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The Best Way to Make Your New House a Home

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This is it — your new house.

The paperwork is signed, the boxes are all lined up and you find yourself face-to-face with the brand-new space you worked so hard to acquire. Here you are, ready to begin a new chapter in your life. But staring at the wide-open rooms and stack of stuff to unpack can leave you less than ecstatic.

Moving into a new house is a big project, and not only is it daunting, but it comes with an extra box of emotions. You might find yourself feeling lonely, homesick, overwhelmed and unable to adjust. Don’t worry — you’re not alone. We’ll help you beat the slump and turn your new house into a home. Try these strategies for getting settled more quickly and comfortably.

1. Unpack the Wardrobe and Essentials

When you’ve hauled all your boxes and possessions inside and you’re ready to start setting everything up, you might be tempted to begin with furniture. Nobody likes an empty room, right? But an empty closet can be even worse.

Think about it — when you’re worn out from all the lifting and placing and rearranging, you’ll want to call it a day. You’ll collapse on your mattress and forget the rest of your boxes for a while. And when you wake up the next morning, you’ll start your daily routine with getting dressed— but you won’t know where your clothes are, or you’ll have to pull them helter-skelter and wrinkled out of different boxes, trying to piece an outfit together.

When you’re feeling displaced, unpacking your personal items first is the best step toward setting up a space that’s yours. Fill your closet with clothing, line up your shoes and organize all your toiletries in the bathroom. When you take care of yourself first, you’ll feel grounded and ready to attack the rest.

2. Put Everything In Place

Once you’ve got yourself in order, it’s time to tackle the empty rooms.

Start with the skeleton first. This means deciding where you want your bed, couches, tables and chairs. Feel free to try out different designs and consider what makes the space special. Do you like to wake up to sunlight streaming onto your face? Position your bed across the room from an east-facing window. Want your living room to feel comfy and cozy? Try arranging your sofas corner-to-corner in an L-shape, rather than across from one another.

When you find the right place for your furniture, you’ll begin to feel like you’re putting down permanent roots.

3. Decorate Your Space

With the basic structure out of the way, you can start to focus on style!

Pull out the lamps, baskets, photos and paintings, and start the process of personalization. Nothing makes a house more homey than adding some self-expression. Hang your favorite artwork or family photos, top your tables with trinkets and ceramics and set up lamps in the best places for lighting.

If you’ve just brought the basics and don’t have much to spice up your space, make a modest decorating plan. Envisioning your home as you want it to look will kick uncertainty to the curb and inspire excitement for the future.

4. Re-Create the Familiar

Home isn’t just about the physical factors —it’s a sensory experience that’s just as much about the sounds and smells as the sights.

If you’re feeling a little homesick as you settle into your new space, think about what’s given you comfort in past places you’ve lived. Are you used to the tapping of a radiator, the ticking of a clock or the hum of traffic outside your window? Hang a wall clock, leave the TV playing or consider a noisemaker to re-create the sounds of home.

If the scent of apple pie or pine brings back memories of your childhood, buy a few scented candles and burn them in your bathroom or on your nightstand to soothe the moving-in jitters. When your house sounds and smells like a home, you’ll start to feel like it’s yours.

5. Give It Life

Studies show keeping indoor plants can boost your mood, reduce your stress level, increase productivity and remove air toxins. If you want your new home to thrive, add a succulent, flower or hanging plant to the family. It’s a natural way to decorate, and it will refresh your mind and your living space.

6. Turn on Some Tunes

Moving in can cause some serious tension. The stress of hauling, planning and settling in day after day can wear on your nerves and your energy. If you’re feeling either high-strung or burned out, relax or rejuvenate by blasting your favorite songs as you unpack. Music can add some fun to mundane or daunting tasks — because when you’re breaking into a boogie as you unstack your Tupperware, you won’t have time to focus on your frustrations.

7. Add Some Color

If you want to add even more personality to your new home, think about changing it up with a new coat of color. Calm yourself with a cool shade of blue, make your kitchen pop with a bright yellow or soothe your senses with a gentle green. You can also try creative combos like painting one wall in an accent color or using a lighter shade for your ceilings and floors.

The right paint palette can set a specific mood, draw your décor together, complement your furniture, and enhance or enlarge your space. And with a personalized paint job, your home won’t just be new — it will be you.

Don't Just Move in — Break It In

Between unpacking your boxes, arranging your furniture, hand-picking your décor and de-stressing with scents and sounds, take some time to use your house for its real purpose — to live in. Kick back on the couch, turn on a movie, craft a home-cooked meal or spend some quality time with loved ones. When you remind yourself what you came here for, you’ll be well on your way to adjustment.

This is your new home, after all.

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