book review – “Feels Like Home”

Hello friends! It’s time for the next book review. Today I am sharing a great home inspiration book called Feels Like Home. This is part of a new monthly series, which shares a book centered around our home and gardens.

home and garden book review

Last month I shared {House Blessings}. Next month I will be sharing Patina Farm by Brooke and Steve Gianetti.

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about Feels Like Home the book

Feels like home is a great home resource by Marian Parsons, aka. Miss Mustard Seed. Marian shares her home philosophy on her blog Miss Mustard Seed, which is definetly one to follow.

Marian’s tag line for her book is “Transforming your space from uninspiring to uniquely yours”. Marian if anything is incredibly inspiring. I love her style, and she is totally hands on in her designs from painting to sewing to curating fabulous collections to so much more.

The book consists of eleven chapters, which I have listed below. I will share my favorite take from each chapter, but the book has so much more incredible information and inspiration, which is impossible to condense into this post.

Feels Like Home chapters

  • I. What does home feel like?
  • II. Telling your story by adding character
  • III. Living spaces
  • IV. Kitchens
  • V. Dining spaces
  • VI. Bedrooms
  • VII. Creative & work spaces
  • VIII. The rest of the rooms (bathrooms, halls, laundry rooms, foyers, & mud rooms)
  • IX. Custom furnishings
  • X. Finishing touches
  • XI. The art of loving your home for what it is

The comfort of home is a feeling rather than the actual architectural structure or aesthetic of your dwelling. This book is meant as a guide to inspire and encourage you to reach the feeling for “your” home, whatever that might be.

Feels Like Home chapter reviews

Chapter I: What does home feel like?

Marian grew up as an army BRAT (born, raised and trapped), moving every two to four years, which meant “home” to her was more about the people and belongings that moved with them from place to place. Home was a feeling rather than a place.

Although I was not an army BRAT myself, I had a similar upbringing to Marian in that we also moved every one to three years. My father’s job relocated us quite frequently within his geographical responsibility. I lived in eight different countries, yet each different dwelling felt like home since they contained the same furnishings and my core knit family, consisting of my dad, mom and brother.

Chapter II: Telling your story by adding character

The quote by Lydia Brownback, “Home is where you fit” is totally fitting (no pun intended 😉). The trick is creating the perfect fit for you. Marian walks us through telling your story in 5 ways to make your house “your” home with the right fit.

  1. Select a Statement Piece
  2. Identify the Focal Point
  3. Bring on the Layers
  4. Show off your Personality through Finishing Touches
  5. Add the Unexpected

All these steps are important, and not one is more important than the other. Marian goes into great detail for each step in the book, but the best piece of advice is to not rush the process.

Chapter III. Living spaces

To create our appropriate living spaces we have to think about “how” we want to use the particular space. Think about things like, seating or lighting according to how you will be using the room or space.

The room should reflect the pursuit of a particular lifestyle. The furnishings and aesthetic for that particular space should tell the story of the life you want to lead there. Do your want to eat in the space? Will you want to rest in the space? Or do you want to play in the space? This will dictate and help you decide which furniture and decor will work and not work.

Chapter IV. Kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the number one room in your house that will sell your property. Marian is a huge proponent of paint to transform many spaces, and she provides a great tutorial to paint kitchen cabinetry. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to transform your kitchen without a full blown remodel.

She walks through all the different ways from large improvements to small details, which she has used in her own kitchens. The trick in the kitchen is to balance practicality with pretty, and it can be a tough balancing act in the day to day business, since the kitchen is the work horse of the home.

Chapter V. Dining spaces

Does your home have a formal dining room? Marian talks about how the dining room can be an under utilized space, depending on your lifestyle. I, myself, enjoy the idea of a dining room and tend to have the conventional views for its form and function. But at the same time, much like Marian, sometimes we use it as an office space or as staging for a table scape or blog project, or as a work space for an endless number of tasks.

But at the end of the day I guess it’s all about using the space in a way that best fits your family. I like to gather around our dining room table and enjoy time with family and friends. Marian talks about how it doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal, stuffy place but rather reflect your style and family’s needs. She shares a couple of tutorials in this chapter, and one of my absolute favorites is the mural wall she painted in her dining room. I fell in love with it when she shared it on her blog, and I keep dreaming about doing something like this in our own dining room. Sigh!

Chapter VI. Bedrooms

The room that no one sees. This sentiment made me laugh, because it does cross my mind, but yet I still want the bedrooms decorated and styled a certain way- for me. Once again take your time and be patient. It took Marian three years to complete her rather large primary bedroom since it was much larger than her previous home so the scale of the furniture was off and had to be replaced.

