Even when I was in college, I remember caring and putting a lot of thought into creating a space around me that would almost be an experience.
At different periods of time while I was living on campus at Stonehill College, I had a room all to myself. Because of this, I had total say over the decor, what music I was playing, what I wanted the room to smell like, and the best part: I had the entire space to spread my things out as I chose.
Being an RA in dorms for 3 of my 4 years, I remember wanting people to feel like they were at home away from home when they were in my dorm room. I wanted people to feel comfortable and at ease, like they could just be themselves when they entered my room. I also knew that I needed to strike a balance between being neat and organized, yet welcoming and cozy. And, there always needed to be some sort of music playing to break any potentially awkward silence.
All of that is the sort of thing that I think is still important in our own home. I’m also not sure if I had more traffic in my dorm room in college, or now in our stand alone home. Either way, it’s still as much of a priority to me to have our home be a space where everyone, from the 7 of us that live there to the seemingly 70 guests that pass through every week, be a space that sets the stage for a welcoming experience.
I want every person that enters the doors to feel like they can trust their surroundings, like they can let their guard down and just be who they are without being judged. I want them to feel like they can plop down in our chairs and couches, let go of anything their holding onto in their brain, and just find a sense of freedom that they don’t necessarily feel throughout the rest of their day.
I know that sounds a little extreme for what the inside of your home can offer a person, but I fully believe that the potential for that sort of thing to happen is there.
Naturally, it’s a tough balance to strike. I want people to relax, but I don’t want them leaving their shoes on the floor in front of the couches they take them off on while they’re trying to relax. I want people to help themselves to anything in our kitchen, but when they’re I don’t want them leaving a single thing on my neatly cleared off counters. And, I want our children to feel inspired to create art every second of every day, I just don’t want the remnants of those art creations left all over the tables or taped to the windows and walls.
I do want fresh flowers in unexpected places and groovy lounge music playing in the background without them really noticing that they’re head bobbing during dinner. I do want people to feel like they can come by any time with as many people as they want to bring without asking for permission…and, know that they always have a place to spend the night in our home. And, I never, ever want people to feel uncomfortably cold and like they need to keep their coat on during their stay.
And, most importantly above all else, you can never have too many labels.