Five Ways to Make a New House Feel Like Home Before Unpacking

April 23rd, 2018

There is a huge difference between buying a new house and buying a home someone else has lived in. A new house smells like fresh building materials and new grass, every surface is pristine, and there are no lingering little maintenance issues to worry about because you are the very first owner and occupant. Without the subtle signs of being ‘lived-in’, however, new homes can also have a subtly empty and impersonal feel, especially before you unpack.

No matter how excited you are about the house, many new homeowners have trouble feeling like the place is really theirs until they go through some symbolic claiming rituals like sleeping there for the first time or hanging up their collection of family photos. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like home until you fill it with your furniture, but here at Brandywine, we want every new homeowner to feel at home immediately and to help, here are five ways to make your mark on a new home before the first box is unpacked.

1) Bake a pan of cookies
Smell is one of our most powerful senses, hooked strongly to both emotion and memory. One of the reasons new homes are hard to get used to is because they still smell like fresh wood and polish instead of domestic life. The best way to make your home feel right is to make it smell good, and nothing smells more like home than cooking. While you’ll have time to work on your gourmet supper recipes later when all your pots, pans and spices are unpacked, a quick swing by the grocery store can equip you with everything you need for a few pans of deliciously warm cookies. Fill the home with the wafting scent of homemade cookies, and the house will feel like home before you realize it.

2) Plant something in the flower beds
Some people feel strongly about making their mark on a new location to feel like it’s their own. In a used home, the solution might be to repaint the walls or replace a few light fixtures, but in a new home where everything is perfect, you’ve got to get creative. Instead of changing the house, add something to the garden by planting a tree or a line of your favorite flowers in the flower beds. These will grow and bloom as you live here, and every gardening task makes the home more distinctly yours.

3) Let your kids pick their rooms
For many, home is where the heart is, which means anywhere your family and children feel happy feels more like home than anywhere else. If you’re having a hard time feeling like a new home is truly yours, try bringing your children and inviting them to make themselves at home instead. Their enthusiasm, adaptive attitudes and casual debate over who gets which room will fill your new house with the sounds that can make anywhere home to you.

4) Hang up one favorite picture
Unpacking all your wall decorations and choosing the right places for them can take weeks, but if you have one favorite painting, family portrait or even an antique framed mirror that means ‘home’ to you, dig it out of the boxes and hang it somewhere prominent like above the mantel or in your kitchen. This will make your mark on the home and help you see what it will be like when the rest of your furniture and decor is in place.

5) Fill the place with your music
Finally, for some, the thing that makes a house feel like home is the soundscape. An empty house can seem spooky and impersonal but what about one that is humming happily to your favorite tunes? Whether you like classical, rock, country or techno, hook up a pair of speakers to your phone or laptop and fill the house with your favorite music. Dance around as you unpack and get a feel for how your socks slide across the kitchen as you boogie down. You’ll start to feel at home in no time.

Are you looking for a new home in Orange County, Long Beach or the Los Angeles metro area? Brandywine Homes is opening six new communities this year offering a combined 265 single-family homes and townhomes. Click here for more information.

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