A House, A Home

Some houses tend to feel homey straight away but it would seem the new apartments being built today have next to no personality at all. There is nary a whisper of home but more a firm intone of temporary residence throughout the space in which I currently reside. The white walls and grey carpets sound perfectly Scandinavian in theory but in practice it all comes off as rather clinical instead. The light is wonderful, I will give it that. The oh so modern floor to ceiling windows bathe the all-white living area in acute brightness but I secretly long for an old windowsill, scarred from flaking paint, to rest a cup of tea and an elbow upon.

I am not really a knick-knack kind of person and having too many "things" makes me feel panicked, especially as we tend to move quite often. I also rarely hang any prints or paintings on the wall (the life of a renter). So how do I go about making this house a home? It can be tricky to make a space feel homely when there isn't much in it but over the years I have learnt a few ways to remedy this without adding too much stuff and always make a house feel like a home for me, regardless of style or location.

Fresh flowers //

Be it a posy from the flower farmer at the market, an arrangement from the florist downtown or a pretty bunch of weeds picked from the roadside - it doesn't matter to me. There is always at least one jar of flowers in the house because they make me smile, connect me to nature when I can't go outside and generally brighten up the space.

Candles //

Candles used to make me shudder. One too many received as teenage birthday presents perhaps, very cheap and always overpoweringly sweet. Slowly but surely though I have come to appreciate the comforting glow of a candle on a cool evening, almost a necessity now in a house (apartment) sans fireplace. They provide the idea of warmth, of homeliness and, as my father-in-law is wont to theatrically exclaim, atmosphere!

Potted plants //

We all know studies continuously show the health benefits of having indoor plants (filters the air, makes you happy, is something to look at that isn't a screen). Living in an apartment, potted plants are the closest thing I have to a garden and at last count there are seven of them gracing various surfaces about the place. The feel of soil in my hands, watching the growth process and tending to their needs - that feels like home to me.

Natural ephemera //

Leaves, rocks, branches, anything really - from the ground to my pocket to the top of the bookshelf. This decorative vignette changes weekly, keeps us in touch with the season, keeps us present and serves as a small reminder of the week gone by.

On a similar note, there is always a pudding bowl on the kitchen bench doing double duty as a fruit bowl, filled with apples, pears and citrus in the cooler months and stone fruit in the summer. Another seasonal vignette, thankfully edible.

Books //

But not too many. A handful of well-loved books remain on the shelf, stories I truly love and will return to again and again. For everything else, I have my trusty library card. Remember libraries? I spent practically half my childhood inside one and it has been so wonderful to rediscover that joy again as an adult. Now there is a special little spot on the shelf that changes every two weeks, books in and books out, always a new adventure.

So tell me, dear reader, how do you make your own house a home?