Marian expresses to be intentional about what you bring into, and what you don’t allow into your bedroom spaces. We still see them and we live in them so I want to be surrounded by pretty, and cozy and comfort. In order to create sanctuary spaces within our bedrooms, reflect on your preferences, and Marian stresses to be a ruthless gatekeeper.

Chapter VII. Creative and work spaces

More people are working from home now more than ever. Whether it’s remote employment, home-schooling or home based businesses. All these activities require a dedicated space. Marian encourages you to layout these spaces by task. For example, desk or computer work, versus DIY projects or artistic endeavors to name a few.

Once the spaces are laid-out, whether with antiques like Marian’s spaces, or with modern furniture make sure it’s an inspiring space that sets the tone to accomplish the said tasks. Organization and methodology keeps these spaces functioning in an optimal way. Make sure to have periodical audits of these spaces to make sure they continue to meet your needs.

Chapter VIII. The rest of the rooms (bathrooms, halls, laundry rooms, foyers & mud rooms)

This chapter was almost named he non-room rooms, but Marian’s husband, Jeff, convinced her otherwise, since they are always included in real estate listings, and they literally contain the word “room” in their name. Well, this was enough for Marian to reconsider.

I have to say I agree with Jeff and this might be the only point I do not agree with Marian. I see these as more than pass through spaces as Marian describes them. For me foyers are super important, since they are the first impression of your home for folks who walk through your front door. Super important in my book! You can read my philosophy on this point here {how to decorate a foyer}. Also, I am all about a beautifully appointed bathroom.

Chapter IX. Custom furnishings

Marian believes that the furniture makes the room and I agree 100%! When I closed my parent’s estate in Uruguay, I brought a 20 foot container back to the states full of the furnishing from my childhood homes. This goes back to the first chapter where we talked about the feeling of home.

Marian states “It’s the furniture that makes it unique and feel like home to the family who lives there.” I love being surrounded with so many treasures from my childhood, which definitely feel like home. It probably helps that my mother had a fabulous eye and many of the pieces are unique antiques. Marian gives great pointers on dos and don’ts about buying furniture.

Chapter X. Finishing touches

If furniture makes the room, then accessories complete it. It’s like the jewelry of the room. All of Marian’s go to styling accessories are also on my list.

  • Books
  • Mirrors
  • Baskets
  • Plates & Platters
  • Pitchers & Crocks
  • Bowls
  • Trays
  • Plants

Take your time in curating the style and look you want for your spaces. A layered and collected home will be uniquely yours and far more interesting with stories to tell. Editing our spaces is part of the process as they evolve with our lifestyles. Editing can be done by adding something or removing something or altering something.

Chapter XI. The art of loving your home for what it is

We’ve all heard the expression “practice makes perfect”. Well, the art of making a house feel like home comes with practice. Either rearranging the furniture, or creating a new vignette or playing with paint all refine our skill set.

Keep in mind to look at your home through a lens of gratitude. Focus on all the good and the fabulous memories you have created. Whether it’s the movie nights spent on the couch in the family room or all the meals gathered around the dining room table, it’s all in the spaces you have created to feel like home for you and your loved ones.

Feels Like Home final thoughts

This book is full of inspiration around every corner. The photography is amazing. I could stare at the images of Marian’s spaces for hours. Her attention to detail is stunning.

The book is chockfull of tutorials, including painting, sewing, and wood work projects to name a few. It’s a fabulous resource to apply to your own home.

get the Miss Mustard Seed look

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built will love and dreams.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. Donna says:

    I hate to be petty, but its Marian Parsons not Miriam. I’m sure she would like to have her name correct!

    1. Thank you so much Donna! Absolutely!! Not petty at all. XO- MJ.

  2. Cara says:

    I was happy to hear you say to take your time. When we purchased our home, I had a friend come over and I had two lonely chairs and an end table in our living room. She commented she could not believe that was all I had. I am the type of person who will not buy something if I do not love it, and I just had not found something I loved at the time. Now that living room is filled with pieces I love. I think people in society today are in a hurry to get everything done, we are still working on our home 10 years later. I take my time because I do not want to make mistakes. We are planning a kitchen rehab, and I want that kitchen to be perfect. We were going to begin with the kitchen and I am so glad we saved it for now. The me 10 years ago had no understanding of this home, the present me has all kinds of ideas and has a vision. I want an old kitchen, not something that is your run of the mill kitchen so I am collecting as I find items, and hopefully along the way, I find a carpenter who can also see my vision. 🙂

    1. Yes Cara! You are smart to take your time and be very deliberate. Congrats on the kitchen remodel. I dream of it some day. Good luck finding the right person to bring your vision to life. XO- MJ

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