Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Making a House a Home

My Grandpa e-mailed this article to me. I loved it so much, I had to share it with the blog world. Enjoy!

44 things that make a house a home
By Elizabeth Bettendorf
Published January 26, 2007

I turn 45 at the end of this month, and to celebrate growing older, I've decided to make a list of some essential things I've learned in the past four years covering homes. They're in no particular order, but they offer a few gems about how to make a house a sanctuary - a refuge that nourishes both the senses and the soul.

1 Declutter, but not so much that your home feels like a real estate open house.

2 Surround yourself with things that have sentimental value. In 20 years, your grandmother's claw-foot side table will mean more than a stack of glass nesting cubes from a furniture chain store.

3 Have a collection and display it. Those vintage postcards, 1950s aluminum coffee pots or antique fountain pens give your home a sense of identity.

4 Use your silver flatware, wedding china and antique French linen pillow shams. If you don't, someone else will; quite possibly a stranger who buys them in an antique store long after you're gone.

5 If it's one-of-a-kind treasure at a far-from-home place, buy it. You'll be sorry if you don't.

6 Surround yourself with the color you love. Hot pink? Over 40? Who cares!

7 Don't buy art to match the sofa - buy it because you connect with it.

8 Break down cleaning chores and do one or two every day - that way your house will always look guest-ready.

9 Don't be lamp poor. Invest in lamps that are both beautiful and fun. Nothing warms a house more.

10 A feather bed atop an ordinary mattress makes for sweet dreams.

11 If you hate making the bed, buy a duvet. When you get up in the morning, all you have to do is smooth out the wrinkles.

12 Keep your palette neutral and bring in color through throw pillows, art, rugs and accessories. That way, if your mood changes, it's easy to change your decor.

13 White towels are the best because they make your bathroom look like a spa, and a little bleach keeps them looking fresh.

14 It's okay to have one messy closet. More than one is a problem.

15 Lots of books add coziness to a house.

16 Light a candle every night.

17 Don't hang your art too high. Eye level is usually perfect.

18 Round dining tables are conducive to the best conversation.

19 The best cooks don't always have the fanciest kitchens.

20 A beautiful fountain or pond - no matter how small - can turn the most humble yard into a place of beauty.

21 It's okay to eat dinner at the cocktail table. Most of us do.

22 Creating a comfortable outdoor seating area gives you more living space - and feels like a luxury in Florida in the winter.

23 When house guests visit, always have things on hand to make them feel loved: fluffy towels, candles, good coffee, a few good magazines in the guest room.

24 A pot of soup simmering on the stove, a roast in the oven, oatmeal cookies cooling on the counter. These things smell much more like home than plug-in oils or room fresheners.

25 Grandma was right: It really does take a heap of living to make a house a home.

26 A good view can make up for almost anything.

27 If you don't have the money to remodel right, sometimes leaving the original fixtures or cabinets looks better than a cheap job.

28 Grow fresh herbs in the garden.

29 Even an ordinary rental apartment can look like a million-dollar condo with some planning and style.

30 Smaller, more reasonably sized homes tend to be the most inviting. Come on now, does anyone really need 15,000 square feet?

31 Xeriscape.


32 Little white lights might be a cliche, but they really do look great all year long.

33 Hang blue willow plates on a yellow wall.

34 Charleston-style courtyards look lovely in Florida, too.

35 The best children's bedrooms aren't cutesy.

36 A Barcelona chair or other design classic always looks in-style. So does a good Oriental rug.

37 There is no substitute for a great, architect-designed house.

38 A skilled interior designer or decorator can make all the difference in the world - especially if you're design-challenged.

39 Dogs and kids feel good in a house.

40 Hang a chandelier in the garden. Burn candles in it at night.

41 A beautiful, imaginative tree house for grownups (depending on zoning and neighbors) is the next best thing to being Peter Pan.

42 Nothing offers more comfort on a chilly night than a fire in the fireplace.

43 Money doesn't buy good taste.

44 Make your home your bliss. Spend time in it, enjoy it, be thankful.


  1. Laura,
    You and Daniel look so happy! I am so excited for you both. Hope many happy memories are made in your very first home!!

  2. Yay...Picture! Can't wait to see you two, in the flesh, in the comfort of your own home! Zeus and Zoey will be in doggy heaven, and you are happy home owners. All this before your first anniversary! Whoa! Way to go you two!
    xoxox Mom/Susie/Sush *any other names I would prefer not knowing...