Life can be tough. More and more, I have this strong desire for our home to be a haven, and I bet you do too. Let’s chat about ways to make your home a haven in trying times and beyond.
What makes home a haven?
It doesn’t take a troubled world to crave a sacred space at home. But since we have one, there are ways we can bring a calm, peaceful feeling to our homes. This can certainly go way beyond interior design, and it should.
More and more people seem to be spending time at home, especially post pandemic. We are all craving that inner peace that comes from our homes being a haven when our routines and physical surroundings allow us to be present with ourselves and our loved ones.
Sometimes there are hard days, for whatever reason, that we need that safe space. Home should be that place that has a positive effect on our mood. It is, after all, where the heart is, right?
We can make our homes a sanctuary from the outside world, where everyone inside will benefit. Let’s chat about ways we can make our home feel like that safe, comforting haven.
My favorite tips for making our own homes a respite from the world
The first step to creating a peaceful home, is recognizing that need. Creating a haven at home shouldn’t be an afterthought. And frankly, we shouldn’t wait until there is a crisis that beckons us to create this safe and calming space.
It doesn’t take going through a hard time to come to terms with needing our physical environment to become a place of love and happiness. And when a family member passes away (for me recently, it was my mom) or some other life altering challenge presents itself, you want to be ready.
Home should always be the comforting, safe place to retreat to when we need to recharge our mental batteries. It goes beyond having a comfortable place to rest, we need it to feed our soul.
Here are some of my favorite tips for making home a haven during trying times.
Create public spaces with no distractions
I’m sure no one would dispute that our lives are surrounded by social networks, all begging for our attention. But there is more to life than social media, and technology in general.
A home should have at least one public relaxing area where you can sit, unplug, put your feet up and just read or meditate. This space could be arranged where, when multiple people share it, it encourages conversation due to the layout.
In our home, we have a smaller family room with no television. It is connected to the kitchen and provides a small seating area where fireside chats can happen. There are no technological distractions. A comfy couch, a few chairs, a small coffee table stacked with books surrounded by a fireplace make up this room. It is definitely a place to mentally unplug.
I love that this room is close to the kitchen, as I can take a few minutes away while making dinner, and read a few pages to just unwind a bit. The kitchen is the room that usually provides many distractions and demands, so having a little haven nearby is very calming.
It also works well when we have gatherings. It is adjacent to the main living room, where the large screen TV is so if a game is playing, there is still a place for conversation nearby.
Enliven the senses in your haven
If home is the ultimate haven, then it should be a place where we can awaken all five senses. A home is much more than where we lay our head at night. It can be the retreat we need from the world.
Having certain niceties, although not expensive, can feel like little luxuries when we need comfort. We can set up our homes with things that rejuvenate us and prepare us to face each day.
These can add to the peaceful haven that we can create in our homes. Here are a few quick reminders of ways that you can get your senses heightened within your space.
Home as a haven – SIGHT
In our homes, the main thing that can bring peace and calm to create a haven, is having our surroundings clean and organized.
However, many of us appreciate the addition of having our home decor beautiful as well. The main thing is to do what makes you happy and comfortable.
If trying to keep up with the latest trends is stressing you out, then by all means, let go of that and just create a space that is beautifully comfortable to you. Personal style will always feel right in your space and make you happy.
Whenever we are attempting to make our home a haven for ourselves and our family, whether it be a new home or a ‘new to you’ home, simply take your time. Focus first on what your soul needs, and what can bring you joy.
Creating a home should be fun, but most important, it should be FUNctional! Things can look beautiful, but it is how you feel in the space that will affect you most.
Home as a haven – SOUND
Sound is a big thing that can really help or hinder our homes feeling like a haven. Think about how no one can unwind or retreat from the world when there is chaos.
Sharing uplifting soft music, at times of stress, can set the tone for the day and help bring about calmer feelings.
Provide a way that you can experience sounds of nature, or other things you interpret as peaceful. If everyone else within your home is having a fun loud time, make sure you have a place to escape to for peace and quiet.
Home as a haven – SMELL
A sense of smell can transport you back to a memory of grandma baking, or fresh cut grass at a beloved summer cottage. It can bring peace within your home.
