Back to Online Newspapers

Embrace your space

Tips for turning a temporary space into a home

Paint a wall with chalk paint for your guests to sign when they visit. Photo credit: Gwyn Nielsen

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Frequent moving is part of the story of most military families' lives. It can be sad when you have to leave one home for the next, but it can be exciting, too. What if you choose to look at your next move as a trial run for your forever home? This could provide a unique opportunity to figure out your family style before investing long term.

Here are a few of my personal decorating ideas and tips, which I have used to turn a temporary space into a home.

Study your space. All homes have special characteristics, and these can be viewed as strengths or weaknesses. Your home will have colors and styles that either flatter or distort. Great news! Every space has different assets that can be highlighted through good design and styling. Start the adventure by studying a home's architectural style as well as the era in which it was built. Make personal notes about what you observe. This will provide context as well as inspiration. Visit Pinterest and start a board for that era and design. Observing how others have decorated similar rooms with a similar style and shape will help point you in the right direction.

No need to rush. Make decorating and design fun. Just because your neighbors have unpacked their household goods in seven days, set up a backyard oasis complete with a fountain and a vegetable garden, and are already hosting a backyard barbeque doesn't mean you need to keep up. Pressure only leads to frustration. Skip feeling unnecessary pressure over unfinished projects. Make a list and tackle one project at a time. In between, open your door to guests without an explanation of why your space is not 100 percent. Better yet, head over to the neighbor's barbeque to unwind and make new friends.

Style takes time. A space that nurtures your lifestyle, reflects your family's personality, and feels like home requires preplanning, preparing and executing. HGTV's Room In A Day is not exactly realistic. Sure, you just watched them do it in 30 minutes, with commercials, but I guarantee that many hours went into planning and preparation. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to plan, prepare and execute without hesitation. Sometimes, you have to see things in the space to determine if they are a match -- remind yourself that everything is changeable. Change guides you. Embrace making mistakes and keep an "in progress" attitude.

Decorating ideas

  • Replace overhead light fixtures with chandeliers
  • Paint a wall with chalk paint and have guests sign it when they visit. (Visit and search DIY Wall Graffiti and DIY Bubble Bath Tray)
  • Hang or lean a large mirror against a wall to make a room look larger
  • Pull one color from a piece of furniture and paint one wall to accent a room
  • Change knobs and pulls on drawers and cabinets to add character
  • Use tension rods in windows and drape several fabrics in different patterns and textures instead of using curtains
  • Paint the backs of book cases to add depth
  • Hang rugs as wall treatments
  • Decorate small spaces such as table tops with only three textures such as glass, fabric and paper, or live plants, metals and clay.
  • Pick up frames in different shapes and textures and paint them the same color. Re-print photos in the same tones for the frames, and group them together on a wall or a mantel

Study your present space, avoid rushing and conquer one project at a time. Choose to have fun, and love the space you are presently in by practicing personal style and design, and visualize your temporary space as a step toward your family's forever home masterpiece.

Gwyn Nielsen is a military wife, volunteer, public speaker, and founder of

Read next close


Three easy pieces

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search