making a new house feel like home

We’ve pretty much had moving on the brain over here at Design*Sponge. Just last week, Grace moved from the apartment that she’d lived in for the last five years to a new space in a new neighborhood. And while I completely believe in living in a space for some time before making big purchase decisions, there are a few small things one could use while waiting to figure it all out. I’ve come up with a list of five easy things you can do to make your space feel like home, but I’d love to hear your strategies. — Amy A.

*Just click items in the post images to go directly to their shop pages. We finally learned how to image map the links!

This post is brought to you by Lowe’s. Find inspiration and encouragement as you plan, begin and complete do-it-yourself projects at Lowe’s Home 101.

CLICK HERE for the list of quick ways to make a new house feel like home!

  1. Buy flowers. Just two days after moving in, Grace and I met at a flower shop where she picked up some of her favorites — Juliet roses. If there’s ever a time you should treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers, it’s when everything you own is still in boxes.
  2. Get fresh throw pillows and throws. Throw pillows take a beating, and if you live with pets, kids or a boy, they are sure to show some wear and tear. These are quick and easy to change while you’re deciding which sofa works best in your new living room. It’s also a great way to play around with new colors.
  3. Play with color. While you wait to decide which color will eventually go up on a wall, play with bright, poppy accents to determine the colors that work best for you.
  4. Change the hardware. Changing out the hardware in the kitchen or bathroom is a another easy way to test out colors or just update the look of the space without spending a lot of money.
  5. Hang art. Nail holes can be patched — just get it up on the walls.

We’d love to hear your tips for settling into a new space. We’ve been documenting Grace’s progress in her new home, but we’d love to hear yours, too. If you’ve recently moved, document your progress with your new space and post a link to your Facebook photo album. We’ll share the best transformations later this summer!

Images above, from left: Lisa Bengtsson Baronessa Pillows Blue Print, $75; Kiikku Black Planter, $298

  1. love the sailor squares pillow in the top pic (also love the clickable pictures!)

  2. Love the yellow + white striped cushion and exposed industrial bulb light fixture. Yay for easy decor fixes

  3. Danielle says:

    i love those vertical planters! they look like they could be dog proof…

  4. Ohhh, I so want the ferm Living Remix Blanket – love the colors and pattern!! {And I’m loving the clickable pictures, by the way!!} :)

  5. Hanging art is definitely my number one thing to do…then again we did own a small gallery for 5 yrs…so I may be biased!

    When moving into an older apartment with less than stellar cupboards I also like to put in new liners…just freshens everything up!

    1. amya says:

      oooh! Angie, you’re totally right! New liners! That’s something that my mom always does. Great tip! – AmyA

  6. ALSO:
    this whole clicking right on the image thing is DANGEROUS! For my credit card at least…:)

  7. angie g. says:

    i lean art work around the walls until i work out the furniture layout. then i have pretty things around but they are not set in stone. and rugs have helped instantly brighten past spaces and can be changed easily! enjoy your new space grace!

  8. Camila says:

    Beautiful finds. I totally agree with fresh flowers. I love picking up two dozen bunches of any sort of sale flower at my local market and sprinkling them in my milk glass vases around my house.

  9. Aimée M says:

    We got the keys to our new place on Friday and are now moved in and surrounded by boxes, so this article is so apt for me!

    One thing I have unpacked already is the vases and you guys have inspired me to head to the florist on my way home :D

  10. db says:

    Oh, stunning pendant lamp slash mobile, and all of these pillows — eeps !
    I concur clickable photos are so very dangerous (yet great!)

  11. Taylor says:

    Before the jump, I cannot click on the images! email me if you need more details about it.

    But it works fine AFTER the jump! Love it!! :)

    1. grace says:


      can you tell me what happens? does it not open a window or does it not let you click anything at all?

      also, what browser (and version) are you using?


  12. Megan Biram says:

    Grace, I’m moving to DC next week (from Kansas City) so I’m in sync with you on the moving thing! Can’t turn my brain off!

    1. grace says:

      good luck with your move, megan! :)

  13. April says:

    I love the imagemaps! Much easier than having to hunt down which images goes with with link. I also love the first pillow cover in the first image, but sadly, not at $47 (pillow not included)!

  14. Karin says:

    My mom always told me to bake bread or cookies or to put a pot of spiced cider on the stove to make it smell home-y.