One of my funny family stories I like to share is one day when I was burning this extra-large candle I had with a cinnamon scent, the smell was really filling the house. It must have wafted all the way upstairs, because it lured my teenage daughter downstairs with excitement.
She hurried to the kitchen and shouted excitedly, “you baked!” only to realize it actually was just a candle. Hahahaha, needless to say, she was bummed.
Smells are a great way to fill your haven with delicious memories. Whether you are baking, bringing fresh flowers from the outside in, or merely burning a candle of your favorite scent while soaking in the tub, the right scents can be calming.
Home as a haven – TASTE
When home is a place that we want to be, we totally are going to need food there!
A well-stocked pantry, that can provide you with the basic comfort foods you love, will serve you well and reduce stress at that dinner hour when everyone starts asking about what you’ll be eating.
Items can even be displayed in pretty jars or baskets to enhance the experience when choosing. Stock up on the few items you know your family loves, so when they get hungry, hopefully they will just help themselves!
Home as a haven – TOUCH
When creating a haven, we all have that sensory touch that we love. I love to have down-filled throw pillows, soft comfy throws to curl up with, and smooth patina wood.
Make sure to have those things you love to snuggle with, or items that feel good to the touch, in the places that you want to relax and retreat to. Plan ahead, and put all the things you love in one spot where you can go and let the cares of the world fall away.
Provide a good word
You don’t need to be religious to achieve a calming and spiritual space. If God’s word is part of your routine, provide a place in a room to sit and read scriptures or journal.
If you are not into religion, choose those things that bring your mind to a place of peace. Have a place where inspiring literature can be read, beautiful landscape books can be perused, or whatever physical objects bring you calm and peace.
Display tender moments
I have always been a lover of having family photos around my home. These are the people that I love most in the world, and seeing their sweet faces brings a sweet peace to me.
This has definitely been the case through this trying time of losing my mother. When I think of home as my haven, I also think of my past homes, and family photos and mementos really help inspire and calm me.
Add meaningful objects to your home decor
I especially love vintage art and love that I have many pieces that I have been looking at my entire life. I feel blessed to have been gifted items that my parents had. There are many memories wrapped up into things, and these objects bring peace and comfort.
Even if you were not lucky enough to inherit your favorite things from grandparents or your mom and dad, you can still have these items to help evoke happy memories!
Isn’t that what vintage shopping is for? I have heard a million times, if I’ve heard it once, “my grandma had glasses like that…”. And then what usually follows is a trip down memory lane.
If someone else inherited grandma’s favorite glasses, head to your nearest antique shop and I can just about guarantee that you will find a similar (if not) exact item like she had.
Fill your home with items that make you happy from places you have traveled and things you have picked up along the way. I find this very grounding, and it helps remind me of my journey through life.
Create your own space as a haven
We all need our own spaces. Whether that room is a space for crafts, a home office, a place to meditate, or whatever hobby makes you happy, find a space that can be just yours.
It doesn’t even have to be a full room, you can even just find a corner to call your own. Even just claiming “your chair” can become a small haven away from a hectic day.
Being an empty nester, I am lucky enough to have an extra room that is all mine. It is my home office, has a table for being creative and doing a project, and even provides a small sitting room to relax, read or watch my favorite show.
It is the one area in the house where I can go to hide and get work done, or just unwind. Find your place, your chair, even your hiding spot, and you will always have somewhere to go when you need a safe haven.
Encourage wellness activities
When we are seeking to create a haven, home can be where our overall wellness begins. This can start in the kitchen, where we can provide for the things we like in our routine to a better day.
Create a beverage bar where morning smoothies could be made, or an instant hot water dispenser can provide calming tea. Think of the things you love to treat yourself with when away from home, and elevate that experience to make it even better at home.
Set up a place that you can stretch to get your body moving and start your day. Being able to think about what your needs are and what can offer more calm, can set you on the path for creating the spaces you need for mental wellness.
Allow your home to be a haven of happy memories. And if you were not lucky enough to have those in the past, then you have the power to choose to create some for the future!
If you need help collecting ideas for your home as a haven, follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration. Let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to relax and unwind in your haven of home.