How to Make a Second Home Feel Homey

When you finally build your dream vacation home, you have several things to consider. Discover some ideas to help you start that journey to create a home away from home.

Whether you want a mountain modern getaway or a lakeside retreat, you’ll want the whole house to fit your aesthetic, both inside and out.

When building a second home, it’s important to include items that will make you happy and fulfilled. This will help make your home feel cozy and welcoming. This can be anything from art to furniture to your favorite throw pillow. Perhaps you have a collection you love but don’t have the space in your current home to display it all. Consider bringing a few special pieces that you love to your new space.

In a vacation house, what goes on the walls is often a last-minute choice but is one of the things that make the biggest impact. You can choose paintings from local artists, a few pieces from home that you are passionate about but don’t get to display because of limited space, or your own personal framed photos. If you want a more professional and luxurious look to your pictures, try Mpix. If you are looking for a good value option that is simpler to use, try Shutterfly. Regardless of what you choose, wall art will be some of the things that define your space the most. 

One simple way to bring warmth and a lived-in feeling is the textile choices you make. Wood floors make a beautiful backdrop to rugs that highlight both your current space and your design choices. Layering throws and pillows on your sofas or having a stack of floor pillows in the corner ready for a casual game night or movie watching can bring a level of comfort to areas that might otherwise feel too spare.

As you design your new place, you can infuse it with the different cultures and specific designs associated with places you’ve traveled or hope to travel.

Looking to create a peaceful retreat? Consider the pale, calm palette of Scandinavian design, featured in this Spanish Peaks Mountain Club Retreat.

Think about a hygge style home with natural warm tones.

Want cozy comfort after a day on the slopes? Try adding some candles to create the desired mood for your home. Here are some of our favorites: the Le Labo Santal 26 Candle, the Malin + Goetz Bergamot Candle, and the August and Piers, Saint Candle.

Being conscious of the history of the place you’re making your second home in can lead you to add antiques or repurposed materials.  One of our partners on a former project, Heritage Beam and Board, supplied beautiful wood from the region to create our client’s home. 

A picture story of the above home is featured in the following case study, at Heritage Beam and Board – Rante Case Study. They even used reclaimed wood from barns to create artwork in their dining room.

Other ways to incorporate sustainable, vintage pieces into your home is by antique hunting. You might unearth a painted screen that brightens up a bedroom or a stained glass window that will fit perfectly next to the front door. Or you have an inherited piece of furniture with sentimental value but needs updating. Reupholstering it can give it pride of place in your family room.

When you’ve made the decision about your location, identifying what about the area speaks to you the most can help you refine your design choices for the interior.

Building a mountain home where you intend to spend the winter skiing might lead you to a log cabin feel with accents celebrating the outdoors.

Perhaps you want to honor your family legacy as farmers, decorating and accenting with a cowhide rug in your office. Claudia Martin, ASID incorporated family heritage in the following Midwestern Farmhouse beautifully.

If the calm stillness of a snowfall appeals, and you feel more comfortable with monochromatic colors that layer on top of each other to create that feeling of comfort.

Maybe you plan to build a lakefront home that has a wall of windows facing the view. Choosing colors that reflect and enhance the natural environment will give you that feeling of being immersed in your surroundings.

For more creative inspiration for your second home design, look at some of our past home designs at our main Projects Page.