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7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Happpppy Saturday you lovely people! I’m so excited for today’s post because it’s one I’ve been working on for a while now. I’m sharing 7 practical tips to help you truly love your home–even when you don’t really want to. I’ve been there, I know it’s not easy when you’re living in a home that isn’t what you want. Before moving where we are today we lived in two foreclosures. Yes, two! Now, to be fair, they weren’t necessarily in bad shape In fact, the second foreclosure was a pretty nice house. But the problem I had with both of them is that they lacked character. They were cookie-cutter homes that just didn’t offer much pizazz. At the time I struggled with that and felt like my creativity was a bit stifled by the limits of our home. Now looking back I realize how wrong I was. I could have done sooooo many things to change the overall look and feel of our home, but I never did. So if you’re in a similar situation, in a place you aren’t crazy about, I hope these tips today will make a difference in how you feel about your home. Let me encourage you today to look at things with a different perspective and take ownership of where you are now. I’ve put a lot of thought into these tips, so I hope they are helpful for you!

7 Tips for Loving Your Home

Embrace Your Season

The first and biggest step to loving your home is making the decision to embrace your current season of life. I know this isn’t always easy, I’ve been there. Like I mentioned, our first home was a foreclosure with no character at all. I decorated it with little purpose or intention, mostly because I had no clue what I was doing plus I was frustrated with the layout. And the little effort I put into it only made me dislike it more. Things just never seemed to fit. Looking back I wish I would have really embraced where we were and made more of an effort to make the house what I wanted, even with a limited budget. Had I made that effort, it would have made a big difference in how I felt about the house and I would have enjoyed it a lot more. So if you’re sitting in your first home, or even your fifth home, and it isn’t exactly what you want, I encourage you to find contentment with where you are today. It doesn’t have to be where you are forever, but you’re there now so you might as well make it awesome. And don’t let yourself get caught up in comparison. There will always be someone with a “better” house, that’s just reality, so don’t waste your time worrying about it. Declare now that you’re committed to making the most of what you have–big or small.

7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Personalize Your Home

This seems obvious, right? Let me explain. Years ago, when I was decorating our first home, I bought a lot of random stuff to decorate with–sailboats, little ceramic bears that said home sweet home, bright orange birdcages, and lots of other cheap decor. If I thought it was cute, I’d buy it. And I didn’t really even think about it, if that makes sense. Nowadays I’m much more intentional with what I bring into our home. You know I love my vintage decor, but I also really try to stick to a specific look when I shop for decor at places like Target or Home Goods. This kind of falls in line with finding your style, which I can cover in another post if you want to see something like that, but I would encourage you to stop and ask yourself what kind of decor you’re really drawn to. What do you like? What don’t you like and why? Figuring that out and sticking to it will keep you from buying a lot of random stuff that you only feel so-so about. And even better, it will help you create a home that is personal to you and that’s a HUGE part of loving your home.

7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Small Projects = Happiness

If you’re unhappy in your home, I’d challenge you to get your hands busy with a small project around the house. I truly believe in order to really love your home, you have to put effort and time into it. Just like anything in life, you have to work for what you want. There are lots of different ways you can do this without tearing down walls or ripping out old bathrooms. Simply start by changing the paint color on your living room walls, or maybe paint your fireplace, or do a simple planked wall in your dining room. And one of my all-time favorite small projects, use the empty wall space by your front (or back) door to make a little entryway with beadboard. All of these projects can be done for minimal costs and time. Even if you don’t feel like you can take on these projects, I would encourage you to try. That’s how we all learn. I did my first planked wall completely by myself, with zero experience. I researched, read lots of blogs and tutorials, and then I went for it. Don’t be afraid to try new things and small projects are a great place to start. I promise, you’ll be so proud when you’re done.

