interiors & styling

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More “Finished”

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com I love getting reader requests from you because they always result in the best posts! This topic was a reader request that was intriguing to me- one that really made me pause to think about buttoned up spaces and why they feel complete. We’ve already covered the tricky question of… when is a room really finished? I think we can all agree it’s a blurry line. Regardless of what phase your home is currently in, I wanted to share some tips for making your home feel more “finished”… even if it’s far from it. I think this post is also open to interpretation, depending on your plans for your house and how you live in it. Click through for my opinion, to weigh in, and to read about some of my ideas for pulling a space together (even when it’s not totally done)

Homes grow and evolve with us, and I’m pretty sure Emmett & I will live with unfinished spaces our entire life. I’ll admit- we love having a project. That’s kind of the beauty of working toward creating your dream home, right? It’s an addicting process that keeps ebbing & flowing as your needs and aesthetic changes. I think as a creative, I don’t give the process enough credit… which is honestly the fun part for me. Regardless, it really is nice to have that sense of home and feel like your space is pulled together, even when it’s not entirely finished- or even started.

In our current situation with my office renovation underway, it’s certainly difficult to ignore the giant plastic doorway that leads to a construction zone, but it also doesn’t bother me. Whether you’re in the middle of a project, are making slow progress, are enjoying your home in its current stage, or feel that your home is totally finished- I think embracing where we’re at in the process is key. That brings me to my first point…

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#1 // Ask yourself what a “finished” home or room means to you?

You can read about my opinion here, but it’s not as clearcut as it may seem. Are you fine with “finished for now”? Do you want the space to look nice while it’s waiting to be renovated? When do you envision a specific room to be finished- or close to it? Depending on your answers, you can better determine how much time, energy, and money you want to put into a space to make it feel more buttoned up. For example, I still style spaces we aren’t planning to tackle for awhile. We’ve also hosted during major construction projects and made the most of it. You just have to analyze where you’re at, what your current situation looks like, and what your end goals are. Now- onto the physical stuff…

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#2 // Focus on styling.

I’m a firm believer that you can have the most basic of homes and it can still look like a million bucks based on how you style and decorate it. Focus on one vignette at a time and fill the room with things that make you happy and function for your family. Spending that time and energy decorating can make a night & day difference.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#3 // Install window treatments.

Sometimes you have to work backyards to make a room feel finished. Our primary bedroom is probably years away from being renovated, but despite that- we recently ripped down the existing plantation shutters and installed window treatments that were more functional and better represented our aesthetic. The room is far from being done (or even started) and eventually the window treatments will need to come down so we can tackle demo, but that didn’t stop us from making it better in the meantime. Window treatments instantly make a room feel more tailored and welcoming.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#4 // Hang artwork or photos.

Installing artwork or photos helps to insert meaning & personality to a space, and is usually one of the last steps in a room renovation… but remember what I said about working backwards for a finished look? Artwork can easily make a space look more put together and intentional.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#5 // Incorporate plenty of textiles.

Textiles instantly make a room feel soft, inviting, and welcoming. Not only do they help to add style and softness to a space, but they also help with acoustics and sound control… both of which make a space feel more complete. In addition to window treatments, try upgrading your bedding, adding pillows & throws to a space, and definitely consider area rugs underfoot to enhance the cozy factor and clearly define the floor plan.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#6 // Use plants & florals.

There is a reason that plants & florals are often “finishing touches” in interior design- because they bring life into a room. If you feel like something is missing, try adding a plant or some fresh cut flowers. They just have a way of adding happiness to a space and making you smile.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#7 // Layer… then layer some more.

I can’t preach layering enough. Stark, minimalistic rooms have a way of feeling unfinished and cold. Think of the difference between staying in a hotel room or an Airbnb bedroom versus staying in your own bedroom. Include the basic functional layers, but also the extra stylistic and sentimental ones. Here’s an example: the nightstand in a hotel room just has a lamp. The nightstand in your bedroom could include lots of fun layers: a light fixture, a catchall, flowers in a bud vase, a framed photo, a decanter for water, etc. See what I mean by layering to make home feel more finished?

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#8 // Add additional light sources.

