When we moved into our smaller house, I knew I wanted a home. Not a perfectly decorated, Pinterest-worthy house but a home that was cozy and unique to our family. And of course, since we were flat broke at the time I also wanted to do it on a budget. Plus, I was determined to create a unique space that showed the world exactly who our family was and where our values were. I no longer wanted a home that looked like it fell right out of an HGTV show.
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Designing your own minimalist life
I am a big believer in creating a minimalist lifestyle that feels unique to you in every aspect. If you are just getting started on your minimalist journey, come join my FREE 10 Day Minimalist (Un)Challenge to get ideas on how to simplify every area of your life from your home, to your schedule to your money!
Know the difference between cozy and cluttered
First of all, let’s clear something up. There is a big difference between cozy and cluttered. When I was younger I felt obligated to fill every shelf, have thousands of throw pillows, and all-around over-style.
It wasn’t until we went through selling 2 houses in 3 years that I learned to really love finding coziness in simplicity.
Think about houses during the staging process of selling. They are clean, open, and really cozy and welcoming.
Cozy doesn’t have to mean that you fill every nook and cranny with books, blankets and all things plush and fuzzy. Instead it means choosing the things that bring you the most joy and allowing them to shine by not over-crowding them.
Focus on your favorites
The best place to start when creating a home that is unique to you and your style is by looking at the items that are you absolute favorite.
Maybe that’s a piece of furniture, a blanket or (like me) a table lamp that looks like a frog.
When you go from room to room decide on your must-keep favorites. This makes it a lot easier to build a space around those items.
Taking the time to focus on your favorite things can also help shed a light on the things that are your not-so-favorite. The things you held onto for too long or that you keep out of obligation.
In order to truly show the world your unique style, allow your favorite pieces to shine bright, and let go of any obligation or need you have to hang onto items that don’t fit the bill.
Display art unique to you
So often people head to Target or Kohls to find new wall hangings or paintings. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have an IKEA photo in our dining room. However, what I encourage you to do is get a little original with your art.
For example, we have pretty white frames hanging on our walls with some of our children’s artwork in them. This way we’re not cluttering the fridge with paintings and crayons and instead showing our kids how much we care by proudly displaying our favorite drawings of theirs.
Refurbish what you have
Instead of shopping around for new furniture try giving your old stuff a new spin with some fresh paint.
The refurbishing paint kits I recommend are either Annie Sloan or Rustoelum’s Cabinet Transformation. I have refinished parts of our home with both of these things and let me tell you if I can do it, anyone can!
Opt for heirlooms instead of knick knacks
Instead of picking up a brand new decor item that is designed to look worn and vintage, why not look into what your family already has in store.
You’d be surprised what grandparents and parents hang onto (for way too long). In our home, we have vintage cameras, vintage flour, and sugar canisters, and my grandma’s old mirror. (Oh, and that frog lamp was hers too.)
There is so much uniqueness in old items, especially if they are coming from your family.
Shop thrifty instead of trendy
Maybe you can’t get your hands on any family heirlooms. Still, take the time to browse thrift stores for inspiration before scrolling the internet or pacing the aisles of Target.
Most things we see online or in stores are designed to make us want them. At a thrift store, you really know an item speaks to you when it stands out above everything else!
Display natural photos vs. posed
I kind of gave this idea away already, but instead of the typical family happy in a field, why not try that time your son smashed cupcake on his face? How about that photo where you’re laughing so hard you almost peed your pans?
Those images are the real you. They tell the story of your real life. Why not display them in your home to give it a more unique feel than anything else possibly could? There is a lot of beauty to be found in natural photographs.
Get pallet inspiration
Are you one of the millions of people who feel nervous about color? I get it. I think that’s why I tend to gravitate toward all white. Mixing color schemes can be a nerve wracking thing.
That’s why I say take your favorite items and build your home around them. Browse Pinterest for color schemes that match them so you can get inspired on how to better fill your space.
You can even just upload a photo of your current couch, comforter, or curtains to a website called Canva (it’s a graphic design website) and it will give you a color pallet based on the photo that you upload!
Let everyone have a say
If you are living with a partner or kids, let them have a say in the space. Especially the kids with their own bedrooms.
I think there is always a serious struggle with letting go of the desire to have a kid’s bedroom look perfect and polished. Call me crazy, but that’s a pretty unrealistic expectation.
I’m not saying you need to give them total rein. Maybe it means letting them choose their bedding, their wall color or both.
If you are going to create a cozy home that is unique, then make sure it’s unique to all of those who live in it.
Create a savings plan for upgrades
There will always be times when we want to make changes to our house that take a little more time and money. If you have major upgrades you are wanting to make, then make sure you are saving for those upgrades starting right now!
If you know the cost of the project and a deadline you want to have it done by, take the total cost divided by the number of months before you want it done and you will have your monthly savings goal! Voila!
My biggest encouragement would be to automate your savings goal. We automatically save to several savings accounts through CapitalOne360 and I highly recommend them!
At the end of the day, remember, your home is your sanctuary. It should be all about you.