Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Turn Your Home Into a Sanctuary

"Home is where the heart is." - Pliny the Elder

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." - Maya Angelou

"The home should be the treasure chest of living." - Le Corbusier

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." - Jane Austen


There are thousands of quotes about "home" and its role as a sanctuary, as a safe and beautiful place to return to.

I don't know about you, but I also think of my home as my sanctuary. When I was working, it was a place to relax and unwind in after a long day at work.  Even when the kids were little, I would still carve out a place to escape the chaos that family life sometimes entailed.  I don't feel guilty about that.  And you shouldn't either. Even though we love our spouses and children, we all need to get away at times, to take a few breaths, reflect and relax and then join them again as our best selves.

Now that I am retired, it's even more important to create a sanctuary in my home, because, well, I am there all of the time!  Just kidding.  I'm not there ALL of the time, but I certainly do spend more time at home than I did when I was working and the kids were here and we were going all over the place attending their events.

So since creating a home sanctuary is an important part of my life and my goal in home decorating, I thought I would share some of the things we have done to create a place that feels like HOME, a sanctuary from the rigors of life (And yes, there are rigors in retirement!).


  • Pillows.
Lots and lots of pillows.  I would have a pillow on the toilet if I could figure out a way to make that work.  I like pillows as decorative items - they turn a plain couch into an inviting retreat - but I also like lots of pillows on the bed so I can scrunch into them, like being enveloped by a big old cloud.


Too much?




  • Scented candles.


Scented candles are not only romantic as they flicker in the fading light and create a nice ambience, they are also useful to get rid of dog smells in the house and Hubby's smells in the bathroom.  My favorite is the grapefruit scented candles made by Nest (you can find them at Nordstrom and Amazon).

 



  • Lamps.

Speaking of ambient lighting, candles work, but having some nice table or floor lamps in your rooms also creates a mood.  I am not a big fan of overhead lighting. For one thing, it's especially unflattering to we women of a certain age, but ambient lights makes everything look better.  It's restful and pretty.




  • Ottomans.
Or as we feminists say, otto-persons. 

But however you say it, there is nothing like a place to put your feet up after a long day or when you plan on binge-watching all episodes of "Breaking Bad."



  • Fireplace
There is nothing like a fire burning in the fireplace to make you feel cozy and at home. If you have a fireplace, use it.  If you are worried about heat going up the chimney and all of that, don't.  The warmth, both physical and mental, is well worth it.  And if you have a gas fireplace, don't forget to leave the fireplace doors open.  The gas provides warmth too.  Now I know this could be a problem if you don't actually have a fireplace, but you can buy those little electric ones or I think there's a TV channel that is a fireplace, isn't there?




  • Fur.
I think homes should be cuddly places and nothing says cuddly like furry things.  I have fake fur throws to wrap around me and sheepskin rugs on the floor of the bedroom and on the ottoman in our little bedroom TV watching area so I can run my toes through them like warm sand.



The dogs like them too!

 


A furry dog lying on the bed also adds to the cuddly ambience.




And speaking of TV, a cozy spot to watch is essential. 

As you probably know, we have more than one TV - well, we have more than three, more than...Anyway, we have a few different places we can watch TV, but we seem to prefer up in our bedroom.  Those chairs in the picture above were my parents' chairs (though they have been recovered many times in many incarnations) and the ones I remember sitting in as a young girl, with one leg thrown over the arm of the chair and my mother yelling at me to stop doing that.

 

 


I feel close to them sitting in those chairs. Hubby says he likes sitting in those chairs up in the bedroom to watch TV because because he can sit closer to me...awwww.  But that's because when we sit downstairs, he hogs the chair and ottoman, er, ottoperson and I have to sit on the couch.



  • Art.
By art, I don't mean you have to go out and buy some original works for hundreds or thousands of dollars, though I wish I could.  No, a reproduction will work just fine.  Even if it's Elvis on velvet, if you like it and it gives you pleasure whenever you look at it, that's the point.



This painting is in the bedroom and when my son saw it for the first time, he asked in his inimitably direct way, "Why do you have a picture of a dead girl in your bedroom?"  I harrumphed and said "I will have you know that is not just any dead girl.  That is "Dying Ophelia," by John Everett Millais, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelites art movement and if it was the original and not just a print, it would be worth over $30 million!"  I love Pre-Raphaelite paintings, but I had to ask myself, "Why DID I have a picture of a dying girl in my bedroom?"




  • A nice place to drink...er, have a cocktail or glass of wine.
For those of us who indulge in adult beverages, nothing says "sanctuary" and "ahhhh" like a little "happy hour" after a long day of retiring.



And it helps to have something pretty to look at too while you are enjoying your drink(s)...


from the outside and the inside.



 




  • But Speaking of wine and cocktails...



Wouldn't have to leave the house for months!!!


  • Create lots of different places to hang out.

To really enjoy your home, I think it's important to create little inviting spaces all over the house and property.  We are lucky to have a rather large piece of property (well, lucky so far, but Hubby is getting tired of yard work and already thinking it's time to move)!  But until then, I am going to enjoy it!






A hot tub is a nice place to hang out too...



until you can't get out of it anymore!


But your hang-out areas don't have to be elaborate or involve hot tubs or a building or even an umbrella or expensive outdoor furniture, but just provide a peaceful spot to enjoy your surroundings.




Can you tell I like those garden gazing balls?






  • Your own room.
Virginia Woolf was right when she wrote "A Room of One's Own."  We women, especially, need a space to call our own that, when we want, is off limits to everyone and where we can be alone to create, to reflect, to rest and where no one has any say about anything except us.  It could be your dressing room, office or just a corner of the bedroom that is yours alone. 



My room is an office cum kitsch museum where I work on my blog, meditate, and visit friends on Facebook,


 
 
where I enjoy my books, movie posters, dolls and other mementos


 


 and remind myself that I am fabulous!



I am grateful I have been able to fix my home up the way I want and create some relaxing and inviting spaces, and I hope I have given you some fun ideas. 

But you don't need to have a big house or big piece of property or spend a lot of money to create a sanctuary for yourself. 

Over the years, I have used sheets for curtains, crates for end tables and boards and bricks for bookcases, but even in those days, with few resources, there was always something, some little touch that made me happy to be home.  Even if you live in a small apartment, you can still create a pleasant space and surround yourself with what gives you pleasure and what constitutes peace and quiet. Like those chairs I sat in growing up and sit in today, it's all about surrounding yourself with what has meaning for you.  

But in the end, you know what?

It's not really about a physical place.  I also enjoy that home inside my head, the one I go to when I want to remember my parents, the happy memories of my family and friends, the fun I have had, the movies I have seen, the books I have read, all of those things that have made me, ME and bring comfort to me now.  I can go there anytime, anywhere. 

And that's my real home, my real sanctuary.


"Never make a home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends, you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.  That way it will go with you wherever you journey." - Tad Williams

 
 
Thanks for Reading!
 
See you Friday
 

for my review of



"Bridget Jones's Baby"
 
and 
  
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

  
and the latest on


"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."
 

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