7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Clear Your Home of Clutter

If you don’t love it, get it out. That’s my philosophy and it really does help keep your home organized. I have made a big effort in our home to keep clutter to a minimum. Every few months we go through the house with big trash bags and collect things we don’t use or want anymore for donation. Even our kiddos do this with their toys–and they actually enjoy it! And one things I’ve discovered in this process is that when our home is organized and clutter free, I feel happier and more relaxed. The more things are piled up, the more stressed I feel. Maybe I’m just a clean-freak, but I think this is true for a lot of people. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like every little corner and drawer is perfect, definitely not, but our living spaces and bedrooms are what I focus on the most. We spend the most time in these areas and I want them to feel clean, organized, and not overcrowded with stuff. I know you may think this is a small one, but it truly does make a big difference in the overall feel and vibe in your home.

7 Practical Tips For Loving Your Home

Splurge on Something Special

Ok, you guys know I’m all about yard sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist. My philosophy is that you don’t have to break the bank to have a beautifully decorated home. However, I truly believe that you should splurge on something special for your home every now and then. Maybe it’s time to get rid of the couch you’ve had for 5 years and buy a new one, or pick out a pretty chandelier for your dining room, maybe even a new headboard for your bed. Splurging on something shiny and new from time to time will truly change the way you feel about home. I know it seems materialistic, but it’s true. This has been my experience anyway. For years I only bought things for our home that were cheap and on sale–which meant I had a lot of mismatched furniture and knick-knacks. And it wasn’t that we couldn’t afford a few nicer things, we just chose to spend on our money in other areas. But now I realize the importance of investing in your home and giving yourself permission to splurge every now and then. And like I said, it doesn’t have to be huge. Even a few new throw pillows can brighten up any living room and put a new pep in your step.

7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Get Comfortable with a Paintbrush

I know I just said to splurge on something special, but if you’re working within a budget–like the majority of use are–you also need to get real comfortable with a paint brush. And I don’t mean for painting walls, I mean for furniture. I’m living proof that you can completely furnish your home with side tables, dining room tables, and dressers from thrift stores and yard sales. The key is being able to see the potential in a piece and knowing good quality when you see it. And going along with tip #2 about personalizing your home, painting furniture gives you the opportunity to make all of your pieces look like they belong together. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to paint everything the same color, but you can intentionally paint furniture in a way that compliments your overall style–whatever that may be. If you have a lot of dark furniture and you’re unhappy with it, go get yourself a paintbrush and get to work. Don’t be afraid to mess it up. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make–after all furniture is generally the focal point of every room.

7 Practical Tips for Truly Loving Your Home

Don’t Get Discouraged

Last but not least, don’t let yourself get discouraged. I know it can be frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re stuck with limited options in your home–maybe a layout you don’t like or a bathroom you can’t afford to fix up. I get it, I’ve been there. Heck, I’m still there. Trust me, there are many rooms in our home that are still stuck in the 1980’s and it ain’t pretty. But I know it’s a work in progress and it can improve, little by little. Getting discouraged and “giving up” on your home will only make it worse. Even if you don’t like your home now, I hope that you would recognize that any room–even if it’s tiny and has no character at all–can be turned into something beautiful if you’re willing to get creative and put in the work. Don’t settle like I did in our first home. Do it now!

I hope this has encouraged you to love your home and give it the attention it deserves. I believe that home is truly a reflection of what you love. It should be your sanctuary, a place to recharge your heart and mind, and spend time with the people that matter the most. Make it yours and be proud of what you have!

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The Comments

  • Lezlie
    October 29, 2016

    This is awesome! We recently had to move due to a job change. We had just about finished remodeling our home and then I found myself moving and having to start all over again. In order to get a place where we wanted, and that fit in our budget, we did have to settle on the house. We have 5 gorgeous acres and one very outdated house. We did remodel our kitchen first thing and painted all the walls, changed out doors and painted all the trim but there’s still plenty to do. I just have to keep reminding myself that it took 6 years to get our old house completely remodeled and we’ve only been here 10 months. Baby steps ????

