How to Create the Feeling of Home in a New Area

A big move can be a daunting experience, so make it easier for yourself with these helpful ideas

Original article first published on Houzz

Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

If you’ve ever made a big move, whether to a different county or a different country, you are probably familiar with that uprooted feeling that comes along with leaving everything known for something different and new. It can be exciting but also… terrifying. How do you build a life in a new place? When you’re wondering how to find the supermarket, navigate the tube and perhaps even learn a new language, having a warm, cosy, comfortable place where you can rest your head becomes even more important than usual. Making a home away from home is hard — get the ball rolling by trying out one or more of these ideas.

Set up a routine
When you arrive in a new place, whether it’s a different city or a different continent, a daily routine can help create a feeling of normalcy. Seek out a few spots in your local area – a café, bakery and newsagent, for instance – and visit them each day. Smile and say hello (or bonjour or ciao) to the shopkeeper, sip your coffee, eat breakfast and repeat. After a few days of this, you and the shopkeepers (and maybe a few other regulars) will get to recognise one another, making the greetings more familiar and perhaps warmer.



Shop and cook à la Julia Child
Channel Julia Child, who famously explored France, often solo, while her diplomat husband Paul Child was busy working. Although Julia must have stuck out in a sea of native Parisians, she fully embraced the experience by tapping into her passion for food — something people of all cultures understand. Give yourself a mission to explore the markets and local foods of whatever area you have moved to, whether that’s Paris or Edinburgh.

Learn more about where you are
It’s natural to feel out of sorts when you first arrive in a new place — but don’t let that discomfort turn to feeling judgmental or bitter about the differences between where you are now and where you used to live. Read books about the area and the culture. Sign up for a language course or join a conversation group. Cultivate an attitude of optimism and curiosity about your surroundings.



Create a sanctuary in your bedroom
Exploring a new city can be exhausting, especially if there are language differences involved. Give yourself the gift of an utterly safe and comforting place in which to land at the end of each day by making your bedroom the ultimate sanctuary. Soft lighting, lovely bedding, a scented candle, cosy slippers and perhaps a small radio or a phone dock so you can listen to your favourite music will help the space feel like home.

Discover tranquil bedroom ideas



Embrace the local coffee (or tea) break
From English teatime to the Swedish coffee-and-cake break known as fika, it seems nearly everywhere in the world has its own break-time tradition.

So wherever you are, do as the locals do. In Italy enjoy a shot of espresso taken in a single gulp while standing at the bar in the café, like the locals do on a quick break from work.

A small shift in the way you do things, even in your own home, such as taking afternoon tea rather than coffee, can be a gentle way to nudge yourself into a new culture.



Treat yourself to lots of fresh flowers and candles
A simple but highly effective way to make your new home feel cosy and welcoming is to go a little wild with candlelight and fresh flowers.

Cluster candles on trays, put one on your bedside table and line them up at the centre of your dining table.

Visit a flower stall or grocery store and treat yourself to fresh blooms once a week. When your mood needs bolstering, light all your candles, put on some lovely music and inhale the scent of the flowers gracing your space.

Check out how to display flowers

Connect online with people back home … but not too much
This is the digital age, after all – you might as well take advantage of it! Connect with friends and family through video calls and social media, if you like. But remember, connecting with long-distance loved ones should be a nice treat, not a substitute for getting out there and building a satisfying and interesting life in your new area.



Put personal treasures on display
Books, photos, artwork and other personal items become even more important when you’re in a new place.

Take an afternoon to display your things in your new place – hang up photos of friends and family, organise your bookshelves and put your favourite linen on the bed.



Reinvent your style … if you want to
You’re in a new place, and no one knows you yet. Why not take this as an opportunity to try out a new look? Edit your wardrobe, organise your wardrobe and go shopping. Besides, shopping is a great excuse to get out there and explore a new area.



Make a personal connection in the new place
Easier said than done, but well worth the effort. If you’re finding it hard to meet people, try seeking out a local group related to one of your passions or hobbies. Take a class, volunteer for a local charity or attend an event that sounds interesting. If you’ve moved to a new country, connect with the local expat community. If you’re a parent, seek out a play group to join. Once you’ve made one connection, it’s bound to lead to others.



Tend a garden
Planting something, even a potted garden on your balcony, makes a statement that this is a place you plan to stay in for a while.

If you love gardening but don’t have a garden of your own, see if there is a local community garden where you could get a small area to tend — it could also be a great way to connect with other like-minded people.

Get more garden inspiration

Collect moments of beauty
Of course, there are places we immediately think of as beautiful, but every place has its own charm. Grab your camera and head out on a daily walk, snapping pictures of the little things that catch your eye.