Soft light sources or fixtures that are often “after the fact” are great additions in making a room feel finished! Think picture or gallery lights, table lamps, floor lamps, etc. Here’s the key- be sure to actually use them for their intended purpose. Turn the soft light sources on during the evening hours and use them in place of your super bright overheads. Maybe even light a candle? Your home will take on a totally different feel- day and night.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

#9 // Find your favorite fragrance.

I love diffusers, candles, and room & linen spray. I get so excited when friends & family arrive and comment on how lovely or clean our house smells (despite the fact we have two dogs). I feel like our house just feels more put together when it smells nice- and it makes me happy. I also think it’s fun to buy a “signature fragrance” for your home, to burn or diffuse when you’re entertaining.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com

10 // Focus on positive attributes.

Lastly, let’s end with another mental exercise. Humor me, ok? Make a list of things you love about your home, that you don’t plan to change. I think far too often we fixate on the long list of everything we dislike about our home and the things we need to update (I’m guilty of that). That home to-do list can feel overwhelming and make us feel far from the finish line. Focus on what makes you happy right now. Enjoy the rooms and attributes that are already finished. Try to love your home throughout the process and embrace it in its current state. Sometimes looking at it from a place of gratitude and creativity can shift our perspective on what feels “finished” or “finished for now” or even “far from finished”.

10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel More "Finished" - roomfortuesday.com Thanks to the reader who asked for this fun blog discussion! I feel very lucky to live in a home (though it’s totally torn apart right now) that I love as is, for its future potential, and even in that weird construction phase that we’re currently in. It’s ours. The put together, magazine-worthy rooms and also the ones that could use a lot of help. It’s ours to transform however we see fit… in our own time… and we’re allowed to change our mind along the way. That’s what makes homeownership so special- whether your place is finished or far from it. I’d love to hear your thoughts or tips in the comment section below! Happy Tuesday, friends.

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    May 4, 2021 at 5:39 am

    You’re so smart. Each one of these ideas had me nodding in agreement. Why not add the “finishing touches” before you’re actually finished? Hang your art even though the wall color is not your favorite. Add some beautiful pillows to the sofa you desperately want to replace. Cut a bouquet of lilacs from your neighbors’ tree (ahem.) and style them on your nightstand beside the giant puppy crate…🤣 Seriously, I think #10 is the best bit of advice! Homeownership is special and such a privilege. I’m definitely obsessed with home improvement and design (obvi), and I’m a champion To Do list maker. Not so much with the Love List. I need the occasional reminder that the purpose of my home is to provide a safe, welcoming environment for nurturing my people and fluff balls. (Although, now you’ve got me thinking about a signature scent…) Have the loveliest of Tuesdays!💜

    • Reply
      Paige
      May 4, 2021 at 6:56 am

      Love the signature scent idea, too! I just can’t settle on one.

      • Reply
        Sarah
        May 4, 2021 at 8:42 pm

        I usually do a handful of seasonal scents or candles :) Or I’ll burn a certain one that is great any time of year if I’m entertaining.

    • Reply
      Danna F
      May 4, 2021 at 8:30 am

      I LOL on the lilac from your neighbors!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      I think I just had that “finishing touches before it’s finished” epiphany while writing the post, as I was thinking about what makes a room feel complete. Your neighbor’s lilac tree… lol! I wish I had a neighbor with beautiful blooming flowers, but unfortunately the deer have taken to all of our yards. Styling things around dog stuff is a definite yes around here. I found a dog toy on the built-in the other day, sandwiched between books. Apparently Emmett put it there and forgot about it. Ha! I’m with you on all the home things. Design, DIY, list making (and crossing things out), I’m trying to take my own advice and get better at enjoying the in between phases in our home, and living in the moment. Easier said than done! I think our fluff balls live a pretty good life under this roof, and we do too. It’s a good home we’re lucky to call ours! Hope you had an awesome day with good weather. It was finally sunny and kind of warm here today. xox

  • Reply
    Paige
    May 4, 2021 at 6:54 am

    How timely! The finish line is fluctuating here. I’ve decided to tackle it like a long race. Lap one – beds are set up, made, ready for guest/college returning kids. Lap 2 – other furniture in place. Lap 3 – art. I’m pacing myself on those two laps and really trying to get out of my comfort zone and regroup items in ways we haven’t done in previous homes. The finish line is always drapery for me. For some reason that always feels like icing on the cake, the bow on top. In the mean time shades/blinds, lamps, and candles are in full effect. That always makes home for me.

