Tips to make a house a home


How do you make a house a home? Do you unpack straight away or prefer to take your time?

Redrow spoke to some of their home buyers about how to make a house a home and sought some stress-free interior design ideas from their in-house expert Alysha Alli to make an instant impact. They also have some excellent tips for settling pets into a new environment. So if you’ve just moved in or you’re planning a move then keep on reading… 


What to unpack first?

Whether you’ve moved in with the help of family and friends or had assistance from a removals firm, you’re likely to be faced with a mountain of boxes on your first day in your new home.

It may seem obvious but packing logically holds the key to unpacking more easily. So make sure you label boxes by room and have an ‘essentials’ box packed with everything you’ll need on that first night – a change of clothes, toiletries, towels, the kettle and some coffee or tea bags.

You can then start to unpack room by room, ideally starting with the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen to ensure you have all of the essentials for your first week in a new home. Remember, you don’t need to do everything straight away. If you’re moving into a new home everything will be clean and ready for your arrival, but you may prefer to do a deep clean of a second-hand home before you unpack too much.

Kerry Kellett (@klk.interiors on Instagram) says: “The first items we unpacked when we moved in were the essential items that we need to keep our home running in the short term; toiletries, necessary paperwork, phone chargers and then mainly kitchen items.”

Others agree that a functioning kitchen was key to enjoying those first days. “My highest priority was the kitchen, the heart of the home. The day we moved in we hosted our first dinner party with a few family members so unpacking the kitchen was a must! The next on our list was the lounge then our master bedroom.” 


Make your bedroom a place of sanctuary

Another number one tip to making your house instantly feel like a home is to make your beds look beautiful. “New bedding and cushions can make those first nights in a new home feel amazing. If you have a comfortable, clean and inviting bed to get into, it can make the stacks of boxes and mountains of clothes and items in the rest of the house feel like a world away. And a good night’s sleep makes the rest of the unpacking, sorting and decorating much more enjoyable!” 


Comfort and a pop of colour

Once those first few days have passed by (possibly in a blur!) and you’re starting to see floor space again, you can really start to make your new property feel homely and think a little longer term by adding key accessories and soft furnishings.

“Refresh your sofa cushions or add new covers over old to instantly add colour and comfort.”

A cosy blanket can make a space more peaceful and inviting, saying “There’s nothing better than a snuggle-worthy throw to make a house feel like a home.” “Soft tranquil touches like scented candles, faux fur blankets, family photos and fresh flowers can instantly make your home a sanctuary and help you to feel settled.”


Satisfy all of the senses with scent

Scent can be a powerful trigger for our emotions and evoke comforting memories. The power of scent can make you feel at home, your favourite fragrance in a reed diffuser, which provides a calming aroma to help you and your family to settle in.


Focus on lighting

While lighting may not feel like the most important factor to get right as soon as you’ve moved in, by prioritising smaller fittings like bedside and table lamps you can soften any space and make it your own. “As you wind down in the evening, calm, ambient lighting will really make your new place feel like home.”

“My favourite part of the day is when it starts to get dark and I light my

another great tip for the bedroom lighting to reduce clutter on bedside tables – fix low hanging lights to the ceiling or wall: “One of my favourite features in our home is our hanging lights next to our bed. I think they completely transform the space. It’s a great way to take up less surface space and add interest.”


Plants, plants and more plants

We love to bring the outside in and add a mix of faux plants throughout our homes, particularly garden rooms and open-plan areas, with dried botanicals being one of the keys trends for this year. “Plants blend the indoors with the outdoors, and give even the smallest of spaces, like our utility rooms, a lift. I love adding herb pots to bring freshness and beautiful aromas to our kitchens, while dried stems make a beautiful addition to a dining table, arranged in on-trend white ceramic vases.”


Tips to help your pets settle in

For our nation of animal lovers, settling a dog into a new home or settling a cat into a new home, can be a worry.

Fortunately, there are some great tips online to help. Cats Protection offers advice from bringing a comforting blanket, bedding and toy with them to transporting their litter tray too, to ensure your pet’s new home smells like their old place.”

Dogs don’t react well to sudden change, according to So keeping your dog well-exercised, asking a friend to watch them on moving day, and keeping old routines in place as much as possible is the answer. They advise that “He has his own space under our stairs but we allow our dog to use every space in the house so he knows it’s his home too. To make him feel at home in the new home I made sure I had his toys, beds and blankets spread around the house.”


Making your house a home long term

Once you’ve been in your new home for a few weeks, you may start thinking about how to style your home longer term, the key to this is “don’t rush!”.

“Make a mood board for each room to plan your colour scheme, wall coverings, paint, furniture and accessories,” she says.

“Paint and wallpaper make a huge difference to your new home. Paint your chosen samples onto paper and pin on the wall in the lightest and the darkest spaces so you can see how the natural light affects the sample. Do the same for wallpaper; attach samples to the walls and drape larger samples over existing furniture or pin to curtains and blinds.”

We hope you’ll enjoy making your house feel like home.




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