As someone who’s moved a few times in my life, I like to think I’ve become something of a relocation expert. When we first moved to Christchurch, I had every intention of breaking the cycle. I was ready to throw our packing boxes to the curb and settle into the new house for at least a few years of stability. If you follow me on insta stories or twitter, then you are well aware that this was not exactly how things worked out.
With only a week to search before starting his job, Pete did an amazing job finding us a house this past October. It ticked all the boxes: three bedrooms, a dishwasher, a nice yard for Cash, and a heat pump. It even came with a lemon tree!
Sadly, as the weather has steadily been getting colder and damper, it became increasingly hard to ignore that fact that our house was a frigid icebox. Visible gaps between the windows and window frames were daily reminders of our proximity to the chilly outdoors. If you know anything about living in New Zealand, then you know the cost of energy here is crazy expensive, so keeping our house at a livable temperature was starting to cost a small fortune and it wasn’t even Winter yet.
One day I happened to be scrolling through Facebook when I saw that someone had posted a listing for a 2-bedroom house just up the road from us. It looked so cute that I couldn’t resist sending Pete a link in an email, with the subject line reading, “drooling.” To my surprise, he wrote back suggesting we check it out. One thing quickly led to another and thanks to a month to month lease at our previous place and amazing new landlords, we moved in four weeks later.
Despite picking one of the rainiest weekends in months to move, nothing could dampen our excitement about the new place. The house was built in the 1920s and has gorgeous lead glass windows, wood paneling, endless nooks, and no shortage of good reading spots.
It’s also been renovated and has not one but TWO heat pumps and an HRV system that ventilates the air and keeps moisture at bay. When combined with double glazed windows, sealed window frames and better insulation in the walls, this is a recipe for a warmer house that will likely end up saving us money in the long run.
But even with all it’s existing charm (and insulation), the house still needed a few personal touches to really feel like home.
Here are my top three tips for how to make a create a homey atmosphere that won’t break the bank…
1. Make the bed
Moving is messy. It takes time to reassemble furniture, unpack all your stuff, and arrange rooms in just the right way. The chaos can be overwhelming so my number one tip is to find a clean set of sheets and make the bed. You will immediately feel your bedroom transform into a cozy space with the added bonus that once moving exhaustion sets in, you have a place to crash.
2. Hang your pictures
Whether it’s fine art, your favorite festival poster, or photos of friends, get something on your walls pronto. Bare walls feel temporary and evoke feelings of transience. Pictures hanging on the walls will make your house feel homey and settled into. If you’re like me, you have one or two favorites that have hung in every house you’ve lived in. My two framed pictures have traveled with me for years and the second they’re on the wall, it’s a trigger to my brain that I’m home.
Many rentals don’t allow you to drill holes in the wall so 3M stripes are a great alternative. The can be pricey but once you’ve got the strips attached to the frame, you’ll only need to replace the pieces that stick to the wall when you go to rehang them.
3. Have friends over for a housewarming, even if you haven’t finished unpacking
To immediately fill your new space with good vibes, invite a few friends over to help celebrate the move. This event doesn’t have to be big or fancy.
For our housewarming, we ordered pizzas from the local pizzeria and played board games. We got to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while and any excuse for pizza is alright in my book. Boxes were still all over the place but our friends didn’t care and it was the perfect way to decompress after three days of nonstop moving and cleaning.
These three simple tips will immediatly transform your space, creating atmosphere and positive vibes. Yes, it will still take time to figure out the new quirks of your abode, like which drawer sticks and how to finesss that one door with the figity lock, but with a bed made, pictures on the wall, and friends over, your house will start feeling like home in no time.
What tips do you recommend for settling into a new house? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you, leave a note in the comments below!