Even if your budget is tight after a divorce, you will want a space that feels like home for you and your kids. And if you move into a small apartment after living in a house, you may crave that comfortable feeling of home.
Luckily, there are many ways to make your new space feel like the home you need right now. Add these items to your to-do list to create a space that doesn’t just feel like home, but is a place in which you want to rebuild your life.
1. Clear out — or repurpose — the old.
Purge items that are directly tied to your married life. Hanging on to old physical items from your time as a couple will only prolong the grieving process. It’s a constant reminder of expectations that never came true and possible feelings of failure. Do yourself a favor and start with a fresh, clean slate in your new home.
“You want to keep some things that speak to you and reinforce the parts of your past you want to actively remember. If you have to downsize, you might reuse old pieces in a new way, turn couch cushions into an ottoman, take four dining chairs rather than six, turn an end table into a coffee maker stand,” says Wendy Paris, contributing writer for Psychology Today.
This process may be as empowering as it is cathartic; as you rebuild your life, you’re doing so in the space you’re turning into your new home. It’s also budget friendly — you’ll spend less money repurposing old furniture, for example, than you will buying new.
2. Emphasize curb appeal.
If you’re moving to a home that has a lawn or outdoor entry, focus on the outdoor space. “Coming into a beautifully landscaped, properly manicured lawn will make you feel good about the place that you are stepping into,” according to authors of 7 Tips to Make Your New Place Feel Like Home Quickly.
The article continues, “Depending on how you relieve stress, you may want to hire a landscaping or lawn care crew or do it yourself. If you take out stress through relaxation, choose the former. If you prefer activity to relieve stress, DIY it; either way, you will automatically get a good feeling every time you drive up to your garage or doorstep if the lawn is taken care of.”
If you’ve moved into an apartment or condo, something as simple as a decorative wreath on your door and a clean, uncluttered entryway when you enter your apartment can go a long way to making you feel at home — and in charge of your life — again.
3. Throw a family party.
You likely had a core group of friends and family members who surrounded and supported you through the divorce process. Once you settle into your new home, one of the first things to do is throw a housewarming party. Your first thought may be, I don’t have the money to throw a party, and any recent divorcee will tell you that watching your budget is one of the most important steps in managing your transition to a new lifestyle.
However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it happen. Of American’s polled, 60 percent said food is the most expensive party item to buy, so host a potluck housewarming party and you can provide the drinks and music.
Being surrounded by loved ones in the house you’re trying to make a home will go a long way in reminding you that space is just space — it’s the people and love inside that make it a home.
4. Go natural.
Being surrounded by nature has significant benefits for those going through a divorce. “There is an astounding amount of research that supports the healing benefits of nature for both body and mind,” says Andra Brosh, Ph.D., contributing writer for GoodTherapy.org.
Brosh continues, “In green spaces, for example, people’s heart rates decrease, their muscles relax, and they become calmer. You can probably attest to this by noticing how you feel when you walk on a busy city street compared to your experience of walking in a park.”
To turn your new space into a stress-free home, invest in house plants and buy fresh flowers. Use Sunset’s Ultimate Guide to Indoor Plants to decide which ones you want.
5. Express yourself with home décor.
It’s empowering to be in charge of a whole house, right down to every last decorating detail. Those sheets you always loved but could never justify to your spouse? Get them! Want to create a shabby chic cottage feel in your living room? Do it.
Better yet: decorate your home in ways that will inspire you to start fresh and focus on the things that make you happy. Turn your spare room into a crafting space and add a meditation corner in your bedroom. Soon, your home will feel even better than the one before — because you made it.
Turning your new space into a home may feel like a daunting task that’s too emotionally draining to attempt. Add these tasks to your to-do list to tackle this project over time. Sooner than later you’ll be feeling confident, empowered and comfortable in the space you’ll proudly call your home.
About the Author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer and content marketing consultant. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter at @Jlsander07 for money-saving ideas, health tips, and more.