    Number 10 really resonates. I added a ton of extra landscaping on day 1. Seriously it was moving in the backyard as we were moving in the front. I knew I would look out the back of the house all day everyday and I wanted the “bones” in. No long regret over what it could be, maybe next year, or when will we ever have time. I prioritized the design and budget so I could have some mental breathing room. The garden is my happy place. I wanted it to feel ahead of schedule and functional from the get go. With a dining area, kitchen, and fire pit its like adding 3 more rooms to the house. I can’t wait to get the outdoor furniture out of storage next week and starting using those areas. Who cares if the plants aren’t small, and it still needs all the lush, flowery plants? I feel like a skipped a few laps in the backyard and that is just fine with me!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      I like your long race idea, Paige! That’s the best way to do it. It sounds like you’ll be all set up for your family! Drapery definitely has a very permanent feel to it, and it can be expensive, so I totally get that. I love that you added landscaping on Day 1. You’ll be happy once everything is established and looking beautiful… definitely smart to do that, and kudos for tackling a project that makes you happy. I also consider our outdoor areas to be an extension of our living space and it makes a huge difference. I’m also itching to bring out the rest of our outdoor furniture :) It’s such a fun time of year! Hope your Tuesday was a good one! xox

  • Reply
    Jennifer Laura
    May 4, 2021 at 7:49 am

    Love that advice and right now I literally have to turn a blind eye to half of our rooms downstairs because they are so unfinished, but I just know that one day they are going to look exactly as I envision them. It’s so funny too because sometimes a space can feel finished in person and then on camera feels a little bare, so I love that tip to layer and layer some more! If you’re photographing your home that extra layering is everything!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      Exactly! Those spaces are going to be amazing and in the meantime- style them and do what you can to enjoy those rooms. I have the opposite problem with the camera… often times it takes me looking through a lens to figure out what I’m missing. I always end up adding more! Layering is always a good idea :)

  • Reply
    Lauren
    May 4, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Your points are spot on! In our previous house it always felt like we were just staying there-I hadn’t tried my hand at decorating anything other than the bedroom, and every other space felt cold and uninviting-even to us. That house felt the most inviting when I staged it to sell. This house is different. There’s still a ton that I would love to change or tear out, but my approached has been more of the “work backwards”. The first month here I bought all new pillows for our couches, a new vase for the kitchen, new towels for every bathroom, and new linens for every bed. I still saw all the things I disliked, but having those few finishing touches made me look at the house differently. Hanging that artwork in our bedroom and refreshing our bed styling has made me fall in love with our space. Originally I planned to hold off purchasing the finishing touches until after I had painted and done all the things, but purchasing things I love now is spurring my creativity. If I hadn’t hung that artwork, I would have never figured out a solid plan for that wall-thanks to your amazing brain, I now have a lovely plan, and it no longer feels like a struggle spot. Another point that I’ll make is working with what you have to make it better. Our kitchen: golden oak cabinetry (but the door detail is simple and pretty) that hasn’t been well maintained over the years. It has seen far better days for sure. Last month I couldn’t stand hating it anymore, so I went down the millionth rabbit hole of finding something that would actually clean these cabinets (I’ve tried so many things). I finally found a miracle cleaner, and it peeled back all the years of grime and grease. When that was done I waxed them with my favorite furniture wax-when I say they look different it’s the understatement of the century! They look incredible! Despite the fact that the overheads above the peninsula cut off the view to the living room, despite the fact that the cabinet interiors are less than ideal for storage (and beginning to fall apart), I LOVE our kitchen now. I turned this odd “desk” area at the end of our kitchen into a coffee station, in an effort to hide the scratches, wear, and discolored wood on the surface. It’s my favorite spot, but I found something that will hopefully repair the damage there and help it look more like it’s old self again. I’m all about working with what you have even if it’s not your ideal, your style preference, or even the right fit for the home. Taking an approach of trying to utilize the odd nooks and crannies can actually help you find functionality and purpose in them-and can shift how use a particular space. I’ll round this out by saying that Jeff can’t stand my approach with this house. He always asks me “does this mean we have to buy all new pillows?” Haha! He’s the type that wants to be one and done for the rest of his life-that’s too much pressure for me, and it ignores the stages and styles our home goes through. Yes, Jeff-we will buy all the new pillows. Every. Single. Time. 😂🤣 So many good trinkets of advice in this post-we have a sunny day today, and that means prepping for paint! Have a lovely Tuesday Sarah!

