My favorite home store is Anthropologie. I just love walking around the store, soaking in all the charming details and marveling at their stylists’ creative ingenuity in displaying merchandise and artistic elements. The store’s ambience is warm, cozy, and filled with layers of character. (Okay, I actually wouldn’t mind moving in!)

Through the years, my leisurely strolls through Anthropologie have inspired me to look outside the box for decorating ideas to add character to my home. They use pallets for wall shelving units, old book pages for wallpaper, tree branches to hang art…they have mastered the art of repurposing. After strolling around their displays, I’ve even been inspired to take a second look at items in my own house with an eye for possibility. Suddenly my antique bed, an old table, or a dated chair holds potential for charm.

Fair warning—if you stare too long at an Anthropologie catalog, you might decide you should move to an old barn and hang your chairs upside down from the ceiling as art (because really, almost anything would look amazing in a rustic barn). But don’t let the lack of natural character in your normal, suburban home dull your creative sparkle.

The good news is that character isn’t only found in old houses or rustic barns. Every home can be filled with charming details if you know a few of the secrets!

Reflect Your Charm and Character

I love a home that feels like a snapshot of a person’s life. A place where accessories reveal stories about people’s character, their travels, and what matters the most to them. I think that’s why I like Anthropologie so much. It feels as if someone has traveled the world and collected a variety of mementos she found interesting, humorous, or meaningful. Even if you and I haven’t traveled the world, we can gather the modern, the quirky, the reinvented, the antique, and the memorable—and let them happily coexist in one personality-filled space.

Do you embrace your own uniqueness? Do you appreciate the charm that makes you, you? What do you love about life? What are some of your favorite memories? Our style at home should flow out of our personality and life experiences.

I use the term “authentic style” to describe the personal, unique style we each bring to our own home. When you decorate in your authentic style, you surround yourself with things that you are passionate about and that have great meaning to your family. Your home is most charming when it reflects your heart, soul, way of living, history…everything you love.

I add some things to my home simply because they are useful. But I realize that to be fully connected to a space and drawn to spend time in a room, I need to bring in objects and elements that inspire. I add colors I love, frame cards my husband gave me, and display artwork my children made. Each piece tells a part of our story.

We have turned several walls in our home into photo galleries. They preserve wonderful memories of travel and experiences together. In our entry, we have a tray of seashells as a reminder of our many family beach trips. I’ve displayed a violin my grandpa gave us and teacups that remind me of my grandma. We treasure a beautiful canvas featuring the names of places around Portland (our hometown) and the Oregon coast, and we have several meaningful Bible verses painted on wood or art canvases throughout our home.

We decorate with things that transform our family on many levels. Over the years, we have collected old and new books to add color, pattern, and texture with stories we love to read and share with friends. Books add ambience and meaning to every room in our home. I love collecting beautiful cookbooks in the kitchen—they inspire me to try a new recipe, and they entice me to slow down and enjoy a feast of photos and artwork. Create a home inspired by your life and what you love, and then your home will inspire you!

A Place to Chat and Put Up Your Feet

If you can’t make yourself at home in many corners of your house, you won’t ever feel “at home.” The charming ambience you crave is possible, regardless of what you have to work with, when you create a comfortable place to be. Each corner and main space can become a welcoming area for you to connect with your family, rest your feet awhile, and breathe a sigh of relief. This is the foundation for a charming home.

Let’s start with your main living area. If your furniture is lined up along the walls around the room, with seating so far apart that you have to crank your head and pull out binoculars to see the people sitting on the sofa, your room won’t look or feel comfortable. Your neck will always have a cramp. You’ll be annoyed at all the shouting and the lack of eye contact. You may even start to feel antisocial or at least socially awkward! But with one simple change, your room can have the cozy ambience that nurtures a warm and welcoming conversation.

Ready to try it?