10 simple ways to love your home

Hey awesome friends!

A sweet reader named Jen wrote in recently with this conundrum:

… I love your blog and all your fun and original ideas so much. But I have a problem :  this winter has been a real challenge for me and the kids. I completely related to your post last week on being in survival mode. My house is a mess. I’m covered in laundry. And we’re still waiting for warm weather up here in the north. I’m ready to make our house feel like more of a home. It would make me feel better. I guess was wondering, where on earth do I start with making my home more personal?

I think I have the blahs and don’t really feel motivated to do anything fun. I’m tired of my home looking like everyone else’s. I would appreciate some easy ideas for getting started. Our home is plain jane and I need help on easy places to start! I would appreciate any suggestions.  

MANY thanks – Jen

Basic RGBFirst of all, we’ve all been there. Today I wanted to share a few tips on simple places to start in your home without doing an entire overhaul. Easy things that can motivate you, without turning your home into a total construction zone. So here’s just a few ideas to freshen up, and give it something new. And who knows? Once you make the change and decide you love it, it may inspire you to tackle the entire room!


1. Bring the outdoors in. 

I know. We’ve all heard it dozens of times. But flowers can do wonders for your spirit. I’m so happy when there’s a bouquet in our kitchen. Even if I bought it for myself at the grocery store and shoved it into a vase. Which is usually the case. ;} Plants are an absolute must for any home. And if you don’t have a green thumb? I love a good succulent. Their colors are soothing and soft and they can go for weeks when you forget to water them. Scared you’ll kill everything? Simple touches of nature that are relevant to the season can make a big difference and an easy change.

shoots_of_green_for_springOr in unexpected ways. From twigs to shells, Nature is usually free if not completely affordable and it’s amazing what gathering them will do for your spirit as well as your space.

2. Paint it. 


Go ahead. Get brave. Tackle something that’s been bugging you or needs a facelift. An old tired piece that could do with a good fresh coat of love.

You never know when changing an entire piece will lead to feeling excited about the look of a space! Never tried it before? A good starting point can be found on our site, here.

And walls can be a pain but down with the builder’s beige! It can make a striking difference.

painting_furniture3. The other senses. 

When I’ve had a bad day, if I can just get the kids to help me pick up the house, start a load of laundry and light some candles… I know I’m going to make it. Sometimes even that’s a tall order. So I stick with lighting a candle. When it comes to the home, we tend to focus solely on the sense of sight. Creating a haven for me comes down to making it a true retreat, and a fresh scent can do that. Pick up a new candle the next time you’re at the grocery. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for your feelings!


4. Purge

I know. I just won’t shut up about it already. But really. If it’s just a small drawer. Or sorting through your kid’s clothes he’s outgrown. Ten minutes can make you feel so much better. And if you donate it to a good cause, it’s like a double whammy in the happy department. It’s good for you and you never know what you’ll find, or how you’ll feel about your home once some space is open. It’s freeing and rewarding. Probably one of the best things you can do for yourself.


5. Let them create

And display their gorgeous pieces in unexpected ways. This might be a small project that gets your creative juices going… and it’s all about appreciating the little things, right? My children are the most honest little artists and I’m forever enamored by each stage of their creative development. Why not think of fun ways to display their beautiful pieces? And in turn, make your space amazing.

{Frame from our ebook – Handmade Walls} And PSST because this is oh-so-relevant : don’t miss that big ebook sale, here! An ebook nerd’s dream…}

6. Bring in a new fabric.


I loosely refer to myself as a ‘self-taught seamstress’ and I think it’s fun to create one of a kind looks for our home with simple sewing. I’m by no means an expert at all. But even if it’s a pillow you bought at the store or some curtains you put together, you’ll be amazed at what a fun fresh pattern can do for your space. If you can sew a straight line (and you can even buy a guide for that) you can do curtains. And if you can sew four straight lines on two pieces of fabric and turn them inside out, you can make a pillow. It’s doable. Give it a whirl!


7. Switch out your bedding.

bedroomIt can make the whole room feel brand new. Sometimes, I peruse home discount stores when I’m craving a change because you never know when the world’s most delightful quilt will drop into your lap. You don’t have to spend big bucks to make a huge impact. And I’m pretty sure one can never have enough quilts.

This blue one was for a steal at Home Goods and I added scrap pieces of fabric to make this patchwork lumbar pillow as a crowning touch.

threshold_target1And then we decided to spruce it up a bit this spring with this yellow quilt from Target.

I’m sure it will be something different in a few months.

It’s not a huge investment but it can change the entire feel of a room. Every now and then, it’s like a little happy for your space.

