I'm almost 30 and I live in New York City — which means I have never owned a home and have moved a lot (like... a lot). This also means that finding easy ways to personalize my home is really important to my sense of well-being and happiness. It's the difference between feeling like I'm coming home each day versus just coming back to "temporary shelter number five." And for someone like me, who actually really values routine and comfort, this is huge.
In a piece for the HuffPost Healthy Living section, psychotherapist Robi Ludwig said, "we need our home environment to be the place where we can take both personal and physical refuge. It is here that we can balance ourselves and our psyches, because our home is the place where we can relax, regroup and reinforce the best part of who we are." And for me at least, this not only means coziness and a relatively organized space, but it also means a place full of little personal touches that make it mine.
If you're an urban-dwelling apartment-hopper like myself, or just feel like your space lacks a personalized feel and are looking to make some adjustments, here are seven tips that should really help.
1. Use Your Wall Space
Home decor author and blogger Laura Putnam recommended using your wall space, or "gallery walls" in a piece on her site about ways to personalize your home. "Gallery walls have become very popular over the last few years. The great thing about them is that pretty much every single one of them is different. I love having family photos or beautiful art hung in frames. I am also not afraid to change it [...] My tastes change, my mood strikes different. A lot of the components are the same or hung on existing elements, but the look is completely different," Putnam said.
2. Use Your Mantels Too
Putnam also highly suggested using mantels in your home for a super personal, seasonal flare. "Either when the mood strikes, for a holiday, or with the seasons – a mantel, tabletop or shelf is an easy way to update your home. For me, I am always changing my mantel. It is one of my favorite ways to freshen things up and make it feel like our home," Putnam said, and added, "It doesn’t have to be complicated or filled with a million things. I usually like to start with one larger item placed either in the center or to one side."
3. Repurpose Old Bottles
I wrote about this in a previous piece about how to reuse old jars and bottles. Old jars are great to use as glasses, candle holders, or flower vases, and give a home a super cozy, DIY feel.
4. Paint Is Your Friend
On the lifestyle blog Living Well, Spending Less, lifestyle blogger and home decor expert Ashley Ann Campbell stressed that a new coat of paint is an instant way to personalize any space. "Whether it is spray paint, porch paint, craft paint or wall paint – nothing can provide an instant makeover and facelift like paint," Campbell said. And according to a piece for HGTV.com by home decor writer Jeannie Matteucci, room color can have a definite affect on our mood and sense of calm.
5. It's All In The Accents
Campbell also said that little details make a huge difference in how personal your space will feel. For example, Campbell recommended tying some ribbon around your curtains for a cute accent. And in a piece for U.S News and World Report about decorating your home economically, finance writer Heather Levin recommended checking, "clearance racks at department stores for lamps, throw pillows, and shower curtains. These types of accessories can quickly change the look of your apartment. Look for gently used items including planters, patio furniture, or brightly colored tablecloths at yard sales. Garage sales often have inexpensive accessories for sale that you can use to personalize your apartment."
6. Use Your Photos
Lifestyle blogger Jeannette Kaplun highly recommended using your personal photos to decorate your living space. "Remember to choose creative ways to display your pictures," Kaplun said. "You might want to have them printed on a canvas, to simulate a painting. I have done this and it is not as expensive as you might think. You simply upload the image, order the size you want, pick a frame (if you want one) and submit payment."
7. Lamp It Up
Levin also recommended using light and light fixtures to add a super unique and personal touch to your home. The feel of a space can instantly be altered by the tone of the light, and a cute lamp or shade is a relatively inexpensive way to let your personality shine through.
Just because you move a lot or know you won't be in a place for too long doesn't mean you can't infuse it with a ton of personal touches that will make you genuinely happy to come home each day. And bonus: You don't have to break the bank to feel majorly good about your space.