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How to make a house a home

For many of us, buying a house is so much more than buying a building. Buying property is the great Australian dream, and for good reason. A home is a special place. It’s where friends and family enjoy memories and experience life together.

Our homes are filled with personality and memories, and just as every family is unique, every home is unique too. So now that you’ve finished buying a property, how can you go about making into a home? Here are three stories of how different homeowners did just that.


The power of paint

I recently bought my first place, and I couldn’t wait to settle in,” says Jacinta. “I knew that the first thing I wanted to do was give the place a fresh coat of paint. The walls were all light blue, which just isn’t my style at all. I spent a few weekends looking at different shades and options during my settlement period and when I got the keys I was good to go. My friends and I spent the weekend painting the walls and at the end, my new house looked so bright and airy. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who has just bought a place – paint can make a world of difference.

— Jacinta, Melbourne

Hot tip: To really make your mark on your new home, why not consider painting your front door. Giving your door an interesting colour can set it apart from the rest and show your personality to the neighbourhood.


Get some greenery

“We’ve been talking about buying a house with a garden for years,” says Tim, “we know it’s not always easy to get everything on your wish list, but greenery is very important to us.” Kylie says they’ve always made the most of their size limits. “I remember when we were sharing a tiny apartment in the city,” she says, “we’d still make sure it was packed with plants and life. There’s something calming about plants and nature, no matter where you live.” Soon after buying, Tim and Kylie got to work on their garden. “We were so glad to find somewhere with a garden out the back, as soon as we moved in we were out there with gloves and tools, pruning and weeding to make it our own. We’ve even got a few veggies growing in a planter box, plus a few herbs that Tim uses to cook with.” Tim saysplants can turn a house into a homeIt’s the best thing you can do to easily transform your space.”

Tim and KylieSunshine Coast

Hot tip: For most indoor plants it’s better to risk underwatering instead of overwatering. Watch for drooping leaves and give them some water. Alternatively, if you do have an outdoor garden, why not plant a tree when you move in and watch it grow over the years.


Make the most of your walls

“For us it was the wall space,” says Tommy, having recently bought his first home. “When we moved in, we couldn’t wait to start making use of all of the parts of the home. I started by hanging some shelves in the kitchen to maximise our bench space. It’s exciting to be able to drill into the walls and really shape your own space. We hung a mirror in the hallway, and mounted our TV, then we made the most of our decorations. Over the years we’ve collected a few pieces of art that we could now finally hang on the walls. Plus, some special photos that we had framed. We made our hallways into gallery spaces and it totally transformed our home. It feels great to have this much control, and we knew it was going to make such a big difference.”  

Tommy, Sydney

Hot tip: It’s a great idea to use a tape measure and a level before you drill. Keeping your wall additions level and evenly spaced will produce a great result and save you from drilling multiple holes in the wall. You should also consult with a tradesmen before drilling into any walls, ceilings or flooring, and before attempting to install certain devices, fixtures and fittings, as they’ll be able to, among other things, help you identify any wires, pipes and the like that you want to avoid.

After your settlement day it’s your opportunity to settle in and transform your new home. Whether it’s with a new coat of paint, some greenery, wall hangings or something completely different, every home is different. Use these stories as some inspiration for your own. To help you with the process, head to Property Helper. Choose from a range of products, utilities, and services to make your house a home.

This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.

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