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Tips and Guides

7 Practical Ways to Turn a House into a Home

Interior designer Michelle Dumlao-Pastoral shares how you can personalize your own space

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Photography: Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

In some of my design projects, my clients wanted to buy an entire furniture set and set it up in the exact same way that it was displayed in the furniture store. The clients wanted to use the same sofa, armchair, and other pieces in the same colors and prints, down to the last throw pillow. However, this would just create a house—a fully-furnished and put-together space that lacks character and personality.

If you would like to turn your house into a home—a unique and personalized space that tells the story of your family's lifestyle, hobbies, and interests—here are a few must-read ideas.

Create a special area

Think about what you and your loved ones love to do together and create a special area where you can enjoy this activity as a family. Some families may want to have a game room, a music room, or an entertainment theater.

However, if you don't have space for a game room, you can simply place your favorite board games and an hourglass on top of the living room table! You can surround the table with upholstered ottomans and big floor pillows. 

You can also turn a living room or bedroom into a makeshift music room or entertainment theater. Invest in black-out curtains that can block out the sunlight, improve the sounds in the space, and create a cozy mood. You can also use a projector and a blank white wall for videoke or movie time! 

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Transform antique pieces

In order to personalize your space, you should furnish it with pieces that have a sentimental value. You can even find a more creative way to use heirloom furniture!

For example, a client of mine inherited an antique Narra clothes cabinet which I had converted into an entertainment cabinet. It is now used to store the TV and it has different compartments for the speakers and other entertainment equipment. I love the fact that the cabinet can be closed to hide the TV when it's not in use!

In this photo, interior designer Kimi Manuel turned an antique TV cabinet into a console table. This special item is definitely more interesting than a store-bought piece. 

Click here to see more photos and view the full home makeover.

Use your favorite colors and prints

To add character to your home, you can paint your walls or cover it in wallpaper of your favorite shade or pattern. If you don't want to use paint or wallpaper, you may simply work with your favorite colors and prints for your furniture and accessories.

In this bedroom, interior designer Van Acuna used black-and-white prints and unexpected pink details.

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Display favorite things everywhere

Instead of placing all of your collections in one area, you should leave them in different corners! For example, I have a blue-and-white porcelain collection. I display some pieces on top of a ledge, while other pieces are used as planters on the center table. I also plan to turn two big ones into lamps for the dining room.

In this living room, homeowner Dino Romano placed his favorite potted plant and quirky accessories on the oversized ottoman.

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Decorate with your names or initials

You can have your initials embroidered on throwpillows, pillowcases, and hand towels. You can even find art, decor, and accessories in your initialsthese will be perfect for decorating your space!

In this bedroom, architect Liza Morales-Crespo placed her daughter's name on the white headboard. 

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Display family pictures

Always have your family photos developed and placed in beautiful picture frames. You can display these framed pictures on a side table or console table. In order to make it more presentable, you should pair them with table lamps and other accessories.

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Choose a signature scent

You should pick a signature scent that can welcome your guests and set the feel for the rest of the home. For example, since I love to bake, I light chocolate and cranberry candles when my guests come over. The unique scent is something that my guests can remember. This will also put them in the mood for my home-baked cookies. 

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