If you want to make it interesting, issue yourself a creative challenge – take photos of a single colour, or find the first letter of your name or a heart shape. The creative project will loosen you up, and you may end up with some frameworthy shots to boot!

Reignite your wanderlust
Plan a day trip to a region you’ve never explored. After the shock of being somewhere totally new, you may realise that the place you come back ‘home’ to feels exactly like that … home.

Make your home feel sweet, even if it is temporary
Those who move frequently, learn that home is where you make it. No matter how long you think you’ll be staying where you are, you might as well make it the best possible experience while it lasts.

Moving home advice: 2017 roundup [part 2]

(Click here for part 1.)

This year we’ve been sharing a wide range of tips and advice to help you make the most of your home move. Here’s part 2 of our 2017 roundup:

Moving in the UK

Going it alone: the pitfalls of DIY moves

When moving a small household locally, it can be tempting to hire a van and do everything yourself. At first this might seem like the cheaper option, but moving without expert help is risky and may end up costing you in other ways. Here are the main pitfalls of do-it-yourself moving.

Self-store v long-term storage: what’s best for me?

What’s the difference between the two main types of storage, self-store and long-term storage? What’s best for your living situation, and what are the benefits of each? Find out more.

How to prepare for moving out [10 tips]

Once you’ve booked your home move, there are a few things you can do around the house to make packing and moving out go extra smoothly. Follow these tips to prepare your home for the big day.

How to prepare for moving in [10 tips]

As well as preparing your old property for moving out, there are several things you can do in your new home to prepare for delivery of your belonging.

How to manage your time in moving limbo [infographic]

When moving home, there’s often a gap between the time you sign for your new property and when you actually move in. We call this ‘moving limbo’. And while this waiting period can seem like an eternity, there are plenty of ways to distract yourself and stay productive in preparation for move day.

Moving home at Christmas [12 top tips]

With presents to wrap, cards to write, decorations to hang and food to prepare, it’s easy to get a little tense during the festive season. But there’s no reason why your home move has to add to the pressure. Follow these 12 tips to ensure your Christmastime move goes without a hitch.

How to prepare your home for a child

Welcoming a child into your home is an exciting time, but most properties need a bit of work before they’re ready for little ones. Here’s how to prepare your home for a new arrival.

What to do before you move: 6 essentials [infographic]

While your removal company will take care of everything on the day, there are a few things to take care of beforehand to ensure your move goes without a hitch. Here are six pre-move essentials to make move day a breeze.

Moving overseas

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

If you are planning to live overseas, there are a few things to check off the list before you take the trip.

The most visa-friendly careers in New Zealand

One of the most popular destinations for UK expats, New Zealand offers a spectacular scenery, a high quality of living and a wealth of employment opportunities in key industries. To help you decide whether New Zealand holds the key to your next career move, we’ve listed the biggest job sectors of this beautiful island nation.

10 reasons to work abroad

As a working expat, little else will open so many doors, personally or professionally. Here are 10 great reasons to take a job overseas.

Emigrating to Spain: what you need to know [infographic]

Whether you’re emigrating for work, retirement, or just a change of scenery, there are a few things to arrange before making the move to Spain.

How to prevent the expat blues

There are many great reasons to move abroad. But like any major life decision, there are also potential downsides. Get ahead of these possible drawbacks by following our top tips to avoid the expat blues and make your overseas experience a positive one.

What plug? An expat guide to power outlets [infographic]

When moving abroad, most electricals are compatible between different countries, but only with the right plug. Stay ‘current’ and find out which adaptor you’ll need with our handy infographic.

Shipping goods to Australia: an expat guide

When planning what to move to Australia, you should be aware of the various taxes and duties applied to certain goods, as well as the accompanying paperwork that ensures the smooth transition of your belongings through customs. Find out more.

Canadian culture: a British expat guide [infographic]

As with any new environment, British expats in Canada will face a number of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to emigrate. Find out more.

Emigrating to Australia: what you need to know [infographic]

With good wages, a high standard of living and a laid back culture, Australia is by far the most popular destination for British expats. Here’s what you need to know before making the move Down Under.


Looking to move home in 2018? Pickfords offers a wide range of domestic and international removal services for customer across the UK. Visit our website to find out more.

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

Last week we looked at general tips for moving house, whether within the UK or further afield. If you are planning to live overseas, however, there are a few extra things to check off the list before you take the trip:

What to do before you move abroad.png

Ready for your move overseas? For a complete removal and storage service from the UK, including expert customs and travel advice, click here to contact Pickfords or call 0800 019 8557.

