Military Moves: How to Make Your House into a Home ASAP

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Military Moves: How Make Your House into a Home ASAP

People are always amazed at how quickly I put my house togerher when we relocate to a new post. Given the frequent nature of military moves, I’m faced with a choice: either establish a sense of order in my home or contend with the disarray of unpacked boxes, barren walls, and harsh overhead lighting. I can’t have that, it would drive me crazy– I’m a bit OCD. I am compelled by the need to make my house inviting and cozy. Luckily, it’s possible with some basic steps. By focusing on these five key things, I can make any place feel like home. They are, in order of importance: arranging the furniture, decorating the windows and walls, adding personal touches with accessories, and bringing in some live plants.

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Before You Start–Military Life Home Hacks

Tips for how to make your house into a home ASAP starts before you begin decorating, you’ve got to do a thorough cleaning. And this is best done with nothing in the space. Make sure the movers unpack everything from the boxes and have them take the empty boxes with them before they leave. They’re supposed to do that according to the contract. However, they are contractually liable to return for them at a later date. Personally, I like getting everything out of the boxes right away. It makes me organize and put things away immediately. This includes the kitchen items; I line them up along the walls, even though I wash everything before storing them in the cupboards.

You can only be in some rooms while they initially pack up your things. But do your best to put as much info on the outside of the boxes as possible so you can unpack them where you want them. Trust me, this is much more helpful than clothing, bathroom, or decorations. This tip swiftly transforms your house into a welcoming home ASAP.

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How to get settled in after moving often with the military.

Furniture placement Tips

The first tip is to have your movers unpack, assemble, and arrange all your stuff before they leave. It’s in the DOD contract with the moving company, but some people are unaware or afraid to ensure it’s executed. Obviously, this will save you time and energy.

Remember, they are not interior decorators; they are not there to move things around if you change your mind. So make sure you know in advance where you want all your big pieces of furniture to be placed. Large furniture and area rugs are your anchor pieces play a crucial role in defining a space and making the room feel grounded and cohesive.

Be mindful of wall sockets, light switches, and vents. And don’t be afraid to place furniture in the center of the room or off-center and not along all the walls. It can often be more interesting to float furniture in the middle of a room.

Windows and Walls

Have you ever walked into a house without curtains? It can feel bare and cold. Curtains are essential for bringing warmth and depth to your home. I prefer hanging them as high as possible to make the ceilings seem higher. The great thing is, you don’t have to spend a lot on fancy curtains or rods. A simple sheer curtain can make a big difference. To enhance the illusion of larger windows, use longer curtain rods. Pool the curtains fir drama or let them skim the floor for a tailored look.

Embrace the challenge of turning your house into a home with art. Artwork is a crucial element of decor, and the good news is, it doesn’t have to break the bank. Personally, I enjoy collecting art during my travels, and I also hang my own paintings and photos. Finding affordable wall decor is easy at flea markets and from new artists. Wooden carvings, mirrors, masks, maps, and signs also add a unique touch. If you have a beautiful kimono, display it on a kimono hanger. Collages work wonders in oddly shaped spaces—just lay them out on the floor first to find the best arrangements. Be sure to hang your art so the center of the piece is at eye level for a normal-height person. Get creative with a big piece in a small room or collages to highlight collections or a theme.

Tip #2 will not only infuse your house with a sense of home ASAP. It will help family members adjust to their new home quickly, too. Do you carve out space for each family member to be comfortable? For instance, I wouldn’t put a pink rug in my husbands’s bathroom. I also make room for him to express his creativity in the decor, which I admit is sometimes tricky.

Check out the Insider Guide to Surviving Military PCS Moves.


Another essential tip is to pay attention to lighting. I really dislike overhead lighting because it feels cold and impersonal, more like an office than a home. While overhead lighting has its place in areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, I also incorporate lamps for a warmer feel. To create a cozy atmosphere, it’s crucial to have lighting at various levels—uplights, seated levels, pendents, and floor lamps all contribute to setting different moods. If you can dim the lights, that’s even better.

I’m a big fan of ambient lighting from lanterns, candles, and sconces. They may provide a limited amount of brightness but excel in creating a mood or atmosphere, serving as night lighting. When choosing light bulbs, steer clear of white/daylight bulbs that emit a cool blue light (although perfect for the bathroom or kitchen). Instead, opt for warm white bulbs that give off more orange or yellow light for a warmer ambiance. And please do your best to hide the cords if possible.


I don’t like to dust, so my collection of accessories has diminished over the years. But I have a few beautiful statues, vases, baskets, boxes, etc., that I love to display. I enjoy moving them around to create different vignettes– stories of our life of traveling together. And over the years, I have gotten a lot braver with color and patterns. It comes from living in beige military housing for the past 50+ years. I’ve even painted walls, only to have to repaint them before turning the keys over.

Nothing is ever off-limit or automatically placed in the same room. Walking around my housd, you’ll notice Asian, African, and European influenced home decor. You’ll also notice I collect Buddhas and elephants. I group them in some places and spread them out in others.

I love earth tones like brown, green, and orange. But there are bunches of red and purple throughout. And I love accent tables. I have them and footstools in every room, ranging in color, shape, and size. Leopard print goes with everything; you must have somewhere to put your margarita, right?

Focusing on one room at a time has been my strategy, and I’ve started with the formal sitting room, the first space you encounter upon opening our front door. Completing this room first has proven satisfying, especially when welcoming neighbors. The ambiance exudes a sense of accomplishment and has set the tone for the rest of our home.

Tips for Decorating Your Military Home Even When You Move Often


I’m a plant enthusiast. The number of plants I’ve given away due to international moves is beyond count. My mom’s house now resembles a lush forest; surprisingly, she hasn’t offered to return any of them. I am currently in the midst of the accessories stage. However, I’ll soon replenish my plant collection for this new home.

I love plants that aren’t too fussy, so I stay away from orchids or lilies. My preferred trees are corn plants, ficus, and palm trees. I put these in larger corners where furniture won’t fit to round out corners where energy can get trapped.

As for my favorite plants, I adore philodendrons the most. They can grow to envelop a room because they are wall climbers. They are also amenable to cuttings to create new plants from the old ones. But I also know the personalities of spider plants, pothos, Chinese evergreens, grape ivy, and bamboo. These plants are forgiving, withstand a week without water, and thrive in the right sunlight conditions. While they may not emit strong fragrances, they breathe life into spaces, purifying the air and adding a three-dimensional aspect to home decor that one-dimensional pieces can’t achieve.

Feel free to let me know if you have any additional ideas to make your house a place you can call home right away.

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