What’s wrong with being at home?
Hubby and I have been on holidays now for a week and a half – we talked about going away but in the end we thought about the expense and the opportunity we were giving up to get on top of the house. So we decided to stay home, hang out with friends and family, and do a few things around our house.
We’ve cleaned up the spare room, that somehow became a dumping ground again, sorted the garage ready for council clean up next month, and took a load to the tip, cleaned up the back patio, gave the house a general clean and rearranged out living room in the process of decluttering and really opened the space up. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t spend the whole time working, hubby has been fishing, I have had shopping days planned with friends, and most of all I have enjoyed some time at home.
My Favourite Spaces of Our Home
I think creating a space for yourself in your home is a really important task we all need to think about. I have long been a home-body, but I can’t be in the house if it’s cluttered, messy or untidy. So creating a space for relaxing was high on my priority list, not just for me but a space hubby and I can both relax in. I actually have three spot in the house I like to be in, depending on the weather and what I plan to be doing, but what I like most of all is to get a sense of space and not to feel closed in.
My favourite spot in the morning is on the front balcony, it’s in the shade, there’s a nice breeze because it’s up off the ground and it has a lovely view of the nearby mountains as we are on a hill in one of the tallest houses in our little cul-de-sac. I like to sit out here with a coffee in the mornings and a book/kindle/ipad to read.
The other outdoor space I like is the back patio, last year we paid a builder to put a roof over it so we could use it in all weather, it still has a view, although not as much as we get out the front, but it’s been a great space for BBQ’s, to sit and hang out in the breeze in the afternoon when it’s too bright on the balcony, and it’s comfortable and inviting since we have an outdoor lounge, it’s just a nice spot to get outside.
My third spot is where I find I spend most of winter. Our lounge room. We live in a relatively small house so we don’t have a great big living room, it works out about 4metres x 7metres and has to be our lounge room and keyboard storage area/space, where I also do yoga etc.
What We Did to Improve Our Space
Our entry way is a difficult place to decorate and something we are still working on as we think about what we want it to look like, and the feel we are trying to achieve as we
first walk in. But, the first thing you see as you enter our front door is a steep stair case, dark wood stairs and dark bricks on the walls, I would love to lighten the floors one day but we just don’t have the money to take something like that on just yet. Instead we have left that small tiled landing at the bottom of the stairs and attempted to decorate the hall/walkway at the top. Straight ahead at the top of the stairs is a hallway to the kitchen on the left and the lounge room straight ahead, however if you turn left just as you get to the top we have created a homely space with photo shelves, a shoe rack and in the window frames leading to the dining room we have a hanging fern. (Plants are something I would like to add more of, but finding the right ones when you have cats has proven to be more difficult than I would have thought.) I must say we are happy with it so far, but would like to add some more colour with plants, but we also like the practical nature of it too. Having also fixed our shoe issues.
I have been doing my best to deal with our kitchen and dining space. It has always been
a hard space as the kitchen is quite small, and the cupboards are not designed well. So I decided to make the best of a bad situation for the moment and we have a plan to try and make improvements maybe later in the year – part of the financial priority list at some point. For now I have rearranged the kitchen, went from a smaller kitchen table to a larger one (that doesn’t suit our current decor or style but that I plan to paint it to make it match), this way we can still entertain, and use it to study while cooking dinner and as a family space. I have also tried to decorate it with gentle light light to make it feel cosy and homely.
We really opened up the lounge room to let more light in and to make it feel more open. We have a big modular lounge,
and simply by re-arranging it I have managed to make the room feel bigger with more open space, instead of a “U” shape, it’s now a corner lounge to one side and a 2 seater straight lounge on the other side of the room, opening it right up. It’s amazing how much something seemingly simple has made such a difference. I also opened up the dated venetians so we can see the patio out of the big glass sliding doors, and it has also given the space a different feel again.
We are slowly chipping away at our balcony and patio, we have added a few plants to the patio and some comfortable furniture to both spaces. The main goal was to create useful spaces for us to use, since our house is relatively small, it’s nice to have these other zones to spread out in and share with our friends and family.
We have 3 bedrooms and since we have no kids the first spare room is a “guest room”, with a bed, my pole for practicing pole dancing, and my sewing cabinet. It’s also the
room where we use most of the storage of the built-in wardrobe for hobby supplies. The third room is the room we had assumed we would keep for a baby, but until that happens and while I have uni this year, that will be the study. So we removed all the clutter, the Christmas trees and decorations are gone now, we tidied up the desk and culled some more books from the bookcase and we finally put the baby supplies we were given last year in a more convenient home in there and out of the garage. With the “for two” chair in there it now looks like a cosy study space, just need to file all our documents but I have at least culled them ready for the two of us to sit and create a system.
I always loved candles, but we now have four cats and that can be a challenge and a risk, so instead we have opted for wax warmers (ours are from Scentsy but there are other brands and sellers out there), I like the homely scents. We go for apple and cinnamon, or berry pavlova around the main living spaces (lounge and kitchen/dining), and the citrus smells in the bathrooms.
We could also do with some more colour around the house, and less clutter, but we are chipping away at creating our “home” and have plenty of time to figure it all out.
The Benefits of Hygge
I have posted before about how hygge has really taken off, but I can see why. I have always bought furniture for our home that is comfortable and inviting, over something you would expect to see in a display home. Our lounge might be considered to bulky for the space we have, but I like how deep it is that I can lay and sit comfortably with whatever it is I am doing. I read an article last night about how you can create the holiday feel at home by decorating with furniture and homewares you would find in accomodation settings, but that doesn’t feel like home. We like our home to feel relaxing, comfortable and cosy. A place we look forward to relaxing in at the end of the day.
Simple things that make the house feel like a home:
- Comfortable furniture – I find a lot of designer furniture look nice but not so nice to get comfortable on
- Textures – I like having a throw rug nearby especially in winter for warmth, lots of cushions to prop ourselves into comfy positions and rugs that feel good under your bare feet
- Photos and wall hangings – something that personalises the house
- Smells – we like to burn melts to give the house a nice fragrance and open the house up (windows and sliding doors)
- Light – lots of natural light
Home should be a place we want to go to, not the place we run away from. Hubby and I have recently talked about what kind of house we would like to see ourselves in for the future, but I really love our house, we both do, and if we can do all the things to it that we have been talking about I think we will really have created a “home” we can be in until we can no longer climb the stairs. At the end of the day a house is a house, I’m sure we could make any house feel like a home with the right dressing, but this was the house we fought so hard to buy when hubby just finished uni and the bank didn’t take his income into consideration ( not being permanent full-time and the difficulties in getting a loan these days), the house that we could easily pay off early, that we both loved and that was way under the budget the bank had offered to lend us. Is it ever really greener on the other side? We didn’t buy some big house as a token of our accomplishments, we wanted something that was ours, that no one could sell from under us, that had the potential to serve our needs and that we could make our own. Isn’t that all we really need?
We have really enjoyed our “holiday” from work this time around. While we didn’t go away, we have a sense of accomplishment, and had a comfortable rest in our favourite space where we didn’t have to live out of a suitcase, spend hours travelling, come home to a mountain of laundry or feel like we needed a holiday from our holiday before returning to work. It really was a lovely break from the usual hustle and bustle of work, and of what is involved in travel, we really got to spend some quality time together and relax in the space we created for ourselves.