Daily Life Inspiration

Im/material Things

I’ve always enjoyed collecting things — tiny stones and vintage picture books, silk scarves and handmade earrings. I didn’t realize how little time I’ve had to care for my small collections, until I returned from Vietnam. Always ready to pack my belongings into portable suitcases, I’d forgotten about them. It never takes me long to pick out what I need, pack, and leave. The hardest part, the part I haven’t quite mastered, is staying.

When I was 17 and leaving home after graduation, I asked my parents to keep my room. It’d be too sad to come home to my parent’s place one day, and realize I no longer had a place there. And throughout my travels and life abroad, knowing that I had a semi-permanent homebase and a stable mailing address was a source of comfort. I’d come home with all my battered suitcases, put them down, and fall asleep in my tiny bed, surrounded by things I’d collected. But I knew that I didn’t really live there anymore.

Like the second-coming of Jacques Lacan’s mirror stage, the realization tastes bittersweet. My childhood bedroom is slowly getting emptied out, with my books in boxes and everything else in donation bags. But it’s a brand new start.

My favorite nook by the window, where I drink coffee in the morning.

My simple room set-up, so far.

Some nice things from the Laura Ashley catalog. I’d like some cozy blankets and hot chocolate mugs!

It’s been stressful yet rewarding to find a home and move into my new place in New York. Besides dealing with brokers and applications, I was totally stumped when I realized I needed to find my own furniture. I’d gotten used to moving into pre-furnished places. When it comes down to it, choosing good bedroom furniture can make a difference. I don’t own very much yet, but I have a big comfy bed with a memory foam mattress topper.

I’m starting to really feel at home here. I already have two little house plants, though no wall art yet. My friend Amanda also just moved into a new place, and she’s been posting some fun DIY projects. I’ve never reupholstered furniture, but she makes it look so easy and colorful. I’m really looking forward to working on apartment projects this autumn.

P.S. Please do share if you have any advice for making a new place feel more like home.


  • Reply
    Veronica Fish
    September 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Creature comforts are so essential, aren’t they?

  • Reply
    September 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    the mug looks happy and homey. in a new place, even the smallest, most familiar item, makes it feel like home šŸ™‚ that said, I ought to keep less things.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Your nook by the window looks wonderful! Ever since I first heard of a breakfast nook, I’ve always wanted one! I also love your mug! It’s so pretty.

    My favorite way to make a place feel homey is to scatter lamps throughout a room. There’s something about a room lit only by lamps that feels really cozy and makes me want to settle in. I never use the overhead light in my bedroom because it feels harsh compared to the light from the lamps.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I can imagine how difficult it is to have to have our own home. But it worths. A comfy and lovely home is the most wonderful place after a day-long tiring work.
    Also, your room looks simple but really nice:))))

  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

    As long as I have a comfy bed, and all my kitchen appliances, I think I could do without a lot of furniture (for what ever time being)
    That’s so great you’re going to a piece reupholster furniture! Actually, I want to repaint an old dresser that my family wants to through out.
    It has real potential.
    I think by doing these things, painting/reupholstering furniture, and creating DIY projects for your home, one will especially start to make a new place feel like home. Because when one does these things, whatever they have made becomes familiar to them.
    I can’t wait to see what kind of ideas you’ll have for these apartment projects. I’m sure it’s going to be terrific!
    all the best!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I really love adding potted plants or a jar of flowers to a room to make it feel more homey Sewon, your little place looks really cool, I’m sure it will feel like home soon enough.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Love your coffe mug!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    When I moved into my place two years ago, making it look and feel like home was my first priority. I like to be surrounded by reminders of where I’ve been and the people who have helped me to grow and learn so much. I covered my bedroom with photos of meaningful places and times from my travels as well as my years at W&M and before. They are arranged in tasteful groupings of 3×5 pics so that that walls aren’t completely covered. I also made sure to put all my books in a large bookcase prominently in my room; books also make me feel at home! And I hung and scattered the various things I’ve collected on my walls, dresser, and desk. I think decorations mean so much more when they have sentimental value. Why not pick a few of your favorite photos and get them made into larger prints? Then you can frame them and have instant wall art!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I’m in the same headspace as well. If all goes to plan I’ll be moving out by the end of the year and it’s so scary (but exciting) to be able to make a home someplace other than my childhood home. I’m excited for what the future will bring šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Camila Faria
    September 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Your house is looking pretty lovely. I have to find a new place myself, so I now (a little) how you feel. And I adore your coffee cup.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I understand how you feel, I have had to move three times this year (once to a new country and then twice within the country)! Finding out how little, or indeed how much, one needs to feel “at home” is a challenge. So far I’ve found a couple posters that are easy to roll up, a good pillow, a few books that I love enough to reread multiple times and my laptop are enough to make me feel grounded and give my new place a sense of continuity.

  • Reply
    September 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I always wondered if I’d ever be able to find a place I could actually settle into and have there for me for when I come home from travels. All my sentimental things are locked away in my parents’ shed. Everything else I owned was on my back when I arrived in Mexico. The only places I’ve ever thought, ‘Ooh, I could definitely get a real place here was Camden (in London) and San Francisco. Maybe I’ll find a more practical place one day. šŸ™‚

    By the way, I absolute adore these photos. Everything looks so new and gorgeous.

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