October 22, 2016

Five Ways to Make Your Home More Homey


One of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten about our house came from my younger daughter a few years ago. I was cleaning up after a family birthday party we'd hosted, and out the blue, she told me that while we were all sitting at the table, talking, she'd been looking around the place and appreciating it.

“It just felt like a place where you could be cozy and settle in."

Some people are car people; some people are jewelry people. I am a house person. I'm not talking about fancy or impressive;
I'm talking about comforting and homey. I'm talking about exactly what my daughter put her finger on: creating a place where the people I love can "be cozy and settle in." 

Which is why when my friend Lisa the Syncopated Mama mentioned that her upcoming 5 After 5 party was all about home homeyness, I started working straight away on this list of my homeyness must-haves.

1. Candles. I'm a big fan of wood-wick candles that give you the crackle of a fireplace without the whole chop-down-a-tree-cut-it-up-stack-it-haul-it-in-the-house routine. (Listen, we heat our house with wood, so I know whereof I speak.) I hope someone in my family reads this post, because the wood-wick candle they got me last Christmas is almost on its last crackle, and I think this pumpkin nutmeg layered number would make a lovely replacement...



And with apologies to candle purists, I also love battery-powered candles. I'm especially fond of this wall version that makes me feel like we're back in the early 1900s, when this house we live in was built. Except, you know, now we have better plumbing.



2. Low lighting. The only use I have for overhead lighting is that it helps you not ram into the furniture when you first walk into a dark room. Once I've avoided that pitfall and am safely settled, I want that glaring, "let's get something done" light off and a nice, gentle, "let's lay around and watch a movie" table lamp or floor lamp on.

3. Window coverings. We've got a lot of windows in This Old House. (And now that we've blown our daughters' inheritance on replacements for the original models, we can actually open them. This is surprisingly thrilling.) I love natural light during the day. But come evening, I want those windows covered. When I close the drapes and pull down the blinds, I feel like I'm tucking myself and my family in and shutting the world out.

4. Music. If this isn't your first visit to Guilty Chocoholic Mama, you probably know that music is a big deal to me. (Also, if this isn't your first visit, THANK YOU FOR COMING BACK! And if it is your first? Welcome!) We love lots of type of music around here, but homeyness-inducing favorites include Eric Whitacre, George Winston, and the inimitable Aaron Copeland.



5. Comfort food. I've mentioned on this blog before that my husband, daughters, and I are food people. We like to eat. Meals are not just something we do to stay alive; they are something we do to make the life we live better. We're fans of of comforting classics like homemade pizza and macaroni-and-cheese and pot roast. And cookies...LOTS of cookies. In fact, I've got a batch of these White Chocolate Pretzel Cookies in the oven right now.



One of my favorite perspectives on home comes from my cousin/friend/surrogate big sister Karen, who evaluates houses not by how elaborate or upscale they are, but by whether or not they look "loved." 

Which leads me to the real reason I care about whether my house is homey or not: I want it to look and to be loved, because that's how I want the people who live here to feel.


If "homey" is something that matters to you in a house, how do you get there? Share your list in a comment or over on Facebook or, better yet, at Syncopated Mama's 5 After 5 party. I promise when you get there, you'll feel right at home.



**This post may have been shared at some of these lovely link parties.**

14 comments:

  1. Okay, first, let me just tell you again how happy I am to have you for a friend - because you totally give me a "faxed" hug every time I "read" you. Every. Time. Second, OhMyGoodness, YES on the house being homey point, because I have been in SO many homes over the years that are decorated beautifully (ours would not fall into that category, by the way) and look like the pages in a magazine and in the middle of my "WOW, can you imagine living in a place this pretty" mess of thoughts, I usually realize "gee whiz, I CAN'T imagine living in a place this pretty" because although some homes look beautiful, they do not look homey. And I am totally certain that there are some beautiful homes out there that also look homey, but the ones I have seen have yet to give off that vibe. I love that we both included the lighting and the music and WHY didn't I think of the comfort food thing? I mean, I totally mentioned the cookie-smell thing briefly, but the focus on the COMFORT FOOD is completely spot-on! So excited that you joined the party this week!!

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    1. Aw...I feel the same way! I think I've told you this before, but even if I did, it bears repeating: you're better than Xanax. I mean, I assume. ;) I love our shared list items, plus the fact that I TOTALLY agree with the things on your list I didn't put on mine. Can't wait to wrap up in a cozy blanket later on...with my shoes off, of course! xoxox

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    2. Had to read this all over again and it still made me smile! So happy you shared with us at #FridayFrivolity this week!

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    3. Well, aren't you the sweetest? (A rhetorical question...you are.) I heard from another blogging friend that she was glad to learn about the wood wick candles, so I feel I've done my little part to spread homeyness in the world. Thanks for being a DOUBLE hostess with the mostess!

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  2. Love your list! My hubby is all about great window coverings I really didn't get why he hated blinds and was all about nice curtains but I totally get in now! We have sooo man windows which we love all the natural light but at night we definitely want them closed :) I love having music on in the background but hubby doesnt it is a distraction for him so it not all as much as I would like!

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    1. Hi, Samantha! It sounds like you understand the reason I race to close our curtains when my little family and I get home for the night. It's one of the happiest moments in any day for me. Thanks so much for stopping by from your party! ;)

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  3. Bookshelves, Elizabeth. Lots of them. Filled with books. And pictures of my loved ones. And more books. (You may be starting to see a trend here ...) Except when the empty, newly built bookshelves fill an entire wall in the basement family room and the floor in front of them is covered with books (and picture frames and tchotchkes I loved in 1998). That's not so homey. But it does describe the current scene in my house. Until Friday, when a dozen or so teenage girls need that room for a sleepover. So guess what I'll be doing this week? Oh, and I love candles, low lighting and music too. Especially music. :-)

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    1. Yes, Lois! One of my favorite features of our "new room"--13 years old, but as an add-on, it will always be the newest room in our old house--is a built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcase. But never mind that: a dozen teenage girls for a sleepover? You are one intrepid mama! Candles and music for you afterwards? ;) Thanks so much for stopping by...blessings on your week!

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  4. I love that your post really made me think about what I like to have in my home to make it homey! I like candles, though I'm not consistent about lighting them - I need to get better about that. And definitely what Lois added - books, and lots of them!! I know that letting natural light in during the day makes me happy, along with pictures of family scattered around the house. I need to add a few more throws, I think, to keep us cozy this winter.

    Thanks for inspiring me to take a closer look at our home's "cozy factor" to see how I can make it a well-loved place for our family!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Tracey. Knowing what I do of you through your writing, I can only imagine how inviting and refuge-like your home must be. (And as for remembering to light the candles, I have to say that's one of the reasons battery-powered versions on timers are among my favorite "modern conveniences"! ;))

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  5. Can I come to your house? It sounds like just what I need!

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    1. Amanda, honey, you come right on over. I'll put a tray of those cookies in the oven! ;)

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  6. I love wood wick candles! Well, I did pre-children. I use a lot of wax warmers now instead. Candles and small children make me nervous. For me, my home feels more homey when I keep the clutter at bay. It's been awhile...which brings us back around to the small kid thing. ;)

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    1. Oh, Julie, you've nailed something so true: "homey" has to adapt to the people living in the home and the season of life they're in. You've got wax warmers and little people now...many (many!)years down the road, you can sit and enjoy a wood wick candle again while you wait for teenagers to get home at night! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!