Last week I wrote about pens that don’t write, and other items you don’t need in your house.
This week I’m taking the opposite perspective: what you need to make your home a pleasant and welcoming haven. I’m sure there are many other possibilities, but here are my thoughts:
15 things that help make a house a home
- A spirit of welcome. This has little to do with what fills our houses and a lot to do with what fills our hearts. We can feel welcome in a one-room shack and unwelcome in a six-bedroom vacation house. I hope your home is a place that welcomes all who enter.
- Paintings, photos and knickknacks that make you smile. Who cares what the critics say. If you like it, display it proudly.
- Comfortable furniture. I have met too many chairs that look nice, but are uncomfortable to sit in for more than a few minutes. Homes are for living in, so fill them with furniture you enjoy using.
- Photo albums. We need some way to remind ourselves of the stories that make up our lives. Photo albums, scrapbooks, journals, video…whatever the medium, be sure the significant moments are preserved somehow—preferably with enough commentary to jog your memory, because even those names and places “we’ll never forget” can be forgotten.
- Supplies for your favorite (and active) hobbies. Yes, power tools, candy molds, and tubes of paint take up room, but if it’s an activity you love, both your soul and your family will benefit. Just remember, dreaming about painting does not count. You must get out the easel and do it. It is the act of doing, not the quality of the results, that matters.
- Room to pursue your favorite activities. This is not always possible or practical, but if it is, block out space to make it easy to pursue these things. Our dining room table makes a wonderful space to work on jigsaws or other projects. Since we rarely use the room for dining, the project can be left spread out for weeks.
- Something in every room that makes it yours. Your house should reflect your personality. Don’t allow it to be pristine but lifeless! Give your house soul by filling it with colors, textures and objects you love, regardless of what is “in” or “chic.”
- Foodstuffs that make it easy to eat the way you want to. Even those of us who like to cook don’t like to cook every day. Wise choices at the grocery store make a big difference in what we end up eating. Find quick-to-make foods that pass muster and buy them, even if they’re not the cheapest option.
- Emergency lunch items. My boys took their lunch to school for many years. I learned to keep a partial loaf of bread in the freezer for those panicked moments when the bus was coming and the bread drawer was empty. A few microwaveable soups bowls work too.
- Emergency hostess foods. Do you have something to offer unexpected guests? When my boys were teens I made sure I always had a frozen pizza or two for impromptu movie nights. Depending on your style, hostess food could be chips and salsa, frozen cookie dough, or frozen mini-quiches. And don’t forget beverages.
- Chocolate. Or wine. Or coffee. Whatever. Our lives benefit from indulgences—in moderation. Just be sure you are willing to share your favorite indulgences with guests. No hogging it all to yourself.
- A few books or toys for young visitors. I remember childhood visits to my great-aunt’s house. The adults would be in the living room doing whatever it was adults did. We kids would be in the den, where Great-Aunt Ethie kept a limited selection of toys and games. It was enough to keep us happy. I keep some worn Calvin and Hobbes books in the living room for similar reasons, along with a crate of child’s toys in an upstairs closet.
- Storage systems that work for you. Forget experts or fancy storage systems. If a few well-placed shoe boxes or plastic totes do the trick, congratulations! Successful storage is all about what works in your space, for your personality, with your unique way of associating objects. (My college roommate’s singularly confusing filing system comes to mind—but hey, it worked for her.)
- Things that fuel curiosity and creativity. Magazines and books on topics that interest you. Toys and games that do more than entertain. Sports equipment that gets us outside doing some sort of activity. Don’t waste your life doing the same old same old.
- A refuge. Each of us needs times to be alone (even extroverts.) At those moments, we need a place of refuge where we can mull over things and recharge. Is there a safe place family members can retreat to when they need some space and quiet? Think outside the box here. During a particularly traumatic year in my childhood I spent a lot of time in the basement (the dusty, cluttered kind lit by bulbs with pull-strings.) No one else wanted to be down there, so for that time it was my refuge.
So, there are a few of my suggestions. What else do you think is important to have in your house?What is it that makes your house a home? Click To Tweet