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…
#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…
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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?
#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.
#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 // 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”.
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.