• Consider scents! Without often realizing it, our sense of smell has a profound effect on how we process our environments. We associate smells with people, places, and emotions, whether good or bad. In our homes, scents can be one of the biggest influences on and obstacles to our perceptions of home. Start small: put lavender in simmering water on the stove, bring in a favorite natural essential oil diffuser, make a favorite meal. Taking care of some lingering scents from previous tenants may take a bit of work, but it's well worth it. I lived in my current home for almost two years before deciding to pull up one especially offensive carpet. The result was incredible despite the glaring 80s vinyl unearthed beneath. Our home suddenly (finally!) smelled fresh, and began to feel like ours even with though we still had aesthetic issues to work out.
• Bring in a potted plant. Besides working wonders in helping you purify the air in your home, plants can add some much needed life. I will be the first to admit that indoor gardening is not a piece of cake, I have the blackest of all black thumbs. However, even I, plant killer extraordinaire, have managed to maintain a rotating collection of indoor plants — forcing bulbs like amaryllis and paper whites in the late fall and winter, moss terrariums year round, and other occasional successes like potted ferns and spider plants.
For ideas on which plants might be best for your home check out these past posts:
13 Top Air Purifying House Plants
5 Hard To Kill House Plants
5 Overlooked Plants That Can Survive The Dark (Almost)
• Make a meal at home. While holiday parties and festivities tend to draw us out of our homes more often than not this season, we can still carve out a time for a special meal at home. It doesn't have to be dinner. Think brunch or lunch or even tea! Even if you don't have the time or talent for a full fledge meal, making something — a batch of cookies or a loaf of bread — can connect us with our homes and also help in cultivating the homey scents that put us at ease....there's something to that homemade chocolate chip cookie scent theory when it comes to selling a home!
• Create a vignette. Almost all of us have artwork and collectibles scattered around our homes or tucked away. It's putting our favorite things together in a way that's purposeful and visually pleasing that's the hard part. But creating a pleasing visual grouping injects your space with an instant sense of "you."
For tips, check out these posts on How To Create A Visual Vignette and Create a Gorgeous Vignette in 6 Steps!.
• Carve out a favorite restful spot. With a limited budget and limited time, it's easy to become overwhelmed the thought of setting up an entire home. In my current house, I've deliberately decided to take the designing extremely slow— no easy task for a decorator— and while I have daydreams of a home fully furnished to perfection, I've found that my daily sanity benefited greatly once I devoted a weekend to creating a favorite spot. For me, it's one little corner of the living room furnished with a comfy but good-looking armchair, a basket on the floor for books and a throw blanket, a side table big enough for a cup of coffee and a nice lamp, all surrounded by special art and a pleasing view. I make an extra effort to keep it free from household chaos by ridding it regularly of kid's toys, dog hair, and clutter.
For inspiration, check out this post on At Home Escapes: Real-Life Reading Nooks
So while you're laying on the tinsel this weekend, take an hour or two to make your home your own. The post holiday crash will never seem more enjoyable.
Image: Gregory Han House Tour: Sonja's Salon de Silver Lake