  15. Hanging artwork instantly warms up a home…

  16. Sending this post over to my best friend that’s about to move into a new home.

    That bouquet of anemones, garden roses and peonies is beautiful. I might have to stop by my flower shop on the way home :)

  17. Holly says:

    Loving this post Grace and Amy, thanks so much!

  18. kim says:

    I really feel at home when I’ve put up my grandmothers kitchen utensil rack :) Makes the space ‘mine’. Same with artwork, but that usually takes me a bit longer to find the perfect spot for everything.

  19. Loving all the color in this collection! Great post.

  20. C says:

    Timely post! We just moved a week ago and it already feels like we’ve been there for years. Everyone who’s visited has said the same thing. We actually had a vase of flowers in the house before anything else, and the previous owners left hooks on the walls so the wallhangings have a home (even if it’s teporary and not exactly where we want it).

    Ultimately, though, I think it comes down to how enthusiastic you are about getting the house set up to live in. Last week we were up until 1 or 2 every night, simply because we couldn’t sleep knowing there were things left to unpack and arrange and organize in our wonderful new home. Some people are such slow unpackers, and I think they just get used to having all those boxes around.

    Megan– weird coincidence but the previous owners of our house in DC just moved to Kansas City. Welcome!

  21. rachel says:

    Is it just me or is the floral knob from anthropologie (first group) a total ripoff of this woman’s work on etsy?

    I realize this is different in that it is a knob but it still makes me uncomfortable!

  22. EngineerChic says:

    Actually, I think the ring on Etsy is beautiful but the knob from Athropologie is … well it isn’t beautiful ;) I’m trying to be nicer so I won’t say what I really think about it :)

  23. Jenny says:

    The links don’t work for me either. I am on the mobile site on iPod touch. I would go to full site but it loops me back to mobile. And I’m curios about that first pillow. :)

  24. Victoria says:

    I’m in love with the Splash Pillow Case :0)

  25. amya says:

    Hi Jenny – So sorry it didn’t work on your iPod touch. We’re looking into it. Here’s the link to the first pillow
    Thanks! -Amy

  26. Christina says:

    Whoa image mapping! Pretty cool, girls. Although I do kind of miss having the pricing listed. That was always a convenient way of stopping me from clicking on too many of the products, haha.

  27. We’ve been in our first home for a year and we still have very, very little on the walls! What am I waiting for? Inspiration I suppose – I’m hoping this article does the trick!

  28. Casey says:

    I’m moving this weekend and I can’t wait to get everything unpacked! For me, a new place feels more like home after I’ve put curtains up. I have a few sets that I’ve kept with me through a few moves, and even if they aren’t perfect for the space, hang them to help warm-up the space. That way, the rod is already there, alll I need to do is switch out the panels! Art on the wall is great, too, but I have trouble committing before everything is unpacked.

  29. Nicole says:

    Throw a party! Nothing makes a new place feel like home when you have it filled with friends, flowers and music. Plus it forces you to get everything out of the boxes.

  30. jamie says:

    I agree on the image mapping – it’s nice, but I’d still like to see the prices listed so I don’t have to click on every image

  31. Elli D. says:

    Great ideas! I’d also go with some artwork, but don’t forget about flowers and plants – they’re the key to making your home full of life!

  32. Lara says:

    Aw, such a great post. I’ve just moved too and I wholeheartedly agree with getting fresh flowers in and artwork up on walls. Instant pick-me-ups!

  33. Cathleen says:

    I love love LOVE that western-style pillow in the 2nd image above the yellow stripe pillow. Please let us know where you found it!!

  34. Brittany says:

    I LOVE that triangle blanket! Definitely something to save for, but so worth it!

  35. The first thing I did when I moved was to put my favorite linens, blankets and pillows on my bed. I also set up and organized my nightstand! It just felt instantly comfortable and liveable while I messed with all of my boxes!

  36. Marla says:

    Great post! I live outside of Richmond and my lease is up in June, so I’ve been researching gorgeous lofts in downtown Richmond. Super psyched to move! These tips will definitely help me out. :)

  37. Belly B says:

    I think lots of blankets and pillows will work instantly. And photo frames :)

  38. We’re in the process of moving, now. We’re owned our house for five months and have been doing lots of work getting ready for move-in. Here’s the link to my photo album documenting our progress so far!

  39. KS says:

    The clock and the flower design seems awesome !

  40. KK says:

    This is a wonderful idea for my new built room , iam gonna decorate it your way! share pics soon!


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