Home is Where Your Heart Smiles

Most of us spend more time at home than anywhere else. It should feel like our sanctuary – a place to unwind, rejuvenate and be ourselves. No matter if your home is owned, rented, a rancher, townhouse or studio apartment, it is yours and should make you smile. It should contain the things you love, the things you need and show off your favorite colors and belongings. It should also smell fresh, be free of dust, clutter-free and organized.

Our homes should be a reflection of our personality and lifestyle too. What is your style? Are you quirky, natural, beachy, adventurous, romantic, casual, country, shabby chic, formal, eclectic or a minimalist? Look around at your favorite belongings (take a peek in your closest too) to see if themes emerge- colors, textures, prints. If you are unsure, look through magazines and pull out pics that are appealing.

How do you need your home to function? Will there be small children, lots of animals, frequent parties or a wheelchair to move about? Consider an open floor plan, easy-clean flooring, and scotch- guarding your furniture.

Think about your values. Do you value lots of time with friends and family? Peace of mind? Eating au natural? Time alone? Plan a comfortable guest room, a space for yoga or meditation, a garden and a quiet reading nook or deep soaking tub to get away.

Go room by room and decide if the room is functional for you. Do you really need three bedrooms and a formal dining room when you could really use an office and an exercise room? If you are an artist, designate space to create. Same if you are a writer or caterer or gardener. Look at every object small and large. Ask yourself if you love it, need it, if it makes you happy/peaceful and if it reflects the current you. Don’t feel obligated to keep every item gifted to you.

How do you want your home to feel? Darker colors will make it feel cozy, lighter colors will open it up. Stand in front of the paint swatch section at Lowe’s and select colors you are attracted to. There are no wrong color choices. If you are afraid of color, paint just one wall instead. If you are renting and painting is not an option, choose art to bring color to your walls.

Art comes in many forms such as pricey signature pieces but you can make your own. Purchase a canvas (or make your own) and use paint left over from other home projects. Splatter it and finger paint and call it “modern art”. Frame the kids’ artwork too.

Display the things you love. No matter what you love, seeing them will put a smile on your face. Treasured family photos, maps from exotic vacations, concert stubs and your grandmother’s collection of antique jewelry will give your home that “homey” touch. Don’t forget the importance of pleasing all of your senses. Add a soft throw to the couch for those chilly evenings, a water fountain for soothing background music and fresh smells in the form of potpourri or candles.

You need not hire a professional to decorate for you. Your home does not need to look like it came out of a magazine. If you compare your rooms to the professionally staged, you will cause yourself undue stress. Keep it simple and clean and surround yourself with fabulous things and you’ll be on your way to living the good life.