Here are some tips from our editorial team on how to create that lived-in nurturing look in a new overseas home, and as fast as possible:
Just about every expat parent will have felt guilty when they tore their child away from a beloved home and friends as they moved on to a new overseas location.
Parents, but probably especially mums, are driven (perhaps too hard) to get everything feeling and looking as homely as fast as possible – to provide an island of the known in an unknown place.
The first thing we all do when our removal boxes arrive is make up beds and unpack the kettle for a cup of tea! But here are some other quick-fixes that might help settle your children:
Create a family photo wall
It doesn’t matter if the frames don’t match, the more eclectic the better in some homes. Keeping the happy memories fresh will help children to move on to the start creating new ones.
Use your expat collections to create “loved that” country zones
We’ve all got collections of trinkets and even useful things from our world travels…use them to create points of interest around the home…they make good places for reflection.
Use lots of soft textiles to cosy up on the couch
Create places where your children – especially teens – can curl up and get cosy while they keep in touch with friends while they listen to music (instead of them disappearing into their rooms for hours).
Go overboard with big, leafy, indoor plants
This is especially important if you’ve come from a place that was lush with vegetation and you’ve moved to an apartment or a desert!
Straight lines are less welcoming
If your new home has lots of straight, hard lines, break them up with soft edges, it’ll make the room look more cosy (you can go back to straight lines once every one has settled in). Use circular floor rugs, cushions and plush throws over straight-backed sofas.
Doesn’t everyone loves strings of little ‘fairy’ lights at Christmas, so why not have that “ahh” factor all year-round? Hang string of lights in your children’s bedrooms…they always create a homely feeling.
Attack your clutter
Try to keep clutter to a minimum – hard when you just move in. But clutter unsettles people, even children – though they may not realise it.
Small space – create space
If you’re moving to a smaller space, create some space using mirrors and colour blocks on the walls.
Have some good smells floating in the air
Smells are so evocative of a place and can stir wonderful memories. It’s easy to bring an aroma inside that you all loved with essential oils, candles and potpourri.