The top 30 things that make a house a home revealed – from plants to hosting Christmas


A house is not a home until you’ve hosted Christmas, filled your shelves with books – and completed at least four mini DIY projects, according to a study.

Research of 2,000 adults found they need to enjoy an average of three special occasions, such as birthdays, before a home really begins to feel comfortable.

Making a house a home takes time

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Making a house a home takes timeCredit: Getty

Feeling safe in the local community and having family photos up are also important, along with the kids feeling settled and experiencing the sleeping in your ‘own bed’ feeling.

TV social and behavioral psychologist Honey Langcaster-James backed up the findings, claiming it’s not about the furnishings, but more about the experiences – both highs and lows – in their home before it begins to really feel like it’s theirs.

Honey Langcaster-James, speaking about the research commissioned by housebuilder Redrow, said: “The top things we need to make a house a home isn’t actually about the furnishings or the aesthetics – it’s all about what happens personally and socially within the four walls.

“And it’s about that sense of new home pride – being able to invite people to visit and welcoming them into your space.

“Being able to give someone a tour of your home, tell them where to find things or pointing out personal touches all add to that sense of ownership and homeliness.

“Even those new home disaster moments, for example the splash of red wine on the couch, or that first family squabble, although not fun, can be something that helps your home to feel lived in, because it’s something that only tends to happen within the privacy of your own space.

“But also sharing fun, relaxed and intimate moments, as well as things like wearing your most comfortable and relaxed never-to-be-seen outside clothes all help facilitate that homely feeling.”

But the study also found a third of adults have lived somewhere that never ended up feeling like home, with 45% believing it is difficult to attain that homely feeling.

While 61% believe it is much easier to settle into a new home if they haven’t had to grapple with property issues once they moved in, such as toilet leaks or mold.

Some of the biggest unpredicted stress points identified by owners included internet connectivity issues (26%), finding a suitable tradesman to take on renovation work (24%) as well as dealing with the mess they can make (22%).

The living room, a crucial family space, was seen as the biggest priority when decorating in order to achieve the home-like feel, according to the survey carried out via OnePoll.

While it took an average of 14 weeks for respondents to fully unpack from moving into their current property.

Social media, TV shows and furniture stores are where most take inspiration from when putting their own stamp on a home.

And adults have moved home four times since they first flew the nest, with one in six finding it increasing difficult each time to make somewhere new cozy.

Honey Langcaster-James added: “While the personal material items you collect together, such as your pictures, books and personal effects, can make your house feel like your home, it’s also about the little things you do there and the people you spend time with.

“You actually don’t need much around you at all, just gathering your nearest and dearest, or putting on your comfy clothes, and having a sense of privacy, will help you to feel at home.

“When you open your front door for the first time to welcome someone in, that’s when it really begins to feel like your own.”

A spokesperson from Redrow said: “Homes create memories the longer you live in them, but it’s always a bonus if you can move in and not have to grapple with potential problems.

“Often the older a home, the more issues it’ll have due to having to replace things, hidden problems and potential renovation works.

“We aim to give people a better way to live and a house that instantly becomes a home, so they can focus on making those all-important memories.”

Top 30 things that make a house a home

  • Sleeping in ‘your own’ bed
  • Feeling safe locally
  • Family photos
  • TV being set up
  • A fridge full of food
  • The sofa being set up properly
  • The kids feeling settled
  • Artwork on the walls
  • A bookshelf filled with books
  • Plants
  • Having your space on the sofa
  • The smell of freshly cooked food
  • Having the bed made
  • Freshly washed bedsheets
  • Painted walls
  • A dining table
  • A large wardrobe with clothes hung up
  • A bedside table set up
  • Blankets/throws
  • Flowers in vase
  • fresh towels
  • Hosting dinners for friends and family
  • Hosting Christmas at your place
  • A loss
  • Children’s toys in the house
  • A doormat
  • Not having to use the sat nav to get home
  • Candles
  • Children’s paintings on the wall
  • Matching furniture in each room
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