You started calling it yours the day you signed those closing documents.
OK, so maybe it was that giddy moment when you first saw its spacious, sunlight-drenched living room. (Make it mine, please!)
But when does a house really become yours?
You didn’t design it. You sure as heck didn’t build it. You’re probably not even the first person to live there.
Whether it’s a 1920s Cape Cod or a new build that’s oh-so-slightly different from the one next door, a house truly becomes your home when you pour your personality into it. The right projects — executed with the right soul-bearing spirit — can leave friends, guests, and (most importantly) yourself saying, “This place is so you!”
Here are 10 ways to get that validation:
#1 Upgrade a Wall With Personalized Materials
Brittany Bailey of the “Pretty Handy Girl” blog was in a rut. She had a room of her own to do her crafting, but the blah atmosphere was uninspiring.
So she built her inspiration right into the walls. Bailey grabbed some wood scraps from previous art projects (could materials get any more personal?), added a little paint and stain, and covered an entire wall with them to create a cozy, personalized, uber-inspiring studio.
“It’s warm, rustic, and isn’t afraid to show its imperfections,” she says. (Just like her, she notes.)
Bonus: A built-in shelf provides space to display her favorite bottles, artwork, and mementos.
#2 Use Your Favorite Pattern in an Unconventional Way
From siding to tile, houses are full of everyday patterns.
But the best way to use a beloved pattern is to break the mold with it. Jillian Rose, a REALTOR® in Austin, Texas, absolutely loves the zigzag look. She’d seen countless herringbone floors in her job, but never a countertop.
So when she planned a kitchen redo, she thought, why not zig where others have zagged? After some staining and sanding, her countertop has a unique antique-y look that happily pulls double duty by hiding dings and scratches.
#3 View Appliances as Opportunities for Expression
Who doesn’t love polka dots?
Just like adorbs puppy videos, they’re instant mood elevators, especially in a room that isn’t known for generating gobs of excitement: the laundry room.
“Polka dots are timeless,” says Ginger Bowie of the blog “GingerSnap Crafts.” “They’re fun, simple, and cute, and I’d like to think I’m those things, too!”
With her handy Silhouette craft cutter, she cranked out sheets of vinyl dots and applied them to her washer and dryer in no time at all.
#4 Build a Murphy Bar to Show Off Your Cocktail Skills
If you live for crafting your own bitters and herb-infused simple syrups, an outdoor cocktail space is a must-have home for your cocktail hobby. With a little creativity, your patio bar can be as quirky as your latest libation Check out this fun and very useful twist on a space-saving Murphy bed, which will say you with every drink you serve.
#5 Paint and Decorate Your Ugly Rain Barrel
When Lara Edge, a homeowner in Athens, Ohio, realized the best place for a rain barrel was going to be in her front yard for all to see, she started hunting for something that wouldn’t be an eyesore.
But the cost was a non-starter. Instead, she bought a cheap, plastic one, then painted it with colorful [she loves to be surrounded by colorful things] depictions of her dog and cockatoo — and even added a few favorite song lyrics.
Instead of an eyesore, now she’s got a focal point of pure personal joy.
#6 Hang an Outdoor Oasis for Your Book- and Nap-Loving Soul
Indoor furniture, outdoor future — when you’re a Bohemian at heart, what’s the diff? Take your dreamy, summertime reading (or napping) habit to the trees with a swinging, outdoor bed.
This easy-to-build bed swing is made from a wooden pallet. Besides making your yard a personalized haven, you won’t get all smushed up and sweaty like you can in a hammock, making you feel more yourself before and after your sunny afternoon snooze.
#7 Upcycle Something You Love Into a Fence
Love the idea of a fence, but want to tamp down the go-away-ish message it sends? Try ditching the boring, white-picket kind and turning your fence into a friendly work of art using upcycled materials that say a little something about you, like this one made of cast-off skis.
Not into snow? Bicycles, wagon wheels, even old license plates are all worthy substitutes. But be careful: A fence that says you just might turn your house into the most popular one on the street.
#8 Turn an Unused Closet Into a Wine 'Cellar'
You are so the kind of amateur sommelier who was born to have their own wine cellar — you just weren’t born with the kind of trust fund necessary to set one up.
But you don’t have to keep your passion in the proverbial closet if you have an actual closet to spare. Check out this aboveground wine “cellar” that can feed your inner oenophile and wow your guests.
It’s easy and cheap to build, and best of all, no cavernous basement expansion necessary! It just goes to show, when you have expensive tastes, there’s often a clever, budget-friendly way for your home to accommodate them.
#9 Create Personalized Features for Your Furriest Family Members
It’s your home, but what’s yours is also your four-legged buddy’s.
When Michael Barber, of St. Louis, started house-training Kenji, his new Shetland sheepdog, he thought typical metal crates were too big — and an eyesore.
So he turned the wasted space under his stairs into a (totally adorable) kennel, going all out with vinyl flooring, a fan, LED lighting, and even a networked camera so he could keep an eye on his furry friend.
“It was probably one of the best projects I’ve ever built,” says Barber. When it’s for your best friend, how could it be anything but?
#10 Express Yourself With an Original Floor
Anyone can paint a wall. But why stop personalizing at the baseboards? A creatively painted floor can make every inch of a space feel truly you. When Jenna LaFevor of the “Rain on a Tin Roof” blog decided to paint her porch floor, she wanted to convey her personality to guests and passersby. “It lets people know that we are fun and don’t take life too seriously,” she says.