There’s no sugar-coating it: Moving is stressful. As if packing your entire life into boxes wasn’t exhausting enough, you also have to deal with the overwhelm of unpacking and setting everything up in an unfamiliar place. Plus, once you get all your furniture and belongings there in one piece, there’s also the not-insignificant task of making that new place feel like home. You don’t necessarily need to have every room fully outfitted and decorated right away, but a few small touches can go a long way in making you feel at home when you first move into a new space.
Whether you’re scrambling in preparation for a housewarming party or you just want to make your new house feel homey as soon as possible, here’s what to do when you move into a new home to help you feel settled (even if you’re not quite finished unpacking yet).
1. Hang some wall decor
This is my #1 tip when you move into a new home: Put something on the walls. Whether it’s a framed family photo, a mirror, or some artwork you brought from your old place, don’t wait to hang up wall decor. Even if it won’t necessarily stay there permanently, it’ll give you something else to look at besides blank walls, which can feel barren and impersonal. If you don’t love the look of your current art collection—or you’re starting from scratch—printing your own art using stock photography or downloadable printables from Etsy is one of the easiest hacks for affordable wall art. Pop the prints into inexpensive frames (thrift stores and IKEA are both great sources) and you’re good to go!
2. Put up new curtains
Your new place may already come equipped with basic blinds or window shades, but curtains are a must to make a room truly feel finished. This is also a great way to infuse your own style into a room that might not be fully decorated or furnished yet. Hanging curtains is an easy project that takes a little forethought but not much time to pull off. Just be sure to measure carefully so you purchase the right curtain size and hang them accordingly. To ensure your curtains completely cover the window, purchase curtains that are about two times wider than the window itself. The right length will depend on where you mount the curtain rod—a good rule of thumb is to hang it about 4 to 6 inches above the window frame. Then measure from the rod to the floor to determine the right curtain length.
3. Bring in houseplants
Houseplants are some of the best accessories out there. They add color, shape, texture, and life to a room, which is key when you’re just getting settled into a new home. For a low-maintenance option, look to easy-care varieties like philodendron, pothos, ZZ plants, or snake plants. But don’t worry if you don’t have the best track record of keeping real plants alive. Faux options work just as well and don’t require extra care when you’ve already got a lot of tasks on your plate.
4. Fill the space with cozy scents
Scents are a powerful tool for evoking feelings and memories, so they are a great hack to making a new space feel like home. Pick a fragrance that feels familiar and comforting—scents like jasmine, lavender, rosemary, sandalwood, and vanilla tend to be the most relaxing. Incorporate your fragrance of choice throughout your new home using candles, diffusers, or wall plug-ins. As time goes on, you’ll start to associate that scent and all the cozy feelings it brings up with your new home.
5. Accessorize surfaces with personal items
Arrange a stack of your favorite books on the coffee table, set out a tray of your go-to jewelry on your dresser, fill a vase with flowers on the kitchen counter, or display your favorite hats on hooks by the front door. Some might consider this clutter, but I like to think of these items as “signs of life.” They’re the small things that tell the story of you and make your home feel lived-in and personal. Especially if you don’t feel quite settled into your new place yet, this is one of the easiest ways to infuse a bit of your personality into the space.