A house is the walls and the roof but a real home is created by the environment you create within the house. Your home is so much more than the place that you live.
The homemaker has the chief responsibility of creating the positive environment within the home. That begins in large part by establishing your vision for your home.
I want to take a moment to iterate what I believe is a very strong distinction between environment and interior design. It is true that your environment can be enhanced by your decor but make no mistake that beautiful wall colors and throw pillows are mere accessories to your environment rather. The concrete foundation with which the atmosphere is built on is so much more than decor.
My home is the place where my children will experience their childhood. It is where my husband will find comfort and respite after a hard day. It is not going to be featured on a magazine cover but it will feature prominently in the heart and mind of a little boy with sticky fingers and a toothy grin.
A home is not created for Instagram or Pinterest but for real people with real needs who make real messes.
What is your vision for your home environment?
I cannot tell you what your vision of your home is or what it should be. That is for your family and God to decide. I do want to encourage you to spend some time thinking about what your home vision is.
What do you want your children to remember about their childhood home? What can you create in your home that you and your spouse will treasure?
When family or friends visit your home how do you want them to feel? What do you want them to remember?
Do you want your children/spouse/guest to feel that certain decor or furniture is more important to you than they are?
What do you remember most about your childhood home? What parts of that do you want to adopt or change for your own home?
Think of some of the favorite homes you have visited. What made it your favorite? What did you dislike?
There are no wrong answers.
You may prefer to have hand towels that are for display and someone else may love to see their children scattering toys across the floor. Both options are valid. Creating the home environment specifically for your family means that it will not look exactly like anyone else’s.
My personal home environment
In my home I want my family to feel loved, accepted, and cherished above all else. I want them to feel like they belong and that they are not just free but encouraged to be themselves.
I want my children to be empowered to be children. To have a childhood full of that special energy that is only afforded to children. I never want them to be made to feel that parts of their expression are off limits.
That does not mean we do not have rules or that everyone has a free for all. What it means for me is that we do not have a couch that no one is allowed to sit on, towels that no one is allowed to use, or tables covered in breakable decor that we don’t touch.
In my home I hope to create precious memories of laughter, good food, delicious conversations, “one more” stories, warmth, and cherished quality time. Because we will homeschool, I also want my home to be a rich learning environment filled with good literature and cozy reading nooks. I want my heart to be felt within our home and above all I want God’s love and God’s heart to run untamed through the rooms.
How I make my vision come to life
Because my vision for my home is rich with childhood experiences I have sacrificed some of my desires for beautiful decor and stylish rooms.
That does not mean that our home is not beautiful or that I have given up on decorating entirely. It just means that for this season of life I am more interested in appealing to children than appealing to pre-planned squares on Instagram. There will be a time in my life where children will not run down the halls or climb on the couches. When that time comes I can choose to display the fancy vase.
I also deeply desire quality time with my family. These little years go by in the blink of an eye so I want to soak them up and enjoy every precious moment. To facilitate that deep desire I have adapted a minimal-ish approach to “stuff”.
Because I have less objects I spend infinitely less time cleaning, organizing, dusting, and corralling. I also accomplish this by keeping our calendar commitments to a minimum. When I have a few hours to spend doing nothing at all but watching my children play I am truly delighted.
Having good systems in place and working to always improve my home management has freed up my time ten-fold as well. I have another post here that discusses home management.
These are a few examples of how I have worked to cultivate the home environment that aligns with my values.
How to create your positive home environment
If your goals and desires for your home environment are different from mine that is perfect. If they are similar then that is perfect too.
Let your heart take away from this exercise a desire to craft your own unique vision for your positive home environment. Then take the steps to mold your home into what you desire.
Pray about it. Talk to your husband about it.
Remember that the environment is more than your decor. It is your attitude, your availability, your values, and your atmosphere.