We have a design angel on board today. Have you met Amy Matthews? Throughout her career, she has done every home improvement job imaginable, from wielding a sledgehammer, to designing the remodel of a 9000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters, to taking part in the construction of complete home builds. Her shows remain popular because of her willingness to take on any project and break it down for even novices to understand.
Amy has some tips based on her experience with making a house a home; as follows–
How to Make a House a Home
1. Doing Life Together
With our busy lives, carving out time to spend with family is a priority. By including your kids and/or spouse in aspects of basic chores, the family gets time together while getting things done. My 3-year-old son loves throwing in Bounce sheets with the laundry, has his own tools for gardening, and will appear in the kitchen with the vacuum stating, “I’m going to clean now.”
2. A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Morning
Every evening, my husband and I take a few minutes to clean up the kitchen and main room. We keep our Swiffer Sweeper in an easy-to-grab location, so we can do a quick clean of the floors before bed. The next morning, as we start our busy day, it feels like a beautiful home without stress.
3. I Love These Sheets!
If it’s true that we spend almost 30% of our lives sleeping, shouldn’t our bedroom be a sanctuary? Simple things like fluffy pillows, soft ambient lighting and colors that are soothing and relaxing to you, will set the tone for a restful slumber—better yet, a beautiful morning.
4. Endless Scratches
One thing I loved about our house when we first looked to purchase it were the beautiful hardwood floors. I quickly realized that between my son’s toys always have a crash landing and with the dog running to his food bowl, these floors will never be the same. So I learned to love them. This is home. It’s my story and my life.
5. Aaaah, My Couch
No matter if you live in the city, the suburbs, or the country, your home is your retreat. Think about what makes you the happiest when you arrive at home after a busy day, and capitalize on it. Is it your backyard, your living room, your kitchen or your couch? Invest time and energy into what is important to you, so when you arrive home it will always put a smile on your face.
6. Quick Fixes
Giving new life to hardwood floors, cabinets, or furniture that is worn can be less daunting than you think. Pick up some wood putty, wood gel stain, or a wood pen in a color that match the existing wood you are going to fix. Use the putty to fill small slivers or dings in the wood surfaces, and take the gel stain or a wood pen to touch up little areas where the original stain has worn off. You’ve just given your “well-lived” home a quick and inexpensive mini-makeover!
7. I Can Finally Relax
As much as you treasure anything in your life, try to treasure your home. It is where life happens. With all the time I spend traveling, there is nothing better than driving up the driveway knowing I can relax and enjoy my space. If you can’t relax in your space, identify why you can’t, and remedy it immediately!
8. Design for Experience
I believe in designing for experience. Think of a place you visited that you loved – a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, garden or anyplace that was memorable because of the environment. Then, think of ways to recreate that experience in your own home.
9. The Carved Narwhal
From my husband’s carving from his Arctic travels to my wall hangings from my Habitat for Humanity builds around the world, our collection of meaningful objects displayed around our house make it a home.
10. Inspired Design
Decorate your home with things that mean something to you. Personalized design is always more beautiful and interesting than trendy design.
11. Form and Function
Everything in your home should have a form and a function. While you find it beautiful to look at, it should also serve a purpose. Anything else is clutter.
12. Live it Before Renovating it
When moving into a new house, I always encourage people to live in it for a while before renovating anything. This gives you a chance to uncover your family’s natural flow within the space. You will always end up renovating in a more personalized way that truly enhances the way you live.
13. Date Night in Our Backyard
With a toddler, it’s hard for moms and dads to have regular “date nights” out. My husband and I plan our date nights in! I set up the deck to feel like an outdoor patio restaurant/bar. We buy low-cost games, like a bean bag toss and a sand volleyball net, and we set them up in the backyard for summer evening fun. Not only do we save money by not going out, but we make our house our playground.
14. The Blazing Fire
Living in Minnesota, our outdoor thermometer reads 15 degrees for months at a time. We make our house a home by looking forward to the small things in the evening that put a smile on our faces – from building a fire to building a Lego log cabin with my son. When we’re wiped out from our activities, we do a quick clean with Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser for any soot stains from around the fireplace.
More About Amy: Amy inspires people to tackle just about any home improvement task as she hosts shows on HGTV and DIY, including Renovation Raiders, Sweat Equity, Bathroom Renovations, Blog Cabin, and This New House. Amy studied at Boston University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City before she found her passion within the home improvement movement. This passion can be seen not only in her television shows, but also in her work with Habitat for Humanity and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in cities such as New Orleans, Los Angeles, St. Paul, St. Croix Valley, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.