home away from home

Designing Your Home Away from Home to Fit Your Personality

When it comes time to get away, many people retreat to their personal home away from home, their special vacation house. With some ingenuity and little elbow grease, your getaway place can be warm, welcoming, and a total reflection of your personal style. Creative storage, unique accessories, and a personalized color palette can transform a ho-hum space into a place that is hard to leave.

1. Assess the Space
When thinking about renovating a vacation home, stand back and take a good look at the area. What satisfies you about it the most? What bothers you about it the most? Are there architectural features you would like to highlight? Perhaps the windows offer a wonderful view, or the beamed ceiling adds a cozy, old world element. Does the room offering comfortable places for people to gather and relax? Is it looking well-kept or does it need a little TLC? Don’t be afraid to dream big and write your thoughts down.

2. Organize the Space
Your grandmother had it right: a place for everything and everything in its place. Vacation homes often have special organizing needs for the equipment that may be hanging around. Inexpensive clamp hooks mounted in a convenient corner by the door can hold fishing poles of all shapes and sizes. Racks on the porch can hold skis, sleds, and snowshoes. Rainy day books and games may fit well on open shelves, while smaller items like markers and cards can rest in pretty baskets on the shelves.

3. Corral the Kitchen
As in everyday homes, the kitchen is often a popular gathering spot in getaways, but they tend to be smaller. Keeping them looking bright and fresh adds a friendly overtone to the entire home. A quick way to spruce up the kitchen is with cabinet refacing. Much less expensive than tearing out and replacing the cupboards, refacing adds a new glow to tired cabinets. You or an experienced professional can strip off years of paint or varnish and then either paint or stain the wood, making it look like new. Pick a color scheme that makes you smile each time you see it. Maximize that cupboard space with sliding shelves and on-the-door storage.

4. Freshen the Fabrics
When you were assessing the space, what thoughts did you have about the furniture? It may not be in your budget to go out and buy new, but it is possible to give your pieces a fresh look. Upholstery may have stains from over the years. A high quality couch cleaning may work wonders. Add some pillows, a slipcover, a unique throw, some new curtains and a different arrangement and to bring a whole new dimension to the room.

5. Store More
Since vacation homes are usually smaller than our everyday homes, storage becomes even more important. Look toward furniture like ottomans that can also hold everyday items. Built in cupboards, even if shallow, can double for pantry space. Clever ways to use space under the stairs may give you more space for stuff than you ever thought possible. Bob Vila offer some great ideas to outfit that wasted space under the stairs or to turn steps themselves into drawers. In the bathroom, trying hanging apple baskets top facing out and using them to store rolled towels for a space saving rustic look.

6. Add “You.”
It’s often the little touches that make a house a home, and that’s true in vacation homes as well. Showcase a special collection, photos, travel memorabilia, or mementos that are special to you. Guests will love to hear the stories behind them and you will be surrounded by pleasant memories and interests.
Your vacation home should be the perfect place to relax, not a burden to maintain. Clearing the clutter, refacing cupboards, maximizing storage, and using accessories that imbue it with your personality and values will keep your home a place you want to return to as often as possible.

Guest Author Bio: Lee Flynn is a freelance writer who trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy living, and home organization.

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