How to Make Your New House Feel Like a Home

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Home Improvement

Question, a house isn't a home until you add?

A) A Cat

B) A Dog

C) Love Ones

D) Plants 

So, you've got the deed and you're moving into your new house. That's what you call it, because it doesn't feel quite like a home yet. How long does that take? A year? Two years? The truth is it may only be a matter of weeks if you take the right efforts to fix up the place and settle in with style. Here's how to do it.

Have Big Projects Done First
Feeling comfy and cozy is all but impossible when there are major renovations to be done that may leave sections of the house blocked off and covered in sawdust, so get these done first. That includes knocking down walls for an open floorplan, replacing old flooring or remodeling entire kitchens and bathrooms. In fact, it's probably better to have this completed before you move in.

Unless you're an expert yourself, you're going to need a contractor. With prices ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars into the tens-of-thousands, you need to be careful in who you select. For peace of mind, get referrals from friends and neighbors, then follow up by checking the remodeler's credentials and getting references.

Get Your Own Hands Dirty
There are a number of smaller projects that you can handle yourself, so keep those power tools handy during the move. You may want to start with the basics, such as refinishing hardwood floors, setting down new tiles or painting. The latter especially helps with settling in, as you can choose a color that reflects who you are and your sense of style.

Once that's done, why not get artistic? Consider using stones to create a mosaic walkway for your garden or cutting an old door in half to repurpose it as a shelf. When you've built up enough confidence in your skills, you can tackle that gazebo project that you've always wanted.

Add a Bit of Your History
By now, you should have some idea where to place those photographs of your family. Those and other personal items should give you a sense of continuity in your life even though you are someplace new. You'll get the same effect by incorporating heirlooms into the decor, even if they're not the best fit. As designer Phillip Thomas told The Wall Street Journal, "There are times when sentiment trumps everything."

Other items you'll want to put on prominent display to add warmth include old hardcover books and gifts you've received from loved ones. Hopefully, you haven't left your children's art behind, as that can be incorporated in numerous ways that don't involve a refrigerator and some magnets. Collages and wall displays are just a few ways to give it a bit of pep.

Explore the Neighborhood
You need to know where everything is anyway, so you might as well take a drive, bike ride or walk with the family. Things to look out for include the practical, such as banks and grocery stores, as well as the entertaining, like parks, restaurants and bars.

While you're out and about, introduce yourself to the locals and neighbors, but be sure to be courteous. For starters, if someone's quickly entering or leaving their home, they've probably got something to do and don't want to be disturbed. The best tactic may be to knock on their door at a less busy time and say hello. Don't forget to invite them when you...

Throw a Party
It's not only a great way to break the ice with the neighbors, your friends and family will learn the directions to your new dwelling. Besides, the liquor cabinet is still empty, and that could be easily fixed with a BYOB policy. Other ideas include throwing a local culture shindig in which everyone brings a local specialty.

After the party, it's time to clean up, and that's when you know you're really home.

*Answer: E) All the above, of corse!*. Leave me a comment and let me know which one would make your house a home for you.

Happy Home Building!