Romancing The Home

Put a little love into your pad with some heartfelt homeware, says property and interiors journalist Sharon Dale.

Making a house a home is more difficult than it sounds and the key to success lies in using a combination of head and heart when furnishing your property.

So if you buy only the practical things you need: sofa, chairs, bed, washer, fridge and a few matching cushions etc, you will have a house that feels a bit soulless.

I've been in quite a few properties like this during my career and some of them look amazing but they lack heart and they are the opposite of homely.

To achieve homeliness and that warm fuzzy feeling when you walk through the door, you need to add in items that make you feel loved and happy. 

Photographs are important, although I am not keen on the posed, all-too-perfect and over-sized family portraits that are sometimes given prime position over the fireplace. 
A few photos in tasteful frames look better, either on shelves or on the mantelpiece. Those moments that have been captured rather than stage-managed always work best.

Photo frames from a selection at Debenhams
Alternatively, you can create your own gallery with photos of your best times and places. Simply print pictures from your camera or phone.

There are plenty of inexpensive online options for doing this or you can download the FreePrints app to your phone and get up to 45 free 6x4 prints per month. P&P is from £1.49 to £3.99. 

Pop your pics in inexpensive frames from Wilko or Ikea and either display them on a Mosslanda picture ledge. (, available from Ikea for £4.50, or hang them on a wall.

Collections such as these look great on the landing and on stairways and you can also add in cards and postcards that you pick up from your travels. The criteria when choosing what to use is that they should make you smile and bring back happy memories.

Mugs and other Valentine products from Sainsbury’s
At this time of year, as Valentine's Day looms, there is no shortage of love-inspired items. Hearts are everywhere but they don't just signify romantic love, so you don't have to shun them because you don't have a significant other. There is no reason why you shouldn't treat yourself to heart print mugs or a hot water bottle emblazoned with the words “Love", which are pictured here.  

 Love hot water bottle, £14.95, from the dotcomgiftshop

 I also like this little ceramic heart, £1.49 from Dunelm. You can hang them on the underside of shelves in a row or on door/cupboard handles.

According to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, displaying symbols of love, such as heart-shaped ornaments and images, has a positive psychological effect. Experts say that these items represent unconditional love and gives you a warm feeling.
That could explain the proliferation of sentimental homeware and the success of heart-shaped products.

Heart map print, £45, from
One of my favourite is this map print from  It proves that heart-shaped items don't have to look naff or soppy. You choose a place that has meaning. It could be where you met your partner, where you went to university or where you grew up. You can add a personalised plaque to the frame for an extra £15.
When putting some love into your home, there’s an endless choice of cushions, like this from Next.

 Love cushion, £10 from Next
And don't forget fragrance. Scented candles can do wonders for your mood but it pays to buy well. Candles made from paraffin give off particles containing carcinogens so invest in good quality eco-friendly versions. I like Neom,

Publish date: 08/09/2017