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Create that homey feeling in your new home – AGAIN & AGAIN

Finally, your NEW house felt like home but suddenly you have to pack it up, ship it and unpack it in a completely different setting. What will fit and how can you RECREATE that homey feeling time after time?

By Lene Arlund, architect and interior designer

As an expat on the move, you know that recreating your safe haven is important both to your feeling of well-being and for the whole family to be able to settle in quickly in the new environment.

But how can you actually combine your home furnishings in a new environment and create something recognisable?

An important tip is not to buy too many new things. If you want to settle in really quickly, only buy things that you really need for your new home. Research shows that it is the furniture and other personal items, which your brain recognises, that are the pieces most needed to recreate that homey feeling in your new home.

A good foundation is key

It is always good to have the right base to start out with – this means good quality and well designed furniture (and lighting) that fit together. You do not need to have a lot, however, having some key high quality pieces will secure you the foundation for the furnishing of your home(s) – for a long time.

The trick is that if the pieces have a good match, and really fit well together, then they will most likely easily fit into any type of home – whatever the style:modern, classic or more country in its feeling.

Modern furniture, of course, is perfect for a modern home, but it also creates an interesting style in a classic house. Likewise a more classic furniture style is interesting in a modern building.

What is key for the interior decoration is that you have a clear connection between your furniture – that you style them to match with each other.

When you have this clear connection, you can also add a few new things in a different style to create a little tension in the interior, just so it does not become too predictable. For example, antiques in a modern interior, or modern lamps and other modern items in a classic interior.

To ensure that your home furnishing fits well into almost any type of architecture, be careful not to buy bulky or very big items. Simply because you might run out of space if you move into a home smaller than your former one, or one where the rooms are shaped differently.

A big room does not necessarily need a lot of big pieces – it’s OK to leave space around them, so if your furniture fits into a smaller room, it will also fit in a larger one.

Recreate a particular colour

Another way to create a ‘homey’ feeling is to repeat a wall colour that you have successfully had in your former home. It might be necessary to lighten it a bit or to make it a bit dustier, or in other ways adjust it to the new place depending on the shape of the room (is it smaller, bigger or narrower) in order for it to look right. This kind of slight adjustment won’t take the recognition away, but will leave you with a feeling of being at home.

If you are not allowed to paint the whole house, you might get away with just painting one surface. This can then easily be painted back to its original colour when you have to leave again.

Pictures and artefacts

Of course we all love art items that we have collected and consider our personal pieces. We can remember when we bought them, what mood we were in, whom we bought them with. If you can bring your art pieces with you, they are a very powerful and personal way of creating that homey feeling. Again the brain recognises them.

Also your collection of paintings and sculptures are one-piece artefacts, which only you have. So this is a great way to create your very own surroundings, to put your personal mark so to speak,  made by items that you have hand picked and love.

If you do not have an art collection yet, consider using framed photos of people, places and events important to you. Put them up in groups on the walls and use the entrance or the hallway to welcome you every time you return to your new home.

Likewise frame your children’s nicest drawings and hang them in the kitchen, or in another room, a room you use a great deal, so that you see them all the time.

Both private photos and children’s drawings look much nicer if you frame them in similar frames. Preferably in frames larger than the picture and with a passe par tout. A good tip is to hang them in groups together rather than on their own.