How to Create Your Dream Home

4 Practical Tips from Jamin and Ashley Mills of The Handmade Home.



For DIY home decorators, design confusion is a common problem:  a blank slate (or worse, an ugly one), can be intimidating. Where do you start? What paint color do you choose? Will your current furniture go with it? Should you choose geometric throw pillows or floral ones? Maybe both? All these questions can lead to a standstill of sorts, where you wind up doing nothing for fear of making the wrong choice.

So how do you get past designer’s block? We brought in Jamin and Ashley Mills, of The Handmade Home, to answer exactly that. The duo has blogged since their early days as homeowners, and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Here, they share their best tips on designing your dream home, one step at a time.

design-your-dream-home--the1_circleAdjust Your Outlook
The couple’s first piece of advice? Look at decorating your home as an opportunity, not a challenge.

“Make a resolution to stop listening to those voices inside that fill you with any doubt,” says Jamin. “Consider it an overhaul that starts with attitude, and run with it. Bottom line: your dwelling place of choice is your home, and no one else’s. Forget the rules. This is your chance to express yourself and create a haven in the process. It’s a reconfiguration that starts with telling yourself that you can do this. Because you can.”

2_circleFind What Inspires You.
Next, it’s time to home in on what you like (no pun intended).

“Once you’ve given yourself permission to stop listening to anyone else, start collecting inspiration,” advises Ashley. “Anything that moves you. Snap a colorful arrangement you love at the store. Pull from every source of magazine and catalog you can think of. Note what you don’t care for as well. This is your education in all things you, and cultivating your style. Treat your home as a literal canvas, and a chance to reflect who you really are. If your home is a reflection of you, how can you not help but love it?”

3_circleClear the Clutter.
Before your bring in the new, you must get rid of the old.

“Consider items in your home that are no longer of use or value, and give yourself permission to get rid of that, as well,” Ashley says. “Shop your home and reconfigure ideas for fresh uses. You can’t start a new space until you’ve moved on from the things that may be holding you back. Good spaces aren’t just about good taste, but about letting your home work for you. Not the opposite. This includes smart spatial planning and thinking through the form vs. function of everything.”

4_circleGo Slow.

Design is a process, so don’t be afraid to treat it like one.

“We believe that good spaces have thoughtful, wise choices made over time, so don’t ever feel rushed to complete anything,” says Jamin. “We’re from a microwave generation, but the truth is that a great home is never finished. It’s a constant, ever-growing thoughtful reflection of you. So save for what you love, give yourself permission to move on from what you don’t… and allow yourself to grow with your home over time. Treat it as an organic process, and you’ll fall in love with it again, and again.”

For more from the Mills family, check out their curated sale for Joss & Main, launching Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 9:00 p.m., or visit their blog,