What Does “Home” Mean to You?

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By ExoticHippieQueen ©2011

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” ………………Author Unknown

Home. The very word conjures up an image unique to each person’s individual experience. For some, it is a memory of love and kitchen tables with worn placemats and a full cookie jar. For others, it was nothing more than a building where disconnected, dysfunctional relatives existed unhappily, waiting for their day of freedom. Regardless of whether that home was shabby before it became chic or it was worthy of a section of its own in House Beautiful, it was nonetheless, home.

That was then, and this is now. What does home mean to you in the here and now? Do you really believe the theory that your surroundings affect how you think, feel and perceive yourself? I do. For most of my adult life, I have been fascinated by the effects of my environment on my psyche. Over the course of decades, I have transitioned through a disturbing number of decorating themes beginning with the Early American furniture already provided in the small trailer my first husband and I lived in on his military base. By the time he returned from Viet Nam, we set up shop in a small apartment that I decked out in some kind of faux Spanish theme mixed up with a little contemporary funk. That was a cloudy decorating period. From there, I moved down to the
Florida Keys and became caught up in the Tropical/Bamboo/Wicker/Seashell thing everybody does down there. Next up, Country. That included teddy bears, hearts, graniteware and primitives. But that wasn’t the end. I tired of country relatively quickly and fell in love with Shabby Chic, which was one of my personal favorites because I loved grabbing any old piece of furniture with good bones and then distressing it to death until it looked just right. Somewhere in there was my Nautical period, with anchors, a large sailboat, you get the idea. I’m almost done so stick with me here. Following Nautical, I took an entirely new approach and boldly embraced Contemporary, very very

Contemporary. Lots of clean lines, stainless, leather, minimalist. But soon it began to feel, well, cold. I missed a nice throw on the couch, a few throw pillows, just a few chotchke’s here and there. Eventually, I found a nice balance in an eclectic approach. My home now, after years of bouncing around is not any one approach, but rather a blend of what I love best. There is no name for it, it’s uniquely me. While I still have some of the contemporary look, it is soft and comfortable, though still uncluttered. There are plants, books, a few large seashells (remember Nautical? Or would that be Tropical?) Anyway, people always tell me that I missed my calling as an interior designer, but no, they have been telling me that about my writing for a long time, so apparently, I have missed a number of callings I should have been listening for.

Where thou art – that – is Home.”………..Emily Dickinson “

Are you a pack rat? Clutterbug? Anal dirt detector? Strict minimalist? Maybe somewhere in between? Depending on your degree of awareness of your surroundings, you may have noticed that cluttered, messy rooms interfere with your ability to concentrate effectively and conversely, organized rooms that flow beautifully contribute to a personal sense of well-being, confidence, pride and even relaxation. If these theories were taken as truths, it would seem obvious that our surroundings do have a profound effect on us. Many widely-accepted studies have already shown that certain colors evoke feelings of warmth (red), value (orange), relaxation (pink), coolness (blue), happiness (yellow) and so on. We tend to favor certain color ranges, but I wonder if any studies have been done connecting color preferences with personality traits or could they possibly have a genetic link?

“Where we love is home,
home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
…………..Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

My many early reincarnations in home design help you see that there is a style that each of us may be comfortable with, and often more than one. If your home is a hodge-podge collection of family hand-me-downs along with a few of your own pieces, and YOU LOVE IT, then be happy. Honestly, the most important truth to remember is that your home should reflect who you are. You should make it your own and love it. Finally, a famous designer once said that all you really need in a home besides furniture is: plants (real), books (real) and candles. Everything else is just clutter. I do believe this to be true to a certain degree, but even I have a beautiful bowl or two and some pottery hanging around. I think the point is that less really is more, so edit, edit, edit.

Home is love, warmth, a refuge from the world. By giving your home the time and attention it deserves, you can transform it into anything that you want and need it to be for your personal comfort and enjoyment. I’ve really enjoyed having this little conversation with you. May you find peace, joy and most of all, love in your home.

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