I read a really interesting study from IKEA that came out this past week about how most people don't feel at home in their own home. In fact, "1 in 3 people all over the world say there are places where they feel more at home than the space they live in. For City people this feeling has has increased from 20% in 2016 to 35% in 2018".
There is a great deal of insightful information in the study and I encourage everyone to read it and see how they relate. The big takeaway is that all over the world and in our community, lifestyles are changing more than ever. People feel that they can get more mental privacy sitting alone in their car than they can in their own home. Many of us feel a lack of privacy, belonging and ownership attached to our homes.
In the past I've lived in just about every situation - good, bad and yes, with my parents as an adult (yikes). Heck, I've even slept on a mattress pad on the floor in one of my friend's lofts in college for a couple months because #designschoolisexpensive. So it hasn't always been glamorous, and it sometimes a sense of home is hard to nail down.
I bought my own house last year, but it wasn't until recently, after it was remodeled, that I finally really felt at home there.
Now that my job is quite literally to create a sense of “home”, I’ve learned a couple of tricks to help no matter the situation. The article mentions five ways people lack the feeling of home, so I've provided some solutions to possible ease these pains based on my experiences.
- Lack of comfort: Solution - My first thought is 'Hygge'. This is a Norwegian term for creating a sense of well-being, coziness and comfort. There are a million books written on the subject and if you want to get along in a group full of hipsters I encourage you to throw this term around casually. The overall theme of this concept is slowing down the pace or vibe in your home and doing what helps you connect with yourself and others you live with. For me, this means turning off the TV and any harsh lighting and turning on a couple lamps, lighting some overly expensive candles, making tea and reading a book with my dog who usually refuses to cuddle with me. It's fun, try it.
- Lack of belonging: Solution - Meet your neighbors. The first few weeks of moving into my home made me quickly realize that all my direct neighbors were retired and all of them loved doing yard work. It was keeping up with the Jones' in a very real sense and I didn't own a lawn mower so needless to say I avoided them like the plague. After a couple of months I ended up finally meeting my sweet neighbors and wished I hadn't waited so long. They probably thought I was weird (and they probably still do) but I find comfort in knowing that my neighbor Judy from New York would probably let me into her house had I just escaped from an encounter with a murderer in my own home. So get to know your neighbors, it could save your life.
- Lack of ownership: Solution - It's official that I "own" my house or more directly that the bank now "owns" me but that is not the sense of ownership that this article discusses. It's the feeling of unease and not really being able to settle in. For me, this is easy because I will just decorate and re-decorate my space until I find the right balance of self reflection on my shelf of three books, one candle and two loved vintage objects. For others, this may not come so easily so my advice is to have things you really love and that mean something. William Morris said it best, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This goes hand in hand with the "ownership" feeling. It's confronting yourself with the question of, “is this me? Do I need this?” And if that Target clearance gold giraffe figurine that you got two years ago responds back with, "I don't know" then get rid of him.
- Lack of Privacy: Solution - Our homes come with toilet rooms that have doors on them. I'm kidding, but seriously for many people that may be their only time of real privacy and that's fine. I used to live in a 500 sq. ft. studio with a roommate in college, we started out as best friends and left as enemies because we had no privacy. I remember talking to my friends from home on the phone in the closet because it was the only other room in our place with a door on it. It was a walk-in and I would try on her expensive shoes while I was in there so it wasn't that bad but it was still annoying. Sometimes we just need to block out some time for ourselves for some mental privacy. We also can install doors with locks because . . . kids. So there you have it: toilet rooms and locks on doors. We have those.
- Lack of Security: Solution - There are a lot of people moving to Boise right now and they probably don't feel totally at home yet. I don't think being mean to them on the road is a good way to make them feel welcome either (my own PSA, I digress...) I think this ties into the sense of belonging pretty heavily. If you're moving all the time or are brand new, how can you truly feel secure if you don't even know where the toilet paper section is at your local grocery store? It takes a while to settle in and get to know everyone. So I think security comes with time and ties into getting to know the people around you and maybe even inviting them over.
If you are looking for more ideas on how to develop your sense of home, I love the book called Wabi Sabi Welcome that shares how people from all over the world find peace in imperfection and live, decorate and entertain accordingly. It's cute on a coffee table too :)
Let us know how you've made your Alturas Home yours! Share your photos on our Facebook or Instagram accounts, include the hashtag #LoveMyAlturasHome