    • Sarah
      > Lezlie
      October 29, 2016

      Oh my goodness Lezlie, it sounds like you’ve made a ton of progress on your home in 10 short months! You should be very proud. But I know how frustrating it can be to have so much still ahead of you, and you just want everything to be done. Just keep at it–you’ll get there! πŸ™‚

  • kim baker jacovich
    October 29, 2016

    great advice!

    • Sarah
      > kim baker jacovich
      October 29, 2016

      Thanks Kim! πŸ™‚

  • Deanna
    October 29, 2016

    Great post with good ideas! THANK you.

    • Sarah
      > Deanna
      October 29, 2016

      Yay glad you found it helpful Deanna!

  • Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog
    October 29, 2016

    Thank you so much for these encouraging words. I’ve really struggled with this over the past year and a half since we bought of our first home, a major fixer upper. Living through the major renovation was horrible (all while majorly pregnant too!). We still have so many things we need to fix and finish that it can get to be so discouraging. I couldn’t decorate at all for the first year because it was all pretty much torn apart. Now that I do have the chance to decorate, I’m getting so bogged down on the unfinished things that I’m just not loving anything! I will try to focus on enjoying this season with my baby, getting rid of clutter and working on smaller projects instead of focusing on the big ones remaining. You’re always such an encouraging blogger to read. I really do just LOVE your blog.

    • Sarah
      > Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog
      October 29, 2016

      Girl, I give you all the props for getting through a major renovation while being majorly pregnant. It’s stressful enough without being pregnant, so big high five to you! Keep focusing on the progress you’re making, it will all be done soon enough, but that sweet baby will only be little for a short while!

  • Chrissy
    October 29, 2016

    Inspiring. Thanks

    • Maureen
      > Chrissy
      April 29, 2018

      I see that all the comments are from 2016, it is now 2018, are you still doing this blog?

      • Sarah
        > Maureen
        April 29, 2018

        Yes, I post 3 times a week! πŸ™‚

  • Donalee
    October 29, 2016

    Thank you for reminder!!! We have lived in our cookie cutter home for 8 years now and it has been a work in progress. I just painted all of the trim off white throughout the entire house. Still have the doors but what a huge difference from fake oak wood. It is amazing what paint can do to the feel of a room. I also agree your statement “small projects = happiness”. The more you do yourself the more you appreciate it. I’m never afraid to do a project because there is so many resources out there to help you out. I love your blog because you are so inspiring!!!!!

    • Sarah
      > Donalee
      October 29, 2016

      Wow, painting all of the trim in your home is no easy task Donalee! But I can imagine what a big difference that made, paint can do amazing things. Keep up all your hard work, it will definitely pay off. So glad you liked the post. Thank you SO much for your kinds words and support!!

  • Stephanie
    October 29, 2016

    Such a great post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah
      > Stephanie
      October 29, 2016

      Thank you so much Stephanie! πŸ™‚

  • Kim
    October 29, 2016

    Great blog!!! At times I do struggle and wish I had something different. But I’ve had myself followed a few of your tips and by doing so I have realized I really do love my home. Thanks again for such inspiring blogs look forward to them.

    • Sarah
      > Kim
      October 29, 2016

      Aww thank you Kim, I’m so glad my blog is helpful to you and your home! It’s amazing how a little work and time into your home can make a big difference in how you feel about things. Keep up the hard work and thank you SO much for reading!!

  • Gee
    October 31, 2016

    Great post! Eleven years ago, our home sold in 24 hours. We had to scramble…. we grabbed a builder grade already in the process of being constructed. We were able to change. Few things, bit realizing we would only be there for a year, we settled.
    The market collapsed and well , we were stuck. We lived in a state of ‘hoping to move’ Intel two years ago.
    Finally we re finishing up a LOT of personalizing projects and we are in Luv!! Wished we had done it sooner.
    Happy new week!!!

