There comes an instance when you move in to a new place, whether it’s an apartment or a house, and there is just a complete lack of character in the place, a certain lack of substance that needs to be remedied fairly quickly if you’re going to adapt to, and adopt, your new home. Beyond the essentials like bedding and sofas, I’m going to give you five things that will automatically make your new home more ‘home-like’. These five things can fall into categories of functional, decorative or even both, but they do the job of making you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.

The first thing to buy is something which has improved every characterless apartment I have lived in; the floor lamp. A floor lamp, if you don’t know, are the lamps you put in corners, on the floor, that can range from two to five, or even 6 feet high. They have entire sections dedicated to them in most department stores and can come extremely cheap. Ikea, for example, have a very acceptable floor lamp with a black stand and long silver neck for around ?7. Believe me, for that price, it is well worth it. The beauty of floor lamps is that rather than having the full glare of the ceiling light beaming around the room, they create a fairly subtle and comfortable glow that is very pleasant to work or relax in. An additional benefit is that that they take up space that may otherwise look empty and therefore give the rooms in your new house a satisfying fullness, otherwise missing. Decorative, functional and cheap, what more can you ask for?

Secondly, an absolute must that improves a new abode no ends are mirrors. A room without a mirror lacks the light and apparent capaciousness of a room with one. As with the floor lamps, you can buy mirrors for next to nothing from the usual suspects but I would also recommend looking in charity shops that sell furniture. It is possible to obtain some very nice, cheap mirrors from such places. Mirrors have the effect of increasing light and space in a room, which is sometimes necessary in smaller rooms that lack a natural abundance of either.

Next, something that is not technically as functional as the two items mentioned above but, I believe, are fantastic purchases nonetheless; the market sold tapestry. They can come in various forms, some look like huge Persian style scarfs, some with colourful Indian inflections. Either way, they are great for hanging on walls and giving rooms a bit of character and homeliness. Just put drawing pins in four corners of the tapestry and your room will immediately look better.

The penultimate purchase you should make in order to make yourself feel more at home and to impress your guests is a wall clock. This may sound slightly silly but cheap, stylish clocks are easy to find at markets, or in stores. They provide the obvious function but, like the mirrors and lamps, provide a decorative touch. You can even buy wall clocks that double as a mirror! Perfect.

Finally, candles are a great way to add a touch of comfort to your new home. Tea lights are the usual way to do this as you can buy big packs of them for next-to-nothing and you some very nice glass holders for even cheaper. Scented candles are even better as they make your new place smell exactly how you want it to smell. Again, functional yet homely.

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