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Revealed: How to Make a House a Home

Have you recently moved into a new house? Our survey reveals how long it takes for a house to feel like 'yours', and the small things you can do to appreciate your space and make your house feel like a home.
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Make your new house feel like home

It’s a big moment when you finally move into a new home. After months of searching, organising, packing and planning, everything falls into place and you’re standing in your new house surrounded by boxes of your belongings.

Moving house is not just a practical change – it’s a big emotional upheaval too. We are in a new house, but we are not at home. At least, it doesn’t always feel like home straight away.

That got us thinking – what does it mean to be ‘at home’? How long does it take for a house to really feel like home, and what can we do to get that feeling faster? To find out, we surveyed 2,000 homeowners in the UK to find out when their place felt like their own, and what things, big and little, made the difference.

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Almost half of homeowners take 11 weeks to unpack belongings

The study showed that 80% of homeowners felt it was important to make their house a home when they moved in. And many of our respondents told a similar tale – a new house doesn’t always feel like home right away. While a third of people said their house felt like their home after the first night of sleeping there, most said it took them more time.

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Almost half of homeowners in the study said they didn’t really feel at home until they’d finished unpacking all of their belongings, which they said took an average of 11 weeks. That’s almost three months of living somewhere that doesn’t really feel like yours!

30% of people also told us that it took them longer than they’d imagined to really feel at home in their new house. That’s why it’s so important to be patient when you get the keys – the feeling can take time but it always comes in the end.

Feeling at home is about emotional connection

When we asked our homeowners what really made them feel at home, it was the little things that made the difference. Family photos, a bookshelf filled with books, having a ‘place’ on the sofa and being able to sleep in their ‘own’ bed were all top causes for making a house into a home.

Children’s paintings on the wall, shoes by the front door and fridge magnets are also some of the little things which complete a place, and it’s no wonder these things take more time.

These are the top 10 things that made a house into a home:

  1. Sleeping in 'my own' bed
  2. Family photos
  3. A 'place' on the sofa
  4. Memories made in the home
  5. A fridge full of food
  6. A bookshelf filled with my books
  7. The smell of freshly cooked food
  8. Freshly washed bedsheets
  9. The location of the house
  10. Natural light
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The living room is voted the most homely space in a new house

The living room was found to be the top space which homeowners wanted to make feel homely, followed by the bedroom and the kitchen. Decorating everything properly and getting new furniture were the two big factors in making a house more like a home.

Having a place on the sofa was one of the top three homely triggers, and we know how great it feels to have the right sofa for all the family. Making sure there’s space for everyone means corner sofas are always popular with families moving house. Then you just need to agree who is sitting where, and your home will instantly feel more like your own!

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To help find the best sofa, try our sofa buying guide and sofa sizer tool, to ensure you can find the perfect fit for your home.

The bed is key to making a house a home

According to the survey, getting the bedroom to feel homely made a big difference to the house. Having furniture which actually feels like ‘yours’ is clearly important, especially the bed, which ranks even higher than having family photos on display.

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When it comes to the bedroom, it took an average of three months for people to make it feel like ‘theirs’, with more than a quarter of people purchasing a new bed for their new house. Finding the right bed helps you sleep better, which makes everything else feel a little easier! Read our detailed bed buying guide to help you find the right one. Adding a new mattress will ensure it feels comfortable and helps with a good night’s sleep too.

The bedroom is a popular space for homely touches, including a bedside table containing everything you need, a wardrobe filled with clothes and a freshly made bed. Almost half of our respondents said they wanted to add cushions and pillows to the bed to make it feel more homely. A quarter of master bedrooms also feature a TV, and one in six have a bookshelf that features aspects of their personality and hobbies.

Over half of homeowners feel their home represents their personality

The study also revealed how much people want to make their homes represent them and their personalities. This was a key driver in helping it feel like home. More than a third said they already had an idea of how to make their house feel like ‘theirs’ when they moved in.

And almost 60% of people said their home represents parts of their personality throughout. For inspiration, many looked on social media for interiors and furniture photos, while a quarter browsed furniture stores to see what would suit them, and a fifth were influenced by looking around their friends’ houses.

Making your house feel like a home is about putting your own unique stamp on it, surrounding yourself with what you’re comfortable with and what’s familiar to you – from those family photos to your favourite bedding.

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Once you’ve unpacked the last cardboard box you can give a huge sigh of relief, snuggle down on your special space on the sofa and start to finally settle in, feeling you’re just where you belong. It may take a little while to get there, but it’s well worth the effort. There’s no place like home.

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