There’s no place like home. The moment you turn the key in your own front door and hide yourself away from the outside world, it’s all about you. Or it should be. Your private space, ease and familiarity, the people and things you love.
Simon Moore, environmental psychologist at London Metropolitan University believes that these things are key to our sense of wellbeing and individuality,
“Personal space allows thinking space,” he says. “It’s a good thing we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. It allows people to do what they want and truly to be themselves.”
So what makes a house a home? According to psychologist Averil Leimon, whether you live in an apartment, a condo, a cabin or even a yurt, it’s not about making your space look like an interiors magazine but ensuring it reflects who you are and how you want to live,
“Some people are very sensitive to visuals, so when things are out of place, it can affect them... Other people might be more sensitive to sound or harsh lighting or room temperature, yet most of us never take the time to figure out what impact our surroundings are having on us.”
You don’t need another expert telling you that home isn't about the next thing; like the latest imported bed linen or the right interior designer. The feeling of being at home can't be bought, it comes from an intimate relationship between you and your private space. And home shapes us just as we shape it.
The good news is that any home can become a foundation for the good life—all for the price of fresh thinking. Worrying less about costly renovations or high-tech gadgets, instead asking whether your space nourishes you, protects you from stress, and provides opportunities both for time out and friendship.
Maybe this means things that remind you of good times and people you love or that help you count your blessings. “You need to work out what kind of person you are and what matters to you,’ says Leimon.
Maybe the most surprising way to get more from your home is to focus on activities that make you genuinely happy. Feeling bored or “stuck at home” often signifies settling for time-killers that are passive and unsatisfying, instead of finding activities that bring real comfort or lasting joy. “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body,” muses Benjamin Franklin.
Trevor Naylor, author of the anti-makeover culture book Living Normally – Where Life Comes Before Style, thinks our homes should be honest: “A show-home lifestyle is impossible for most of us… It’s life that’s the key. The rest is just stuff.”