How to create a living space you love

Expat Life, Life

April 4, 2021

We’ve all been spending a LOT of time at home over the past year and I’m pretty sure most of us have tried to spruce up our living spaces at some point. Whether that’s creating a cute Zoom backdrop, buying a few house plants, or doing a full on re-modeling, being at home all the time has forced us to re-imagine our living spaces. To me, I’ve always experimented with DIY decor. I was definitely that kid who watched YouTube room-renovations and tested out all the DIYs – which somehow never seemed to fully work!

Over the past year I’ve been at home in my bedroom all day long and so I took it upon myself to spruce things up again and create a space that I really love. I think that having a space that feels like your own really makes a difference in productivity and mood! It honestly doesn’t have to be a big and expensive endeavour, just a few tweaks here and there. In this blog post I’m going to share some of my most effective hacks for re-designing your living space. Most of these hacks are super simple and don’t cost much. I hope they’re helpful!

Create some mood boards

Creating a mood board is not some trivial task that interior designers do, but really something that just helps you get your ideas in order and get some inspiration from others! My favorite thing to do it go onto Pinterest and create a board of inspiration photos. I’ll start pinning a few to get ideas from them and create my own vision. Even if you’re not looking to do a full on re-design, it’s still a good idea to have an end vision in mind.

Start simple

Often I think that people think they have to change EVERYTHING about their living space when re-designing it. But really there are so many small things that make a huge difference and that are way more cost-effective than changing every single item! You can always start simple and change more later if you’re still not happy. In this post my goal is to share a lot of those simple switches with you that will make a huge difference.

Decide on a color scheme

Deciding on a color scheme does not mean you have to have a specific palette and you can only own items in those colors! Instead, it just means that you pick out a few base colors that you keep coming back to. In my room you’ll see that the colors I keep going back to are mostly whites, greens, and the wood-y brown tones. Having an underlying color scheme helps bring everything together even though it’s not all matchy-matchy.

De-clutter!

I can not emphasize this enough! You do not want to be re-designing a room and trying to find a home for a bunch of items you don’t need anymore, they’ll just get in your way. By all means keep any items you want to store or that are sentimental, but there’s no reason to keep your old notebooks from middle school (I’m guilty of that, when I re-designed my room I had to throw those out!)

Make the simple switches

Re-designing a space to fit with a color scheme does not mean buying everything new! Take a look at the space around you – what simple switches can you make to create a more cohesive space? One really simple thing I did in my room was flip all my books around. I knew I wanted to have my old books in my room, but the different-colored covers just didn’t work with the minimalist vibe I was going for. Since I wasn’t reaching for these books regularly, I just ended up switching them around so that only the white and beige pages are shown; this goes way better with the color scheme I have in my room! Nothing thrown away, nothing new brought, just some re-purposing!

Similarly, you can think about making simple adjustments to big items that will make a difference. For example, if you’re re-decorating a room, think about switching out bed sheets or pillows. Changing these large blocks of space to a more neutral color or an accent color that fits your theme will make a huge difference and is way more cost-effective than changing everything else in the room!

Get smart with the storage

There will always be those items that you need to keep but that don’t necessarily look good on display. Things look way more cluttered if you just leave them out in a heap or even if you put them all in one corner. Something really easy that you can do is to invest in some bins or baskets that you can store all these bits and bobs in. It will be much more organized and pleasing to the eye!

Make it personal

It’s all well and good having a great looking space with a color scheme, but it has to feel like your own! I love to sprinkle in lots of personal photos or mementos. I have a lot of framed photos in my room as well as little things that I’ve picked up over time or received from friends. You’ll see that I have a little garland hanging in my room that my friend made herself as a graduation gift to me. Or, I have a stack of old audiobook CDs as I used to listen to so many audiobooks on my old CD player growing up! It’s those little bits and bobs that bring a place to life!

Plants are always a good idea

Whether you want to take the plunge and get some real plants or just settle for some fake ones instead, I don’t think you can go wrong with some greenery! They’re an excellent filler for space and just make everything look so much more cozy and home-like. Real plants also have added health benefits as well as being beautiful!

Keep on re-evaluating

It took me ages to reach a space that I really love! If you’re not looking to do a huge re-design and you’re just doing things on a small scale, then it will take a while to work out if something works or if you think it looks good – be patient and keep re-evaluating!


I am by no means a designer, but I’m super interested in these kinds of things and I wanted to share some of the advice I’ve picked up over the years! I hope that some of it was helpful to you and will help you create a living space that you genuinely love. I think it is SO important at the moment to feel happy and comfortable in our own spaces, and it definitely has a huge impact on our mood!

Let me know in the comments if there are any tips you’d add to this list.

See you next week!

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