Your company has chosen you to represent them overseas. It’s a huge honor, comes with a pay raise, and you get to live in an amazing new place. Packing up your stuff to relocate to somewhere new and unknown is a thrilling thing, one that offers endless opportunities outside of work.
But packing up your home and moving to a new place can mean putting away the life you’ve made for yourself. Moving it to another continent and starting over is scary. You wish you could just pack your home now into a suitcase and open it up when you get there. However, moving into your new abode in another country does not have to mean leaving behind all feelings of home.
Follow these easy tips to make your house anywhere feel like a home.
Tip One: Organize
This first tip can be the most difficult. At home, you have everything just where it should be; each piece of furniture has its place, each rug an area. Even dustbunnies had their appropriate home. Moving to another country for work means that you might be returning someday, and that makes leaving your stuff in boxes really enticing. Why organize if you’re only going to pack again someday?
Moving things out of boxes and onto shelves or into drawers will not only neaten your new place, it will make it feel better. The atmosphere will feel clearer and calmer, allowing you to settle in better. If you bring your shelves or buy drawers that are similar to the ones you already owned, you will feel less misplaced and more at home.
Tip Two: Set a Theme
One important step to making a home is seeing that the whole place looks unified. Even an eclectic apartment can still look united if done correctly, and can make an apartment in Japan feel more like the one back in New York. This is especially true for your furniture.
Picking a solid theme for your new place will make the whole apartment look like a whole, rather than random parts of different houses smushed together. You and guests will feel more at ease in a place that looks like someone put time and care into picking out furnishings.
So if you like Rococo style furniture, but your old place came with more modern furnishings, go for the stuff you really wanted all along, and make it work for you. Fill your new apartment with matching furniture that establishes a clear theme, and you’ll feel at home in no time.
Tip Three: Buy Cheap Stuff
So, you’ll return to your place in California in a few months after your assignment in China is done. But you can’t cart all your stuff from Cali to your apartment in Hong Kong, so you have to get new stuff. Buying new furniture and various other accoutrements can get expensive. Luckily, you can go to places like Marshalls or Ross and get quality brand name stuff for much cheaper than at other stores.
If you buy cheaper stuff, you can also DIY it, add paint and fabrics, without feeling bad. Give everything you buy a touch of yourself, personalize it, and you won’t feel like you’re destroying a piece of art, even if you hate it.
Look for sales as well. You can get great deals on expensive stuff to match your theme. Make your apartment away from home, your new home.
Tip Four: Choose a Color Scheme
Much like choosing a unified theme makes a home homier, choosing one color scheme can tie a room together and make everything look more streamlined. Warm colors can feel welcoming, cool colors feel calmer; particular schemes can make your environment into whatever you want.
This also makes accessorizing easier. If you choose black and white as a main theme, with purple as an accent color, you can easily go furniture shopping, and add little pops of purple into your décor. Should you choose warm brown and yellow for a theme, you can get the perfect set of drawers with matching accents. Whatever you pick, anyone who sees it (including you) will be impressed with how much thought and effort went into that new apartment in Brazil.
Tip Five: Decorate!
A room, no matter how well coordinated it is, can look sparse and unwelcoming if completely devoid of small accents and decorations. Walls are cold without painting or posters, floors are boring without colorful rugs, and couches look downright uncomfortable without pillows. Consider the way you have set up the rooms in your Melbourne accommodation, and add appropriate extras.
Consider your collectibles. You want to display what you own, like those ceramic dogs or your snow globes from around the world. These can make a place seem more like a home, and less like a house. If you don’t have a collection, start one! Technically, anything in quantities over three can be considered a collection. It’s the little things that count in a new place.
All in all, it takes time to put together a home for yourself, but it will be worth it in the end. You will feel much more comfortable coming back to your apartment or accommodation if it feels like you put the effort in to live there. It will become your sanctuary.
Sara Stricker has written dozens of articles, and bounces from topic to topic as the day goes by.