    • Sarah
      > Gee
      November 1, 2016

      Thank you Gee! So glad you enjoyed it. And OMG, your house sold in 24 hours?! That is crazy. I can’t imagine. I’m sure it was stressful finding a new place in that short amount of time. And I know it had to be really hard to be stuck in that home for so many years, but it sounds like you ended up loving it. It’s amazing how a little shift in perspective and hard work can change things around. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Kerry Eady
    February 20, 2017

    I JUST (2 days ago) bought MY first home – also a bank repossession. A big Victorian fixer upper. My partner has spent the last two days replacing plumbing that froze because the property management co did not winterize the house and he thought I was absolutely nuts to START by stripping the oxblood red wallpaper out of the dining room. So much to do in the house but the room that made me sad was the dining room and just removing that dark heavy paper made me excited about the whole house despite our plumbing surprise.

    • Sarah
      > Kerry Eady
      February 21, 2017

      OH my goodness, congrats on buying your first home Kerry!!! And a Victorian fixer upper?! Sounds amazing. Good luck with all the projects and try to enjoy the journey–even when plumbing issues get in the way! πŸ™‚

  • Tracie
    April 12, 2017

    You are very encouraging. I started over with very little and only my income after a divorce from an abusive (and unfaithful) man, and I started with a bed, a small desk chair, a trunk, a TV, two end table lamps, and a small desk/table. I had my books in boxes on the floor (and am a reader/hoarder of books). I got a small armchair. That was it for a couple months, then my married friend happened to have her inlaws redoing their living room, and they had a free loveseat to give to me. I accepted that gift with a very appreciative heart, and you know with that loveseat suddenly the living room looked like a living room. I got a cream slipcover from Target for it, as the pattern was not my style, but it sure made the apartment look like a home.

    Then, I gradually as I worked hard saw my income go up a little over time, and I had a little money for decorating. I do use my own paintings and drawings as my main art, and I added in thrift store and furniture consignment store finds.

    I found:
    1) a big Pottery Barn ladder bookcase– original price $898, consignment store price: $212 (including tax), and it holds a lot.

    2) a beautiful cream coffee table with long elegant legs and a drawer, with leaves that fold down if you want (I like it open)– original price: about $600. Thrift store price: $33 (including tax ).

    3) An oversized armchair in great condition– original price about $500. Thrift store price: $46 (including tax). I bought a pretty light tan slipcover for it that cost more than the chair.

    4) A roomy antique dresser for $140 (including tax).

    5) A farmhouse restoration hardware lookalike wood table that I think was hand built by someone, for $100 at a thrift store. I had gotten 4 upholstered gray dining chairs at Target, and it took time, but I found the right table! I don’t know an original price, but the table is so wonderful.

    I was able to splurge on a beautiful upholstered cream headboard for my queen bed. And my mom gave me a pretty cream rug she couldn’t use at her new home when she and my dad moved, so I reaped the benefit. There were other items she and my dad have given me, too. A small bookcase, two wooden end table cubes that a carpenter made, and a big, pretty wicker basket.

    There were times in my tiny dorm like apartment I was very discouraged, and the emotional healing and my prayers (as a Christian ) were tough sometimes. I would see how it was so slow going and just the tiniest thing, like a new pillow cover, would personalize the place and make it more cheerful to be there and heal.

    I have more of a complete look here in this second, larger apartment, and I have come far in healing and joy. I have been able to do a lot here. I live with my dog here. We are happy gals. I think the nice touches mean so much in the home. I love decorating, and even if I had such a tight budget the splurge was a candle, it still felt like making the home more of a home.

    I am very blessed to have been able to have a sweet home. I call this apartment my cottage. πŸ™‚ I have a look that can easily go straight into a house. Over time, I also have met a wonderful man who cherishes me and one day I believe will be my husband. I add in little things now to decorate, like recently a cute floral pillow. The furniture is done being purchased or acquired, and it is just the little things now.

  • Kim Laffoon
    November 2, 2019

    I really enjoyed your blog! You have inspired me to get busy in my new home that doesn’t feel like home. I have a few ideas now thanks to you. Thank you!