When I moved into a freshly renovated apartment last spring, I loved the new appliances and declared the remote-controlled AC life-changing—but I lamented how a coat of spackle and fresh flooring left the space feeling a little lacking in the personality department. I had a clean (almost too clean) slate to work with, and desperately needed to give the space character. Turns out, there were many simple ways to do this, including some that you can start doing stat. The home personality makeover starts right now.
Pick pieces with history
Whether you were lucky enough to inherit your grandfather’s hand-carved dresser, or scored big at Brimfield recently, incorporating vintage pieces is an easy way to add personality to your home. Pre-owned furnishings come with their own stories and patina, so they help ground even a brand-new home with history.
If you’re a musician, go ahead and store your instrument(s) up on the wall. When new friends stop by, it will act as an easy conversation piece, and you’re more likely to actually pick up your guitar when it’s right out in the open. The same goes for art supplies or a camera collection—surround yourself with what you love.
Nothing puts a personal spin on a space quite like handmade items. DIY projects let you create exactly the look you want, and it’s nice knowing you own something that can’t be bought in a store. If you’re not particularly crafty, start with a small project, such as a terrarium, and work your way up to this wooden pegboard organizer. In her living room, above, Lauren of Studio Sven created the bright red yarn installation on the wall. There’s absolutely no mistaking who lives here.
If you’re in the market for art, don’t be afraid to buy what you love and take your time deciding. When you first move into a new place, it can be tempting to buy art quickly to cover those blank walls, but a collection you’ll want to keep forever grows with you over time. If you have artistic friends, consider supporting their work by commissioning a custom piece. Owning art you love is a true luxury, but having a personal connection to it is even better.
Vignettes are small arrangements that tell a story about your home and who you are. When you scroll through our house tours, they’re those close-up shots of personal details and mementos. By including details like a souvenir from your trip to Bali or a doily crocheted by your grandmother, these arrangements tell a visual narrative about your life.