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A little creative thinking and a lick of paint can easily turn your old family home into a dream sanctuary

We all have a picture in our minds of what our dream house looks like, but the sad reality is not all of us can afford it. As a result, we often look around our homes and, instead of focusing on what we love, we only see the qualities we dislike. “Loving your home is not so much about what it looks like but rather about learning to appreciate the little things and to focus more on how it makes you feel,” says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

“A home needn’t be perfect to appreciate it, but it should be a reflection of you and your family so that it can be your personal haven; a place that inspires you and makes you feel safe and relaxed. You don’t have to wait for your dream home to be happy and house-proud; you just have to use a little creative thinking about what you already have a little differently to love your home right now.”


Stop comparing it to others. Being grateful for your home will open your eyes to its positive qualities and make you appreciate it for the wonderful gift it is with just little creative thinking.

Focus on what’s good. Take an objective look around your house and try to focus on what you like – what works well and what would you miss if your next home didn’t have any of those features? With a little creative thinking this helps refresh your perspective and creates an appreciation for where you live now.

Remove what doesn’t make you happy. If you hate the vase that your great aunt gave you for Christmas, bite the bullet and donate it to charity or pack it away – your home should be a place of comfort and joy, not cluttered with good intentions.

Change the colour. If the blue feature wall is jarring, buy a tin of paint and give the room a fresh look. There are so many changes one can make with minimal effort.

Get rid of what you don’t need. There’s no point having three cutlery sets or cluttering up cupboards with outdated linen you’ll never use again. Keep the best and sell or donate the rest to charity.

Keep your home clean, tidy and orderly. Decluttering, cleaning and getting things shipshape will invariably make you feel better about your home and also your life. Try to spend time each day on housekeeping; don’t let things unravel and get out of hand.

Personalise your home. Figure out what you really like and try to stick to it when you go shopping. It will help you not buy random items that don’t match and result in a haphazard overall style that may not reflect who you are. Let your home be the best version of you.

Work with or upscale what you have. While some things are beyond repair or too dated or plain ugly to even bother fixing, with little creative thinking most people will find items in their homes that can be brought back to life, either through renovation, upscaling or repurposing.

Bring a little nature indoors. Plants and fresh-cut flowers not only add warmth and vibrance to a home, aren’t just pleasing to the eye, they can also benefit your physical health and mental well-being by subconsciously calming and relaxing you; injecting a little happiness into your day.

Start a new tradition. New family habits can bring a sense of warmth, heart and soul to a home. Why not introduce a weekly pizza get together, an evening of playing board games or a more elaborate annual Christmas in July with all the trimmings?



Even on a tight budget, it’s possible to completely redo a room by changing a colour, replacing fittings and finishes and adding elements like plants, says Geffen. “If you can, time you’re upgrades to coincide with seasonal sales as this will save a huge amount of money, particularly on the larger items. And before you rip out all the carpets, get them professionally cleaned as this can make an huge difference.”

Pay attention to hues and tones – studies show colour not only affects our moods and energy levels, it can even change body temperature and appetite, so choose carefully!

  • Yellow is an uplifting and upbeat colour. It is associated with happiness, cosiness and warmth and it’s also known to stimulate creativity.
  • Green is the colour of renewal, fresh energy and regeneration. It’s also calming as it mimics nature and links the interior to the outdoors.
  • Blue is a peaceful, serene colour, said to decrease blood pressure and slowing down respiration and heart rate, which is why it’s often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Pink in its lighter hues is gentle and soothing while darker shades tend to be more vibrant and inspirational.
  • Red is bold and known as the colour of passion, energy, optimism and courage. It’s said to increase heart rate and induce emotion. Used in living areas, red will bring with it a sense of opulence and warmth.
  • Brown is the colour of strength, grounding and stability. It’s associated with comforting and delicious delights, such as rich, dark chocolate and gourmet coffee. It can also be introduced into a room in a natural form like wood rather than paint.

“And, the best addition to any home is the happy laughter of our loved ones. So, fill your home with your treasured people and cook their favourite dishes in your new look kitchen,” says Geffen.

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