    • Reply
      Anne H
      May 4, 2021 at 6:24 pm

      Love ALL of this, Lauren! 💗

      • Reply
        Sarah
        May 4, 2021 at 8:40 pm

        Yess!! Same :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      Those little touches and spending time & energy to style them makes all the difference! I also agree that it can spark creativity and your future vision for the space. Sometimes it takes REALLY living in it to figure it out. Your bedroom is beautiful now and it’s going to be beautiful once it’s totally “finished”! Such a great point to work with what you have, while making styling adjustments… it’s even amazing what a good deep clean will do for a home. Your coffee bar sounds awesome! Jeff is so much like Emmett when it comes to decor and pillows. LOL! They just don’t get it, do they? I hope you had a wonderful day of paint prep and got lots accomplished. Happy Tuesday, Lauren! xo

  • Reply
    Danna F
    May 4, 2021 at 8:39 am

    These points are so good! I love #10. I think we do focus a lot on what we don’t like rather than find the things we do like about our house. #9 is top of my list. I am very scent sensitive so I want my home to smell pleasing. Theres several reasons but window treatments are at the bottom of mine. I am getting better about adding them. ;)
    Have a great Tuesday!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks, Danna! I’m guilty of that, too. I need to take my own advice. It’s something I’ve been working on- enjoying now and learning to be happy in the moment. I’m also a fragrance person, so I love burning candles. I hope you had an awesome Tuesday as well :) xo

  • Reply
    Anne H
    May 4, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    Yes a million times to #10. Such a great reminder. I’m always looking at the To Do list and thinking, once that’s done, then “blank”, but you’re so right. We definitely need to take the time to appreciate what we have, what we love and what inspires us about our spaces. Love this one, Sarah and happy Tuesday!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 4, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks, Anne! I hope you had a great Tuesday, too. I bet your cookies are looking amazing! I’m definitely guilty of obsessing over our to-do list and jumping from one thing to the next without stopping to appreciate the in-between. It’s something I’ve been trying to do a better job of… especially now that lead times are slowing everything down. It’s out of our control and taking it slow isn’t always bad- we can still enjoy it during the process :)

  • Reply
    Michele M.
    May 8, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Well stated!

    You have one of the most beautiful homes in Blogville, Sarah – you must be so satisfied at how far you’ve brought your design and decorator visions! I try to focus on all the things I love – and there are many – to this blessed home we have……and have tried VERY hard to be satisfied and not focus on what needs to be done. They are simply out of my comfort zone budget, so I am trying to focus on the positives every day.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 10, 2021 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you so much, Michele! I also feel so lucky to live in a home we love… even if it’s far from finished. I’m learning to love the stage its in and enjoy the process. Positive thinking all around- that’s the best way to go :) I hope you had a lovely weekend and your week is off to a good start. xo

  • Reply
    Sharon
    May 11, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    What diffusers and room sprays do you use in your home? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 11, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      Such a touch question! Right now my favorite room sprays are the ones we carry in my shop… they’re beautiful on the countertop and they smell so amazing for spring & summer (Lagoon is probably my top pick right now)! I usually swap it a couple times each year (or seasonally). Hand soap is another fragrance and functional item I’m very into and we have the BEST ones right now… the Orange Blossom is my current favorite! For some reason I usually only have diffusers in the winter months, but I have no idea why or how I started that holiday habit. Haha! Hope that’s helpful, Sharon :)

  • Reply
    Cynde
    May 12, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    I’m new to your blog, I was wondering if you could tell me where you found the picture with the wire hair terrier in the suit. I’ve had Welsh terriers most of my life, so similar to the wire hairs, only different coloring. That picture is so adorable, I would love to find one, Thank You, I hope you can help, Cynde

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