When you first move into your new home it can be challenging to know where to begin decorating. If you are in the military and moving into an on base home it can be even more of a challenge. As a military spouse with over 20 years of service I have had a lot of experience moving into many different houses but I also have learned how to make a house into a home that I love. Here are my 5 basic tips for decorating a military house:
1. Paint, paint, and more paint.
No matter what type of home you move into there is no easier way to personalize a space than with paint. I can honestly say I have never moved into a home (even one that I built) without painting it at some point. I know, that may sound crazy but it’s true. I will grow tired of a room and want a change, so I paint it. Painting really is so easy and affordable. It will totally transform a space. Obviously you need to check with your base housing office to see what rules there may in place before running to your local home improvement store to grab paint. But most of the time as long as you are willing to put in the work and have it painted back to the original “vanilla” white or beige, when you move out, you can paint it. So if you move into a home on base and wonder how can I personalize this space on a small budget, I recommend you PAINT!
This simple little addition of fabric to your windows can add so much warmth to a room. Curtains add personality to a space. You can have a room with completely neutral colors and then add a patterned fabric or textured fabric to your windows and BOOM the space looks totally different. You don’t need to spend a fortune when buying curtains either. Check out your local Wal-Mart, Target, Home Goods, or even Amazon for great deals. In addition, I suggest you stick with curtain panels instead of any other variation of curtain style simply because they are the most versatile. Since window widths vary, panels give you the ability to literally stretch the width simply by adding more or less. You will also want to hang the panels as high to the ceiling as possible to create the illusion of height and space to your room. I recommend buying enough panels to go at least 4-5 inches on either side of the window and hang about 4-5 inches from the ceiling. The window will actually look twice the size using this method. You are sure to transform the room simply by hanging curtains.
3. Area Rugs.
Just like curtains, adding a texture or pattern to your floor can have the exact same effect to warm or lighten and brighten your space. Most homes on base have basic beige carpet or tile so adding an area rug can totally transform the feel of the room. Not to mention, if you have a home with tile or some other type of hard flooring you get the warming benefit by adding carpet. If you have a room with carpet already don’t think you can’t add more carpet with a rug over top. I’m here to tell you can! Rugs are also very affordable and can be found at your local home store. I typically find great deals by searching online. A good rule of thumb when choosing an area rug for your space is make sure most of your furniture is touching the rug. For example, if you have a couch, coffee table, and chair in the room. You want to place the rug so that the corners of the couch and the coffee table will all be under the rug. You don’t want a rug so small that it looks like a lone island sitting on your floor. The idea is that the rug connects all your furniture together. So think of it as a way to connect the dots if you were to put a point on each piece of furniture.
4. A gallery wall.
Artwork is also a great way to add warmth and transform a room. If you decide not to paint and your walls are a neutral color by adding colorful prints and art you can create the illusion of depth to the space. Hanging large prints will make the room look bigger. Hanging a gallery wall will give you lots of options to personalize the space without actually changing anything so that’s why it is my favorite decorating option for a base house. Just remember when you hang pictures to work in odd numbers. It’s weird but it will allow your eye to continue to travel across the room and seem balanced more so than even patterns. However, if you decide to hang pictures over or around your TV count your TV as another picture. So that is a time to hang even numbers.
I cannot tell you enough how much lighting impacts a room. Have you ever walked into a room with only overhead lights on? It is like your walking into a waiting room at a hospital. On the flip side, think of when you have walked into a room with a few lamps placed around the room. When you walk into a room well lit the tendency is to immediately feel a sense of warmth and comfort. The warm glow around the space just looks and feels better. Lighting can be tricky so you have to be careful in how many lamps you decide to place and also the wattage of the bulbs. But, I recommend adding a lamp to at least 2 out of 3 of the tables you have in a room. For example, if you have a couch with 2 side tables and/or a console table you could add lamps to the side tables or add both lamps on the console table. You also want to add a lamp near or behind any area that is intended for reading. You want both functional lighting and decorative lighting in a room. Again lighting doesn’t really have to cost much and can certainly be moved with you when you go. So be sure to add it to your next base house to help make that house a warm and cozy home.
I hope these 5 easy and simple decorating tips will help you create a space that you love in your next home. As a military family it can be difficult to ever feel like we are settled. But by adding these 5 things to your next space you are sure to make it feel like a home.