How to Make Your Most Authentic Home

Home interior from Natalie Walton's new book

Words by Natalie Walton
Photography by Chris Warnes

What makes a home? It seems like a simple question but the answer is a little more complex. In many ways, homes embody how we live and see ourselves. And these spaces evolve when we focus on what makes us happy. This is sometimes easier said than done, though. It requires reflection and thoughtful choices, but it is a process that comes with many rewards. When we create a place that meets our needs on many levels, and expresses our character, we can enrich our lives. These ideas have emerged while working for more than 10 years in the interiors industry – first as a writer, and then as a stylist and former deputy editor of a home magazine, and more recently as a designer and shopkeeper. During this time I’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of residences – across all spectrums. What I’ve learnt is that when you walk into some homes, they instantly feel welcoming. Not only do you want to be there but part of you doesn’t want to leave. And it’s not just because you enjoy the company or admire the decor – although both help. There is something else. The space feels authentic, a genuine reflection of the person or family who lives there.

Interior from Natalie Walton's new book

Former Bondi locals Arabella and Sam McIntosh’s living room in Los Angeles, California.

Natalie Walton's Interior Design Tips

1. DEVELOP A SENSE OF STYLE

Instead of creating a ‘look’ at home, use your values as a guide to evolving a sense of style. When we let our values guide us, a visual voice emerges that’s fluid and permeable.

2. FOCUS ON STORY

If our home can be anything we want it to be, are we happy with what we have created? Does it tell our story? Homes feel genuine when we focus on what we value.

3. MANAGE PRIORITIES

How do we spend our time? Are we placing our most important tasks first – the ones that matter the most to our happiness and sense of wellbeing?

4. ELEVATE FUNCTION

Homes can’t be designed with a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to integrate the way we live into our spaces. Homes should enhance our everyday, through the way they function and feel.

5. CREATE TRUE BEAUTY

The beauty of a home should be more than skin deep. It needs to be authentic and possess an inner confidence and truth rather than mere show and bravado.

6. APPEAL TO THE SENSES

We often overlook our senses when making decisions in relation to our homes. But they can evoke strong feelings. Design and emotion are intricately linked.

7. CONNECT TO THE SURROUNDING SPACES

Where we dwell is one part of where we live. Every day there is often some sort of journey through our surrounding environment. When we take the time to connect with it, our lives become richer.

8. STAY FOCUSED

We create a home to enhance our lives every day, but over time our needs and tastes change. When we focus on what makes us happy at home, we can create a space that is both malleable and consistent.

9. BE ADAPTABLE

Homes are living spaces, always in a state of flux. When they evolve alongside us, we create a space rich in beauty that has been formed through the layers of life.

10. NURTURE YOURSELF

We spend a lot of time and attention on creating and changing spaces, but it is important to learn how to enjoy them. Our homes can function as a place to rest our bodies, rejoice in our relationships and restore our values.

This is Home Natalie Walton
This is Home: The Art of Simple Living by Natalie Walton.