A house can be described as a building with a roof and four walls, but try and describe a ‘home’ and that is something entirely different. In essence, a house is not necessarily a home, and a home is basically something that only you can create.
In this respect it is worth remembering that a house can be described as something functional and impersonal; the phrase “at least it’s a roof over our heads” goes some way to covering this. A house and a home can both be a refuse, and a place of safety and comfort, but it’s not only that which makes a house a home. When describing a house as “a roof over our heads”, this suggests it is merely serving a purpose; maybe you are starting a new life somewhere? Maybe you are having to share a house with people you don’t know? Maybe the house is only temporary? None of these things are likely to make it feel like a home.
Okay, so what is a ‘home’? Yes, we want to feel safe and comfortable in our home, but we also want to feel accepted without condition. This might not happen if you are sharing a flat with strangers or even friends or extended family members. Being accepted without condition means there is an attachment that feels permanent, even if it isn’t, and that this space is yours, even if it is shared with loved ones also.
How do you make a house a home?
Making a house a home is not just about adding physical things like photos, pictures, personal belongings and things we have bought, it can be about creating memories and making a connection. So if we are sociable people and we like to have friends and family round and we like the sound of music, conversation and laughter, these can all contribute to a house feeling like a home.
Creating a home is about creating a feeling as much as it is about filling it with familiar things. So you want peace and harmony first and foremost and then you want to add memories and a personal touch. In terms of decorating, this can be achieved by painting and wallpapering, or adding new carpets. But many people agree that a home improvement project is something that transfers effort and commitment into something pleasant and memorable, and to be enjoyed by all the family.
Refurbishing a period property is a great example of this. You have a house with character already, but taking the time and effort to sand, treat, rip down and expose, or nail up and varnish new period features is a great way for personal endeavour to translate into satisfaction and a feeling of homeliness and pride in what you have achieved.
Restoring period features to make a home
Undoubtedly there is less of ourselves in material goods that we buy, such as an iPad, a new washing machine or a new TV, even if we get enjoyment and meaning out of them. But if we put blood, sweat and tears into something that surrounds us every day, it creates attachment and sentiment. Restoring architrave, skirting boards, picture rails, internal doors, maybe even a fireplace, a bannister rail or a parquet floor, is a tangible way to improve your everyday life, but it can also evoke memories of childhood, history and belonging.
If you want your home to be a social hub of warmth and creativity, in which you have personal pride as well as space, natural daylight and a wealth of style and elegance, then restoring period features is a great way of doing that. And ultimately, is a great way to make a house a home.