Something you hear every now and then is people telling you about how to turn your house into a home or sanctuary. It’s common especially among communities of interior design enthusiasts, always looking for ways to improve their home. But what do these terms mean anyway? Is it just marketing waffle, or is there actually something to it?
In this blog, we go through the house–home–sanctuary trichotomy and how it can help you elevate your interior style.
What is a house? Sounds dumb to ask, I know, but you’d be surprised: Macquarie Dictionary has 38 definitions entered under ‘house’! This includes two important definitions for our purposes: ‘a building for people to live in’ and ‘a place of lodgement, rest, etc’.
These definitions reveal capture exactly what interior designers and enthusiasts mean when they say they live in ‘just a house’. Basically, you don’t need to do anything to make a house a house. As long as you can live in it then you’ve ticked the box.
Of course, a house can have style. But mere houses, unlike homes, only have style in small quantities. Personal touches are rare, if they’re present at all. People who live in mere houses tend to not spend much time in them, and often they’re just functional and basic pieces of shelter. Décor is often impersonal, careless, and insecure. Alternatively, décor in the house is only there if it serves some practical purpose as well.
There’s no shame in living in ‘just a house’, of course. Everyone experiences this when they first move out of home, for example, and they’re yet to set themselves up. But there’s no doubt that you’ll be happier if you elevate your interior style from house to home.
So, what is home? Again, Macquarie Dictionary has 38 entries under ‘home’ (and that’s excluding the sub-definitions!). Two of these are illuminating for our purposes: ‘a place of one’s domestic affectations’ and ‘deep; to the heart; effectively and completely’.
Again, the lexicographers have hit the nail on the head. Home is our most foundational sense of belonging; the place to which we are most deeply attached. We always return home if something goes wrong in life or when we lose our bearings. We trust home to be a safe refuge, even if we know deep down that there is no such thing as 100% security.
Home isn’t just a human thing, either. Birds have nests, wombats have burrows, and even bacteria have our guts to call home!
How do we transform our house into a home? As we write in our dedicated blog on the subject, ‘a home is a beautiful place for your friends, family, and you to create memories and enjoy life’. This means decorating it with your favourite colours, textures, and furniture style(s), as well as personal touches like candles, photos, and plants, artificial or otherwise. Just add pets!
But you can do better than home. Here's where the sanctuary comes in...
What is a sanctuary? Among Macquarie Dictionary’s seven definitions of sanctuary are two important ones: ‘a sacred or holy place’ as well as the ‘immunity afforded by refuge in such a place’.
So, a sanctuary is a pretty special place. It’s a place where you should be able to recharge, reflect, feel yourself, and expect total privacy.
How do we transform our house or home into a sanctuary? Here are some tips:
- Make the space yours. Focus on comfort and consider ordering custom-made furniture to fit your requirements exactly.
- Make sure it’s private. Go low-tech and get rid of ‘smart’ devices collect and use information about you 24/7 (or even try to change your behaviour for others' profits).
- Make the time and opportunities to connect with your sanctuary. Try, for example, growing an indoor garden.
- Finally, shift your focus from stuff to relationships. A home may be filled with all the right things, but what makes a space a true sanctuary is its ability to heal and develop your relationships with yourself, family, and closest friends.
Remember: not every room in the house has to be a sanctuary. Nor does your sanctuary have to be the bedroom (though it often is). You may find your sanctuary in a sunroom, study, or even the kitchen. Whatever it is, having at least one sanctuary space will change your life. Why else do you think interior designers and home enthusiasts talk about it so much?
So, is your place a house, home, or sanctuary? Have you got any big style tips we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your contributions on our Facebook group, My Family Home. See you there!