done is make it easier for homes to have a cookie-cutter appearance to them. People are so determined to make their home look pin-worthy that they forget to let it have a personality. The result? Houses all look sort of generic—cream walls, single-tone furniture, pictures of wine bottles and Venice on the wall—and it’s impossible to get a feel for the owner’s personality. Instead, make your house feel like a home by injecting your personality into it. Family of nerds? There are classy nerd décor items available on the market. Have little kids that love to do art? Try hanging a collage of their art on your wall instead of a generic collage of something you don’t actually care about.

Keep It Clean-ish

A dirty house just feels gross, so we’re not going to tell you not to clean your house. You should make sure that you vacuum the dog hair off the rug and get the dust off the windowsills. But believe it or not, if you’re going for that home-y feel, it’s okay to have a “Done, not Perfect” understanding of household cleanliness. Yes, you want your house generally picked up, but leaving a book that you’re reading on the end table instead of putting it back on the shelf or letting your kids get away with leaving one or two toys on the floor doesn’t make your house look dirty—it makes it look lived in. One of the main differences between a home and a sterile magazine house is that magazine houses aren’t real. Because they’re not real, they don’t have a pair of boots kicked off just inside the door or a few stray Legos under the couch. But your home may, and believe it or not, that’s one of the things that gives it charm—one of the things that makes it feel like your home.

These days, people put way too much pressure on themselves to keep their homes perfectly cleaned and organized at all times. Every bit of decor is carefully selected to mimic the houses showcases in magazines, on TV, or on Pinterest. The result is a bunch of cookie-cutter houses that all look the same and don’t feel like homes. If you want your house to feel like a home, ditch the magazines and instead think about what it is that you really like. By decorating around things you actually like while focusing on keeping your home moderately clean and comfortable to be inside, you’re sure to have a house that feels like a home.