From Shelter to Sanctuary
My personal calendar is packed with home projects this season. I've been busy refreshing the garden and updating the office. The early signs of fall feel like storm preparation, with cleaning, organizing, and simplifying my home for the holiday season. In this house, it's not just about updating the physical space, but also about cultivating and fine-tuning my daily routines.
As our homes have become hubs where work and life blend together, finding solace and peace within our own living spaces has become more important than ever. Transforming four walls into supportive and lovingly curated rooms can be a game-changer for the lifestyle you want to achieve. By editing your home into a personalized sanctuary that fits your values, needs, and goals, you can create a haven that truly reflects your individuality. I have a personal framework to help you embrace your unique needs and intentions, infuse your space with character, and create a home that feels like a true reflection of yourself.
Reflect on the values most important to you
Before embarking on any home-related projects, it's crucial to reflect on your core values. What matters most to you? Is it sustainability, craftsmanship, community support, or a combination of various principles? Consider these values as guiding forces to shape your sanctuary and seek out small businesses that align with them. By creating guidelines for your home based on values, you can avoid making impulse decisions, following trends mindlessly, and unlock creative solutions.
My core values for my life are the same as those for my home. I value freedom, creativity, success, and authenticity, which translate into minimalism, inspiring art and decor, intentional spaces for focus and rest, and plenty of quirk and personality. If you let your values dictate the application, purchase decisions come a lot easier, and you’ll love the space for longer.
Assess how your home can support your lifestyle
Understanding your needs is essential to creating a home that caters to the specific requirements of your daily life and relationships with others. Identify the areas in your life where you seek solace, rejuvenation, and connection. Is it a cozy reading nook, a well-organized workspace, or a screen-less serene bedroom retreat? Determine the purpose each space should serve, focusing on functionality and comfort. Even in smaller homes, you can use smart furniture placement to make zones.
When auditing a room, prioritize the human experience you want to have over the things you want to consume. Take time to consider solutions to some of your biggest issues and what your home needs to achieve them. These small changes help achieve the lifestyle you want with less friction. It’s worth asking where your home can provide ease in your life and routine.
Define your style
Establishing clear style goals will help you envision the desired outcome for whatever space you want to tackle. Do you want a minimalist aesthetic, a nature-inspired retreat, or a vibrant and eclectic space? Define your style and use it as a compass to guide your design choices. Pinterest is a great tool for this. Sometimes our desires are influenced by the context surrounding us, such as a well-curated store or a magazine spread. This can blur the lines between what inspires us (color, texture, energy) and what we're seeing. By creating Pinterest boards, it becomes clearer which images do not fit and can be deleted. From what remains, you can usually identify some common themes. Starting with style inspiration is like creating a roadmap. It becomes much easier to move forward if you know the key elements of what you want your sanctuary to look and feel like.
Lean into your community
Supporting local artisans and craftspeople can add a lot of humanity and character to your home. These skilled individuals infuse their creations with passion, expertise, and a personal touch. Seek out small shops and independent makers who specialize in items such as handcrafted furniture, bespoke ceramics, or locally sourced textiles. By incorporating their work into your room, you not only add beauty but also support your local community.
Artisans and craftspeople build things to last; the quality is tested and fine-tuned over time. You cannot escape the pride they have for their craft. What I find most helpful is how networked the small business community is. Go to your local markets and fleas. You don’t have to specifically hunt for vintage, but if you invest a little in your community and make some connections, they can usually point you in the right direction. They are familiar with each other and have a broad understanding of your community's catalog.
Know what you're bringing into your home
The materials you choose play a vital role in establishing a harmonious and nurturing atmosphere. As my sweet friend says, "buy it nice, or buy it twice." In many cases, you get what you pay for. Select materials that align with your values and contribute to the ambiance you want to create. Whenever possible, choose sustainable, natural, and eco-friendly options. Local shops can often provide information on the sourcing and sustainability practices of the products they offer.
This is where my love for vintage comes in. While I'm teased for having expensive taste, vintage furniture and decor are accessible, sustainable, and affordable. Thanks to resources like YouTube and TikTok, there are endless tutorials on how to repurpose and restore vintage items. I recently refurbished a vintage Coach bag from an estate sale using a 50-second video, and it's now one of my most prized possessions. I'm currently considering re-wiring an heirloom lamp. Vintage goods were made with different methods and resources than many of the things we have access to today. Let your investment go a little further with some research and brush off some DIY skills.
Personalization is self-expression
Your home is an extension of yourself, so make it look and feel like you live there. Embrace the opportunity to create your space with cherished mementos, family heirlooms, or artwork that resonates with you. You can layer textures and patterns, swap everyday glasses with vintage crystal, and burn signature or seasonal fragrances. This is the perfect opportunity to use the “nice” things you save for company. Enjoy them now because life is the occasion, and the things you love say a lot about who you are and what you value. Small shops, flea markets, and vendors often carry one-of-a-kind or custom-made items that can help you create a space that tells your story and promotes a sense of belonging.
Create an intentional dwelling
Intentionality is key to supporting your goals and lifestyle. For instance, if you intend to be well-rested and maintain good sleep hygiene, consider keeping screens out of the bedroom. If you want to pamper yourself, organize and display your skincare routine properly for easier and more natural use. Creating a small patio oasis can fulfill your desire for nature. You can also make simple swaps, like using fresh fruits as decor, replacing phone chargers with a stack of books, or setting up a peaceful morning coffee tray with a journal nearby. By crafting intentional spaces, you can create zones that cater to your desired activities and foster a sense of purpose and balance.
Transforming your home into a sanctuary requires thoughtfulness, intention, and consideration of your values, needs, and goals. By embracing a value-first perspective, you can support local businesses, repurpose existing items, and curate your space with a self-supportive and kind mindset.
This approach not only adds character and authenticity to your home but also strengthens the bond between your home and the community in which it resides. Creating a home sanctuary is an ongoing process that can be adapted to your changing needs and intentions over time. It can serve as a yearly check-in to ensure that you and your home are both serving and connected to each other.