Turn Your House into a Home Within A Year of Moving In

You might have finally found the property of your dreams, but it always takes some work to transform a house into a home.

That said, when you have what seems like a million boxes to unpack and many an important decorating decision to make, it can be a little bit overwhelming. Or rather – a lot.

We’ve asked our friends at Milray Park to put together an action plan that will get your new house feeling like a home in no time.

The First Day

“Our bedroom is often our sanctuary,” says Milray Park Designer April Moore, “so it’s important that it feels like a safe and familiar space during those first few nights in an unfamiliar environment.”

As April demonstrates, a new house can initially feel a little strange and unknown. “Take some time to dress your bed with fresh linen, add your favourite book to your bedside table and your beloved PJs under your pillow! After a busy day of unpacking and moving furniture around, you’ll appreciate having a dreamy bed to retreat to.”

April’s best trick: Burn a candle like warm amber or sandlewood in your bedroom before going to bed to help relax as you settle into your new surroundings.

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A moody bedroom setup by Milray Park Designer Sarah Van Berkel.

The First Week

“Getting your furniture to the right spots may take some time”, continues April. “Until you’re happy with the positioning of your furniture, you won’t be ready to hang your artwork or pictures in their permanent positions. However, artwork is the easiest way to give a room personality, so don’t leave it hidden away for too long! Unpack it, and line it all up together against a blank space, like a hallway or your living room wall. This way, you’ll have a good overview of your decorating materials, and you’re still able to enjoy your pieces before hanging them properly.”

“The key to making your new house feel like a home is to ensure that anything displayed on your walls has personal significance. Don’t hang anything that you don’t love!” adds Milray Park Designer Sarah Van Berkel.

April’s best trick: When displaying your favourite art and collectables, try grouping them by colour to create a more cohesive collection. Natural materials like macrame hangings or naturally dyed fabrics will compliment timber framed artwork to create an organic gallery wall display.

Sarah’s best trick: Framing a selection of photographs is an inexpensive way of adding a personal touch to your home. Try printing photos in a variety of different sizes, alternating between black & white and colour prints or using a collection of different frames to create a fun talking point for family and friends when they come to visit and spot themselves on your wall.

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BEFORE: Erin & Bryson’s living room

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After: Erin & Bryson’s living room by Milray Park Designer Laura Downie.

The First Month

“Once your house starts to look more like your home, it’s time to engage the other senses” says April.

“Scent is a big part of creating an emotional connection to your new place so start with a linen spray to musk up your bed linen, sofa and curtains. Reed diffusers with a scent like fresh gardenia will also be great in smaller rooms like the laundry or bathroom. Finally, larger open plan spaces will benefit from automated room sprays or burning candles.”

“Natural fibres like jute, wool and linen will also add to the tactile experience of your home” April continues. “Swinging your legs out of bed in the morning onto a dense wool rug or curling up on the sofa amongst soft crushed cotton cushions will become positive sensations that you’ll associate with those spaces in your home.”

“One month after moving house is also a good time to start thinking about indoor plants” adds Sarah. “Not only do they look great, but they also improve the air quality inside your home and can contribute to lowering stress levels, so they’re a win-win!”

Sarah’s best trick: Try your hand at creating an indoor oasis by grouping plants at a variety of different heights. This can be achieved by using metal plant stands and macrame pot hangers, as well as placing some plants on the ground. If you’d rather get started with super easy to care for greenery, get your hands on a fiddle leaf fig, monstera plant or devil’s ivy!”

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Before and After: Erin’s new reading nook designed by Milray Park Designer Ellie Bradley.

The First Year

“As you fill your new house with possessions and memories it will begin to take shape as the place you call home,” concludes April. “By then, you will learn how different rooms work in different seasons and for different occasions. Like our taste, our houses are forever evolving, so don’t put pressure on yourself to ever have it feeling complete or finished. If you stick to investing in pieces you truly love and not being afraid to use the colours that bring you joy, you can be confident that your house is now your own unique home.”

April best’s trick: Don’t be too hasty to throw away things that don’t instantly feel harmonious in your home. An antique chest of drawers may not suit your new modern bedroom, but it could look beautiful as a sideboard in the hallway instead. If you’ve got pieces that don’t seem to fit anywhere, then try repurposing them with fresh paint or new hardware to give them a second life. The satisfaction you get from not having to give up something you love will be worth the time spent on finding the right spot for it.

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Chest of drawers repurposed by Milray Park Designer April Moore.

Looking for more interior design tips and tricks?

For more fantastic tips, head over to Milray Park, a platform offering all Australians online access to personalised interior design for one simple flat-fee price. 

Whether you’re looking to pull together the look with just a few finishing touches, or getting started on a full-on transformation, Milray Park provides a tailor-made interior design service with over 50 top interior designers residing in Australia.

They’ve even got a helpful short quiz to get you thinking about your personal decorating style and how they can help bring it to life for your next interiors project.

Special Offer: Start your design project today on the Milray Park eDecorating platform and get $50 credit* to use on Bluethumb artwork with the promo code: BLUETHUMB50.

*Terms & Conditions apply.

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