Your home is more than just a shelter. It is the place where you relax and refresh after a hard day at work. It is the place you share with family and friends and create memories for a lifetime. In addition to being comfortable and providing for the basic activities of life, it should be an inviting and pleasing space that reflects the personal style of the people who live there. Consider these ideas for customizing your home to fit your personality.
The easiest way to imprint your style onto your surroundings is with paint. It is inexpensive and most people can do the job themselves. Home repair and hardware stores carry a nearly infinite selection of colors and all the tools you will need. Wallpaper is more expensive and requires some skill to apply, but will make a dramatic difference, adding texture as well as color. For even more detail and dimension, use molding, and not just on the ceiling. Create a chair or picture rail, or frame out wall sections with molding, painted in contrasting or coordinating colors.
Personalize how you use your space. Make the room do what you want it to, not what the floor plan indicates. If you seldom have guests for dinner parties, use the dining room as an office or sewing and craft room. If all you do in your bedroom is sleep and change clothes, consider putting your bed in a smaller room and turn the master bedroom into a large guest room or a home theater. Don’t hesitate to put the washer and dryer in a bathroom if space permits; it may be more convenient than a laundry room in the basement or off the kitchen. Closing in a porch or patio can add indoor living space to a small home in need of more rooms. Walls, unless they are load-bearing, can be easily taken out to open up space. Even supporting walls can be removed so long as beams, columns or some other bracing structure is put into place.
Adding or removing doors, either interior or exterior, is a relatively easy change to make and can completely alter the feel and function of a room. Closing off a superfluous door will add wall space and cut down on drafts. Replacing traditional doors with French windows lets in light and makes a room seem larger.
Windows readily lend themselves to customization in a number of ways. Existing windows can be replaced with a different style, such as a bay window or greenhouse window. Change out drapes, blinds and other treatments with the seasons. For a more permanent and striking change, etched glass in freeform or geometric patterns lends personality and privacy with no loss of light.
Make up for lack of desired features with furniture. A den or small family room with no closet space can become a bedroom by adding an armoire and large dresser. If your home does not have a built-in fireplace, consider installing a factory-built firebox for cheery warmth, soft light and romantic ambience. A few assemble-it-yourself free-standing cupboards will turn any space into a functional pantry.
Accessories should always be a reflection of your interests, hobbies and travels. Art of all types, rugs, mirrors, collectible pieces and wall hangings are the most personal touches your home will have. If you have talent, such as drawing, photography or sewing, include pieces of your own creation. Your own one-of-a-kind objects say ‘me’ like nothing else. But no matter where it came from, if you love it, if it means something to you, give it a prominent place in your home.
When customizing your home, be willing to experiment and take risks. Skip the conventional and go for unique, exceptional and intensely personal. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is if you love it.