Making your home more personal

(BPT) – With so many TV shows, publications, websites and social networks focusing on home design, gathering expert tips and real-world inspirations to make over your home is easier than ever. Use these sources of inspiration and ideas as a starting point, and inject personality by adding layers to the space with individual touches that will truly make it your own.

The key to making a home uniquely special to the people who share the space is ensuring that the decor tells a story. A set of cream sofas, beige pillows, pale khaki curtains and a large wooden coffee table may create a safe, neutral palette, but it’s highly unlikely that it reflects who you are. Consider what you’re passionate about: literature, fashion, food, music, nature, travel. These inspirations should be communicated in your home decor – from the paint color used on your walls to the accessories you place in a cozy corner.   

Introducing new color is one of the easiest ways to personalize your space. White walls and wood tones can be appropriate, but not in every room of your home. Reinvent a room by rejuvenating old furniture or giving tired walls (or even the ceiling) a fresh look with bold colors that best reflect your style. Narrow your paint color choices by looking to things that you already love. Pull colors from a decorative plate, pillow or even a striking flower. Or consider letting your favorite song inspire your home’s color palettes with paintlist by Dutch Boy, a free smartphone app that analyzes genre, mood and tempo to translate music into actual Dutch Boy color palettes. Download it to get started at

After selecting the color palette for your space, consider additional elements that best reflect who you are, and showcase your passions and memories. Some things to consider include:

* Meaningful art – In addition to pieces by professional artists, show off the personal pieces created by you or someone you love. For a sentimental display, arrange all family artwork on one wall – your son’s carefully sketched family of stick people, or his handprint-inspired Thanksgiving turkey alongside your daughter’s angel drawing. And keep in mind, not everything has to be framed. The wall will feel more organic and natural if the picture frames and loose papers don’t match perfectly.

* Coveted places – If you’ve always fantasized about living on the coast or in a cabin near the woods, try incorporating shells and modern rope decor, or repurposed wood and patchwork patterns into your space. Start small and incorporate themed items into a bathroom, where simple additions can make a big impact.

* Hobbies and activities – Do you love to bike through the mountains or city streets? Hang a bicycle on your living room wall. Display paddles over your mantel if you love to canoe down Canadian rivers each summer. Or repurpose some old boxes of your favorite wine to stack and use as a bookshelf.

* Sensory appeal – Personalizing your home doesn’t only mean incorporating visual items. It involves textures, sounds and scents too. Keep pretty dishes of your favorite candies or chocolates around the house – especially in the rooms that you and guests frequent. And because smell is one of the strongest triggers for memory, consider lighting candles or incense associated with your favorite moments – like homemade apple pie on Thanksgiving or outdoor scents like vanilla sandalwood in the winter.

Whether you try these recommendations or experiment with other ways to make your home more personal, simply look to your everyday life for your home inspirations. Start with things you love, like music, activities or even food, to give your home the special touches that make it welcoming, beautiful and uniquely you.