Getting That New-Home Feel: Tips for Settling Into Your New House

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By Natalie Jones

Everyone gets excited about moving into a brand-new house. It’s a thrilling time once you’ve finally made it through the gauntlet of financing, house hunting, and the closing process, and found a reputable moving company. It’s a lot of work and very hectic, so once it’s finally yours, it’s natural to feel elated that the property you and your family have coveted from the first time you strolled through the front door and got that “This-is-it!” feeling.

But it takes a while to get everything the way you want it and feeling like home. You’ll spend a few weeks looking for the screwdriver, Scotch tape, the good oven mitts, and your favorite underwear. While getting oriented in your new digs, consider a few tips for making things look and feel as homelike as possible until you’re fully moved in and satisfied with your new living space.

Kids first

Make the children’s rooms a priority since they’re the ones who’ll likely have the hardest time getting settled in and comfortable. Moving is often hard on youngsters, especially when they’ve left behind good friends, familiar surroundings, and years of happy memories. Set up their beds and their chests of drawers and unpack any personal items that have special meaning for them. The more you can do to make them comfortable and engaged in what’s going on, the easier it’ll be for your kids to adjust and get into the swing of things.

Closet space

Most people take closet space under careful consideration when choosing a new home, often because they want or need more. Rather than tearing open boxes and cluttering the space with items that’ll take a while to go through, focus on putting together your closets first. If you’ve moved in over the weekend and have to show up at work on Monday, it’ll be necessary to find the clothing, shoes, ties, and belts you’ll need. This is also a good place to start as you work toward organizing the entire house. Once the “must-haves” are put away where you want them, it’ll be a bit easier to begin unpacking the boxes with stuff meant for the common rooms.

Familiar visual and auditory reminders of home

Much of the nostalgia people feel for their home environment has to do with the senses, those things that enter the brain and memory as visual, auditory, and olfactory stimuli. You probably have favorite family photos or framed prints that can be hung as comforting reminders of shared experiences. The kids may have loved the sound a cuckoo clock makes when it strikes the hour, something that’s been part of their lives since they were toddlers. Unpack and hang up anything that’ll put a smile on everyone’s face. Add a lovely wreath above the mantel or fireplace, and set out fresh flowers. 

Pleasing aromas

With the possible exception of sight, the sense of smell is more evocative of nostalgic and sentimental feelings than any other. Once you’ve made everyone’s favorite meal and allowed the smells of cooking to waft through the house, it’ll begin to feel much more like home. Light some scented candles or set out potpourri if there are any lingering smells from the previous owners (pet odors, stale cigarette smoke, etc.).

Easy maintenance

Break out the broom, vacuum cleaner, duster, and furniture polish and get to work on any cleaning that the previous owners didn’t get to. You can put off doing a deep clean for later. For now, you want a clean, livable space during the unpacking process. Consider getting a humidifier if you’re worried about breathing air that’s less than clean or if dry skin is a problem. A humidifier can also help with the upkeep of your new home because it will help prevent wood from cracking and warping. Just be sure to replace the filter regularly to help increase the lifespan of your humidifier. 

Making a new house a home takes time and patience. You can’t expect to walk in, unpack a couple of boxes, and find your groove right away. It takes time to get used to the space and layout, living in a new area, and finding the stores you patronize most. Start with the small things and try not to rush the process.


Natlie and her husband Jason recently purhcased their very first home. Their website, homeownerbliss.info, is dedicated to helping others navigate the frustrations first-time homeownership with tips on everything from mortages to pet ownership.

If you’d like information on homeownership, DIY projects, or ideas on how to make a house a home, please visit their website and drop them a line!

Lisa Geraci Rigoni