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Design Thinking
Ideas and Inspiration

Simple Ways to Add Character to Your Home

A house becomes a home when it welcomes you at the end of the day, and reflects your tastes, hobbies and experiences. Giving your home more character does not always have to be super costly. Here are six ways to spruce up your house and make it a home you love.

1. Make Your Entry Way Inviting

Your home's entry way welcomes you and your guests. Most of us have a formal entry, as well as an entry we more commonly use, whether that's a second door, or the door from the garage.

To minimize clutter build up in that much used entry, install hooks for coats, and create cubbies and shelves so that you have a landing space for your mail, keys and paperwork. It's great to have a place here to sit down to take off your shoes/boots. In addition to an organized space being comfortable and inviting, you will spend less time hunting for the car keys and other essentials when it's time to go out.

2. Accessorize With Meaningful Artwork

One option to quickly add more character to your house is to decorate it with personal artworks. How about using your kid's artwork? Drawings or paintings they did in school will always be memorable and will look attractive on your walls.

You can also frame some of your favorite photographs. Maps or professionally taken photos of vacation spots remind you of the fun you had there, as well as adding positively to your home's decor.

Be creative with the frames of your artwork. Shop around for interesting frames that will complement the artwork and show it off. Group them to create collections. Change them from time to time to keep your home's look fresh and new.

3. Enhance Your Home's Street View

Improving your home's curb appeal can often be a matter of painting the trim a different color, or adding window boxes, shutters, or other architectural details.

At the simplest level, give your home's exterior a new and fresh glow by having the grime scrubbed off, and getting rid of clutter. Spruce up landscaping adding some new plants, shrubs, or flowers to add a splash of color. With just a few fix-ups to your home's exterior, you can easily improve everyone's first impression as they drive up.

4. Use Lighting to Add Character

Exterior lighting, such as lights shining up into the trees or on the front of your home can make your home look dramatic at night.

Lighting can make your home feel warm and comfortable. Walk around and scout out any dark corners. They can be made cozy using floor lamps or accent lights. Put mini accent lights above framed family photos or wall art. Evaluate the fixtures that you have; why not update that chandelier over the table in your dining room or that 70's strip light in the bathroom?

5. Add Bookshelves or a Reading Nook

Nothing says home as much as your collection of favorite books! Build a reading nook into a little used corner, or add a window seat.

Place bookshelves at some strategic vantage points in your home, such as in the corners or beside the fireplace. Find a location for a bookcase to house a collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference materials. It's fun to look something up rather than "Google" it.

In our home, we have an ancient copy of the unabridged Webster dictionary on a small bookcase near the dining room table, so we can have "dictionary time" when a word comes up at mealtimes that we want to know more about!

6. Add Architectural Elements

Another inexpensive way to add value as well as beauty and character to your house is molding. Crown molding makes any room look great. Replacing the trim around your doors and windows provides a fresh update. The addition of chair rail and applied molding panels to a dining room gives it a whole new look.

Coffered ceilings give a certain character to a room. You can also use a coffered ceiling to counterbalance the decor of a room.

There are a wide variety of projects that can make a big difference to the character of your home, without requiring you to spend a fortune. In addition to making it a great place to live, these changes may make your home a source of admiration and the envy of your family and friends.

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