A house provides shelter, but a home is where you weather all of life’s little storms— and revel in the sunshine. Here are a few of our favorite things that transform a mere shelter into a safe haven.
1. The people – and other creatures – you share it with
Your kids are in the backyard playing fetch with the dog and your husband’s tinkering with something in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the cat’s napping on your keyboard, again. Everyone going about their business gives your home the unmistakable buzz of life. And that’s just as it should be.
2. All the noise
A house full of creatures, furry and human, doesn’t come without its fair share of racket. Your kid’s practicing the same three chords over and over (and over) and the TV’s blaring from the other room. Pots clanging, dogs barking, doors banging, kids shouting, and even the occasional arguing. The sounds of togetherness aren’t always soothing, but your house can feel empty without them.
3. … And lack thereof
Then sometimes, there’s peaceful, blissful silence. Everyone’s asleep or absorbed in his or her own activities. Even better, you’re home alone. Come in and shut the door against the din of your bustling town. Now take a deep sigh. Ahh. That’s better.
4. The rituals you create
From standing Saturday movie nights complete with popcorn to your annual Independence Day bash, the traditions you keep with family and friends create fond memories — and get everyone looking forward to making more.
5. The smells of good food cooking
For many folks, a house isn’t a home until it’s been cooked in. From the wafting aroma of slow-cooking stew to the mouthwatering smells of baking cookies, every meal you stir up in your home is nourishment for both body and soul.
6. The dings, scratches, and flaws
No, you’ll never be able to get the wine stains out of your linen table cloth, nor will you ever get around to buffing those rings out of the coffee table. And that’s okay, because a perfect house is just staged, after all. It’s an empty showroom where no one actually lives. You work hard. You play hard. Be proud of all the evidence.
7. The endless to-do list
Speaking of imperfections, your house always seems to be one or two projects away from being complete. Once you get that light fixture changed out and that bathroom renovated, you’ll finally be able to relax, right? Keep dreaming. As long as you’re interested in making your mark on something, those project ideas will keep coming. And that’s a good thing.
8. And the constant mess
No, you probably won’t be able to walk across the living room floor without stepping on a Lego or little plastic dinosaur. And, yes, your kids are guaranteed to muddy your newly mopped floors within moments. Getting the house in order is a Sisyphean task, but, hey, we all need dreams.
9. Comfy corners
It may be that reading chair you’ve moved into every place you’ve lived since college, or your memory foam mattress with the plush covers you splurged on. No matter how clean and modern your style, every home needs at least one or two cozy spaces where you can just lounge and let loose.
10. The collections you’ve built
This is the rug you picked up in Peru, and hanging there on the wall is the painting you bought on your honeymoon. Whether it’s your old record collection or the vintage plates you’ve found at flea markets, all the stuff that proudly adorns your home tells the story of who you are and where you’ve been.
11. And the family heirlooms
That story can stretch far into the past, too. Whether it’s your grandmother’s quilt draped over the foot of your bed, your parents’ wedding china, or your great aunt’s Chippendale dresser now standing in your bedroom, these objects root your home in the past while you make new stories in the present.
13. Never having to wear real clothes
The moment you walk through your door, you make like Mr. Rogers and change into comfier attire. There’s no place for shapewear, pointy shoes, and constricting waistlines in your home. Yoga pants, forever!
14. Above all, it’s about the memories you make
This is where you were standing when you found out you were pregnant with your first child. Here are the marks on the wall measuring your children’s growth. And it was at this dinner table that you celebrated your last big promotion. Every cocktail party, Christmas Eve, or simple Sunday afternoon leaves its impression, making your house a repository for every experience of a life well lived.