From flowerbeds to lawns; from individual rooms to open plan; from large bay windows to small skylights; and from patios to conservatories; each house is different and when you are renting, as we are, making you house into a home takes a bit of extra planning and artistic license.
When we moved to Watford we massively downsized due to the much higher rent in this area. That has meant we've needed to get creative when it comes to fitting everything in. Despite selling, donating and recycling a considerable number of items, we still have quite a lot that doesn't seem to fit! However, we're almost there now; even if it feels like there is still a lot to do.
Thankfully, as we have unpacked, and put our furniture together, the house has started to feel like home, and here are just a few ways we've made that happen.
Inside the House
A little hint of us
One of the easiest ways to make a house that you rent your own is to put up some photos or frames that have a special meaning to you and your family. In our case we have put up some of John's great-grandad's amazing paintings that he was fortunate enough to inherit.
Although we are allowed to put up a "reasonable number" (whatever that means!) of frames on the walls, we don't want to over do it, as we have to fill and paint over them. In our bedroom we have simply gone for free standing frames, which still add memories to the decor without making too much extra work for us when we leave.
Adding a splash of colour
I love flowers, so any excuse to have them around is good by me! Flowers come in such an amazing array of colours, and they bring life and light to a room. I always feel that flowers are a cheerful addition to your home, and having a vase (or two!) around the house is sure to cheer me up and help it feel like home; even if we're still living out of boxes and they're cheap bunches from Aldi!
Making a small room feel bigger
Downsizing has meant that where we had big, open spaces we now have to utilise smaller rooms with the same furniture, so we have tried to find different ways to make the rooms feel bigger (even if they're not!)
Hanging things high up
Having the beautiful photos from our professional photoshoot eight or so years ago hung close to the ceiling draws your eye upwards, giving the illusion of a taller room. The same applies to the Snapfish canvas photos from Squidgy's newborn photoshoot taken by my brother Joshua Earle Photography. They are hung high along the wall at the top of our stairs. Luckily for us the hooks were already in place, all we had to do was choose which ones to hang.
Using light colours to decorate
Fortunately for us most of out furniture is light beech colours but using throws, curtains, cushions and more in light, neutral colours does wonders when it comes to making a room feel light and airy rather than dark and enclosed.
Creating our own spaces
Each of us needs somewhere that we can call our own and put our stamp on, especially the girls. With a smaller space I didn't really want tonnes of toys scattered around my front room, so as they share a room the "box room" that they somehow consider a third bedroom (pretty sure you couldnt fit a bed in it...) has become their playroom.
John and I tend to share the spaces we have, so our bedroom, kitchen and living room all have a touch of each of us throughout. If you ask John though I'm pretty sure he will tell you that it's mostly me and he just lives here!
In the Garden
Add in some fake grass
his may not be for everyone but it has worked fabulously for us. Essentially we didn't want the girls to be sliding down the slide (or falling) onto the concrete when they were outside playing, children are clumsy enough without adding the bumps and scrapes the garden patio would cause. Popping down some artificial turf we found on sale at B&M is a low maintenance and cheap way we've made our garden safer.
Garden toys for playing in the sun
I have always found the best place for my girls to be is the garden, especially when the weather is nice (and with this heat wave it's been beautifully sunny for weeks!) As good as it is to get outside, it's even better if they have something to entertain them in your own garden rather than having to go out all the time. My girls are fortunate enough to have a variety of garden toys from their Little Tikes car to the slide and playhouse!
Moving is stressful, at every stage, but the unpacking has been the longest part. John is working all hours and is usually too tired to help out by the time he gets home. Of course even if the unpacking is left to me, it doesn't mean life stops in order for it to get done. Washing, cooking and cleaning alongside making sure our girls are entertained, fed, bathed and don't break anything or argue (too much) also has to continue.
This makes taking time out for a break so important, and little comforts like a big cup of cocoa and a book are great for taking a break (although maybe a cold glass of juice is better in this heat wave at the moment!) Using my favourite mug always makes me feel at home.
With thanks to Three Counties Ltd for giving me the inspiration to write about my new home, and share my tips with all my readers! All photos are copyright property of Me Becoming Mum.