8. Down with the boob lights. 

And the florescent ones. And the bad 80’s concoctions or anything else garish that’s in your home.

vintage_chandlierYes, this one requires a little more elbow grease, but we’ve never been so happy to say goodbye to the fluorescent monstrosities they placed in our builder’s grade home.

From flea markets to online sources and even the local Home Depot, I’ve always got my eye out for a fab new light. I may have what others like to refer to as an unhealthy addiction… And we’re slowly replacing all of them in our builder’s grade home. It’s one of the first thing we did for a major impact.


They almost make as big a difference as painting something! Read our how-to, here. 

9. Let your windows go naked. 


This one is a little bit of a process. But since we took down our plain jane blinds, and replaced each room (slowly but surely) with handmade curtains + a small selection of blinds in the bamboo variety, our home feels open, light, and inviting. This isn’t always the case for everyone but I love to see outside and I love lots of light in my house. We simply close them at night. So take em down! You may be limited and didn’t even realize it… You’ll be amazed.

10. Make the every day feel special


Put your kitchen soaps in fancy bottles.

Bring out the fun linens for an every day meal.

Drink out of the crystal.

What are you saving it for?

We don’t do it all the time… and we may have broken a few in the last few years, but my children adore it when I set the table and make things feel a little more ‘special’ than the usual. Sometimes, I don’t feel quite so survival-ly when I put some mascara on and drink from a pretty glass. And when the chocolate milk is spilled all over the pretty linens… into the washing machine it goes!

Sometimes, said laundry won’t be folded ’til a week later because let’s face it… laundry is exhausting. But it’s clean. They’re happy. And things feel a little brighter in the meantime.


You never know when using what you have to decorate what you already own will bring new life into your spaces. So play around!

These are just a few starting places that motivated us for more. I hope this helps get those creative juices flowing, Jen. Hang in there… you’re not alone + it’s always good to start somewhere small.

What are some simple changes you guys have made that made a big impact without doing a total overhaul? We’d love to hear your inspiring ideas!

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Responses to 10 simple ways to love your home

  1. Nuukaska says:

    Nice list! It´s alvays easier to start with a list! And even when we all know that everyone most have a mess sometimes it helps to hear that you do too :)
    Peer support <3

  2. Jenna says:

    This is perfect. I adore these suggestions & the eye candy! 😀

  3. Jenn says:

    Oh Ashley thank you so much. This list truly is inspiring. I’m excited! Boob lights are coming down!

  4. Alliegh H. says:

    Such inspiring images. You are quite the tablescaper. Is that a word?

  5. kristine says:

    I don’t know which I love more…your ideas or your writings! One thing that never fails to lift my spirits is music playing, whether it’s our kids playing their instruments or Pandora playing random songs in the background! =)

  6. Lynn Bass says:

    Thank you for sharing the LOVE!! Hope your day is SUPER BLESSED!!!

  7. Shannon says:

    Just discovered your blog via the Haven Maven’s facebook group! Your blog is gorgeuous, so glad I found you! :)


  8. Lynn Bruce says:

    I Simply Must Have Those Aqua Teapot Planter Thingies. Like yesterday. WHERE??? Pretty please?

    ps. This post is a blessing shot, a thing of beauty and cheer. My weary heart thanks you.
    ::hands you a virtual cobbler::

  9. Jen says:

    Love this post so so much! Of course, all of the inspirational pictures from around your gorgeous and happy abode really drove it all home. 😀


  10. Sharon says:

    I like to change out my pillows and make new covers for them every season. A little fabric goes a long ways! I also like to rearrange the furniture….that makes everything feel new and fresh.

  11. Fabulous tips Ashley. I love your home so much and any ideas you share are always so welcome!! Thanks for the inspiration:)

  12. Joy says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m terrible about never leaving comments, but I love your blog and am so inspired by your home!!! You and Jones Design Company are my 2 biggest influences on our home haha :) Thanks again for sharing!!

  13. Tanya says:

    Wonderful, simple things we can do to make our homes feel special and pretty! Thank you so much for a great post :)

    xo, Tanya

  14. gina says:

    I went out into the yard with my pruners and cut long straight branches from our flowering trees. Then I brought them in and put them in a simple Target glass cylinder on my hall table. Even though the Boob light is still hanging above them, it makes the hall feel instantly better.

  15. PL says:

    I really enjoyed the entire piece and the images were great. Just want to say thanks for the enjoyment.

  16. I love this post – it’s so true that it’s the little changes like flowers that can make all of the difference to the feel of your home!

  17. Shelli N says:

    And I thought I was the only one to call them ‘boob’ lights! LOL!
    Great post! Love the ideas and pics! Wonderful blog, thanks for the ideas as I to am stuck up in the cold wintery north. I’ll remember this for January!