What does home mean to you?

How do you see your home? What does it mean to you? I’ve always been very keen on making my space, no matter how big or small, very like me. A reflection of me as a person. While sharing a bedroom with my younger sister when we were growing up (we had only a wardrobe as a divider), I styled my shelves with my favourite books, which some of them I wrapped in my favourite wrapping paper. I had pictures above my bed that inspired me. My bedding was bold and colourful.


Later on when I had my first apartment remodelled (by moi) I created an inspirational wall in my small kitchen which I covered from top to bottom with editorial images from my favourite fashion magazines. It was my own bespoke art wall. The theme was colourful, chic and elegant. Apart from editorial photos, you could find Chanel and Dior perfume ads among runway models in latest collections of the 90s. Anything that I was drawn to while flicking through magazines I just ripped out and stuck it on the wall. It was very organic, the images were overlapping and constantly changing.

I didn’t realise it at that time but I was already “making my own stamp” on my home. I wasn’t influenced by trends or anybody else. I took some ideas that I thought were cool at that time and made them my own. For example, I had calacatta tiled flooring throughout the apartment which was very unusual for that type of building. Everybody else had wooden floors and I had stone. Everybody else had chrome door handles, I had gold ones. I worked in a 5 star hotel at that time dealing with guests all day, showing them around so while we were in the Presidential Suite I was mentally taking notes and ideas I could use in my own home.


To me home is the expression of myself and my family. It’s a place we all love coming back to after a hard day at work or school. We love spending time at home and just chill. It’s a place where we all feel ourselves and safe. It’s a place where we recharge, get inspired and motivated. Even though it’s colourful, it’s calming at the same time. It’s not chaotic, it’s welcoming, comforting and warm.

Being well travelled also gave me the knowledge how to view my home. Living in different countries and adapting to different cultures, daily routines and lifestyle was a great experience. A massive realisation came to me in Zurich where we lived for 2 years. I was so impressed by the high standard of the rented apartments we lived in. It was clear that the Swiss (at least in the area we were in) love to make their home very practical and so easy to live in.


One apartment in particular we had was on the top floor of a traditional modern “family house”. The owners lived downstairs and the upstairs apartment was for rent. The apartment itself was very spacious modern open plan living/kitchen/dining space with white walls and floors. The living room had black sofa and armchairs with a wood burning fireplace in the middle. It was a blank canvas I could draw on and inject some of our style into it.

But the eye-opener wasn’t the style or the colour scheme it was the quality of everything installed in that apartment. The rainforest shower and high tech WC in the bathroom. The Miele wine cooler, steamer oven and induction hob in the kitchen.  The remote controlled window shutters. The steam ironing system. To me that was like a mini revolution. I never used that kind of iron before and when I did I thought how this simple thing makes my life so much easier!  The equipment, appliances, furniture and pretty much all the materials were high end quality.

What I realised was that from the outside it looked pretty average. But clearly the owners invested everything in that home. They didn’t drive flashy cars and didn’t wear designer clothes but their home was everything you ever dreamed of. The kitchen was such pleasure to cook in. The whole space was very well thought out and every inch was utilised. Even cleaning the place was a nice chore to do!

What they’re done was that they shifted their priorities to their home. And rightly so. On average we spend more than a third of our lives at home and around 90% of our time indoors.


Again I took inspiration for that and started to look at my home differently. I thought if I could look at it with the similar approach I don’t need anything else., I’m happy! We swapped our gas hob with induction and had steamer oven installed (I’m still waiting for my wine cooler!). I also try to buy environmentally friendly products as much as possible. I’m more “eco” conscious and practical. I don’t buy anything for my home which hasn’t got any purpose or function.

As Diane Von Furstenberg said “The most important thing, in both fashion and your home, is to know who you are and be true to that”. So next time you are about to embark on your renovating or decorating project, approach it differently. Think about what you want your home to feel, smell and look like but also think about how practical it should be. It’s mostly the little things that will make a huge improvement in your life.

Think about how you can translate your personality into your home. Are you fun and outgoing? Colour is your friend. Are you the opposite? Consider art as a way of expressing yourself at home.


1. Colour

I know it can be hard to decorate with colour especially bold colours but find the courage and overcome your fear of doing something wrong. Start by picking your absolute favourite one. From there pick other 3 to make 4 core colour scheme. Build you space around these colours. I understand it’s quite hard to make the first step so start small. Cloakrooms, hallways or kids rooms are perfect for this. You’ll see that your confidence is growing with each new decorating project. From there move in your living area and bedroom. All you have to do is just start somewhere.

2. Art

Art is such a personal element which so many people don’t see as important. Having art on the walls, creating an art wall or collection is one of the best things you can do for your home. Don’t buy anything that doesn’t speak to you. Art needs to trigger a feeling or mood. If your walls look little bit tired cheer them up with a colourful picture that makes you happy and upbeat. If you’re more about complexity and “the hidden meanings” look for art that is layered and interesting.

3. Textiles

I can’t believe how many of you underestimate the power of textiles. More specifically the power of rug, curtain or cushion. They are the easiest game changers. They instantly lift and show the mood of your home. To me a home without textiles is like walking around naked. Honestly, I can’t stress it enough. A simple cushion on armchair makes such a big difference. Approach fabrics and rugs as in a same way as art. Look for patterns, colours and textures that speak to you. Are you more drawn to geometric, graphic shapes or florals and ikats? Do you prefer plain fabric but textured? Take your time to think about it and don’t settle for this-will-do-for-now.

Home is about who we are. It should bring us joy. It should be a place where we can escape to and just be! What does home mean to you? Are you going to reconsider your own approach to your home after reading this? Are you going to change your priorities and give your home more love? Add your comment below!

While you here you might also like 7 tips on adding personality into your room. Plus you can download my FREE How to add colour into your room GUIDE here.

Karolina Barnes Studio