Moving home advice: 2017 roundup [part 1]

This year we’ve been sharing a wide range of tips and advice to help you make the most of your home move. Here’s part 1 of our 2017 roundup:

Moving in the UK

Protecting your home, whatever the weather

The only guarantee with British weather is that it’s unpredictable. Whether you’ve recently bought a new property or are looking to sell your current one, it’s important to protect against extreme conditions, which can cause damage to your home at any time. Here are our top tips for creating a weatherproof property. 

Bluffers’ guide to moving home [infographic]

To help you prepare for your move, our bluffer’s guide infographic takes you through the whole process, including what you need to do leading up to the day, and what to expect from your removal company. Click here to find out more.

I’m about to move: who needs to know?

When you move home, it’s important to let people know your new address so records can be updated and your post arrives to the right place. To help ensure you don’t miss anyone, we’ve outlined the main parties who will need to know your updated details ahead of moving day.

How to add value to your home

Eyeing the next rung on the property ladder? Simply putting your home on the market is unlikely to generate the capital you need to move up. Here are some adjustments you can make to increase the value of your property.

How to turn people off your home

In this volatile housing market, small changes can make a big difference to the saleability of your home. To maximise buyer interest in your property, here are a few things to avoid.

Moving overseas

Moving to Canada: what you need to know

Canada has long been a favourite destination for UK expats. As the second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of things to do and places to go. If you’re preparing for a move to The Great White North, here’s what to expect from the emigration process and expat life once you settle in.

What are the biggest job sectors in Australia?

We’ve listed Australia’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether the UK’s most popular expat destination holds the key to your next career move. Find out more.

Top tips for buying property abroad

While navigating foreign real estate can be a daunting prospect, the best advice for buying a home can be applied to most international property markets. Discover how to secure the best overseas property, whatever your destination.

Moving to the USA: what you need to know

The US is a land of opportunity for many British expats. Whatever your reason for emigrating, what do you need to get to the US, and what can you expect on arrival?

How to fit in as an expat

Moving abroad is a great chance to enrich your career and your life, but optimising any expat experience means fitting in with the locals and becoming part of the culture. Read our top tips to help you integrate with your host county and make the most of your overseas opportunity.

Moving to China: what you need to know

One of the world’s largest economies, the People’s Republic of China is a popular destination for experienced professionals across a number of industries. If you’re looking for a new opportunity coupled with a unique cultural experience, what’s required to emigrate to the PRC, and what can you expect once posted there?

Looking to move home in 2018? Pickfords offers a wide range of domestic and international removal services for customer across the UK. Visit our website to find out more.

What plug? An expat guide to power outlets [infographic]

When moving abroad, most electricals are compatible between different countries, but only with the right plug. There are a ‘shocking’ number different of sockets, and it’s easy to get confused as to which type you need for your destination country. Stay ‘current’ and find out which adaptor you’ll need with our handy infographic:


Ready for your move abroad? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

Manchester delivers exemplary customer service

Thank you to both our Manchester team and partner crew at Allied Pickfords Hong Kong for delivering excellent service in a recent international move.

airliner landing at dusk

The customer got in contact with the International Relocation team after the move to express his thanks for the service provided:

“I would like to take this opportunity to say just how impressed I have been by both the UK and Hong Kong teams when shipping some of my belongings out to me.

Despite it only being a small volume shipment, both teams have excelled in their attention to detail and level of customer service provided.”

The customer was especially pleased with the personal service provided by both move teams:

“The Hong Kong delivery team arrived within one minute of the scheduled time. They were very polite and helpful with my wife waiting at home to receive the shipment. Likewise the UK team who packed and loaded my goods last summer were equally helpful, efficient and courteous.

Please pass on my thanks to all of those involved; they are excellent ambassadors for Pickfords. I will not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone looking to do a similar move. Likewise I will happily call upon your expertise again, should the need arise in the future.”

Pickfords Removals’ Christmas Card Competition

View the winner and the runner ups

Pickfords’ Christmas card was the result of a competition held at St Georges School in Amersham.   The winner was six year old Robin Lawrence, who took the prize for his colourful and inventive card.  Robin managed to capture lots of themes including selling a house, moving and Christmas.  His design featured a Pickfords removals vehicle.

Robin Lawrence Winner of Pickfords' competition

Today we are celebrating the work of the runners up.  Of one hundred and forty pupils, four cards were selected and are featured below.

The runners up are: Haris Bajwa aged 4. Haris’s design featured a fantastic Pickfords removals vehicle.

Pickfords christmas card runner up

Tolu Adeleye aged 6. Tolu included a Pickfords vehicle, christmas tree and baubles, snowman and Santa.

Tolu-Adeleye Runner up

David Holister age 4. David’s card shows Santa driving a Pickfords removals vehicle carrying a Christmas tree.

Pickfords removals christmas card

Congratulations to all the children that took part.