21 June 2012

What Does Your House Say About You?

We just moved into a new home and are working on getting settled. After our time overseas we are thoroughly enjoying amenities we previously took for granted, such as ceiling fans, a sizable fridge/freezer, and carpeting. We are also trying to make the most of starting over in a new house, including giving considerable thought to where we want to put things and what we really need to keep.

Throughout this process, I've been thinking a lot about what kind of space we create when we make a home. Not just functionality or how it serves our own family members, but what it says about us.

Honestly, it's been a long while since I've been in someone's home and thought, oh I want my own space to be just like this. Or, wow the whole family feels really at ease here. On the contrary, most of the homes we've visited lately have been a lesson in what not to do. 

Following are some questions I started with when considering how we want to organize our family space:

Is it pleasant and comfortable? or intimidating and confining?
Does it say we value people? or we value things?
Does it whisper I'm living in the past? or I'm looking to the future?
Is it open and hospitable to all ages? or is it too restricting?
Do children (mine or visitors) feel like they belong? or like they're on the periphery?

Here's what I want for our home: I want it first and foremost to be welcoming. I want it to be a place where my parents are just as at ease as my four-year-old, where my neighbor would feel cozy popping over for coffee and my grown nieces/nephews would be welcome staying for the weekend. 

I want to use the space we have well, so that it looks and feels open and inviting instead of cramped, which is no small task when you have three little ones and tons of stuff. (I thought I was pretty good at letting go of things but I still have some work to do.) 

I want it to say, please come in and stay awhile, whether you are two or seventy-two we'd love to have you here. I want it to look clean and uncluttered, but lived in. I want my children to know it's their home, too.