Ask the Audience: Making Your Home a Haven

Heather says:

It’s Friday and the sunshine is calling my name, which of course means it is time for Ask the Audience.

Ready? Good.

There is more to keeping a house than keeping it clean.  Is your home simply a place to stash or your stuff or is it a place you enjoy spending time?

I will admit to completely slacking in this department.  There are some seasons of life where it seems as though all a person can manage is the bare minimum.  I am just beginning to surface from one such period and have begun looking for ways to make my home more inviting. So Home Eccers, I ask you, what inexpensive or free things do you do to make your home a haven for you or your family?


  1. Jasi on May 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Near-extreme minimalism for sanity.

    I love being a mom, so much! But I’m not a natural at all. It doesn’t occur to me that kids will ingest everything, dangle from every cord and basically scare the wits out of me at every opportunity. So I’m pretty grateful that I don’t like having a lot of stuff up. It’s safer and way easier to maintain cleanliness. And most moms will agree, I think… when you have -no- energy, when the toddler is refusing to wear pants again and dinner is a complete mystery still- having the house neat (if not clean) is heavenly.

  2. Angela on May 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    We have a very small house and so our living room has turned in to the office, dining room, play room, guest room, library, craft room and much more. One thing that we like about that s that we are always together. There is not a lot of places to go in the house and for me I like that. My kids are always near by and I can do lots in my one room. This just makes me want to be here and the hussle and bussle makes me feel good. Don’t get me wrong I would love a bigger house but I do not think I would give up my multi-purpose room.

  3. Stephanie on May 17, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I will take some time to put stray things away, have a clean sink in the kitchen, and floors swept. Then I will light a candle and turn on some soft music. Sitting down with a good book and a hot cup of tea always works too!

  4. Connie on May 17, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Part of making a home feel like a haven is the level of comfort your family has there, and that doesn’t just mean physical comfort. The ritual you have with pizza night is most likely already doing this. In one place I lived, I had a favorite easy chair in the living room, an oversized coffee mug that didn’t match the rest of my dishes but I loved it and it was ONLY for my use, and a throw blanket next to that chair to snuggle up under while watching chick flicks. The ritual of watching chick flicks in that chair with that blanket and that coffee mug was probably more important to the haven-making than the actual objects were.

  5. tink on May 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Fresh sheets on the bed.

  6. trixie on May 16, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Great topic!

    I think back fondly to my childhood home and growing up years. Our home was very modest, always a little dirty and cluttery with everyday life stuff but it was HOME. It brings back such warm fuzzy feelings.

    So, what made it so homey? Hard to say! I think it was a combination of a whole bunch of things and the number one ” thing” on the list was Mom.

    We didn’t have great furniture, scented candles, pretty throws or anything of the sort. Instead, we had contentment, creativity, hot bean soup us kids helped to make, a ratty old sheep blanket we wore out because we loved it so much, (we still speak of the sheep blanket :), and beloved story books we would take turns reading over and over.

    Home is so much more than where we park our shoes at night. Home is where love is.

    Take Care,


  7. Karen on May 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    music. I try to keep my husband’s guitar handy enough that he’ll play it frequently. I also sing a lot. Not very well but that’s not really the point. Singing is completely free.

  8. newscoma on May 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I love the line about bare minimum.
    Heather, you are awesome.

  9. Heidi @ Carolina Dreamz on May 16, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    All I can come up with are very selfish. What does this say about me, today? All my ideas are strictly for me/mom.. LOL

    I dollar tree acrylic tumblers with bright flowers for summer. If they have matching little plates for me to sneak my own cookie snack.. its even better.

    I only use handmade face/wash cloths. They are cotton crochet and have ruffle edges. I could have made them, but I didn’t.

    I buy myself white daisies, when I see them. Sometimes a small white mum plant works, too. It distracts my attention from a semi-messy room.

    I make home made lemonade. Wish I had a back yard lemon source.

    I have an electric stove. I quarterly replace the reflector/liner/whatever its called thing, under each burner. I buy the cheap ones and rarely clean them anymore. I cover the stove-top with a pretty burner cover set. Right now they are hydrangea’s.

    I just ordered a new apron from Its part of my “decorate it with usefulness” approach. Again, I could have made it, but I didn’t.

    OH and your home should have “adult only” chocolate. The real good stuff. Just in case.

  10. Mom of three on May 16, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Flowers-fresh cut or potted
    Soft music playing instead of tv

  11. warillever on May 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    I love the idea of a “welcome home” sign on the family entrance to the house. Thank you, Pam.

    I agree with the others that reducing clutter makes the house more peaceful. In particular, I make sure that the kitchen counters are clear.

    As for sweet touches, after washing fruit I put it in a basket on the kitchen table. A colorful, inviting (non-cluttering) centerpiece.

  12. Pam on May 16, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I know this may sound corney……but it is simple…..every once and awhile I put a hand made “WELCOME HOME” sign on the door that my husband comes thru (inside the garage) when he comes home at night…..It always makes him smile and it is a reminder that home is the safe place……the relaxing place…..the welcoming place after a stressful day at work.
    Pam, South Bend

  13. Patia on May 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    The best thing I ever did for my home was to go through it and evaluate every single item, asking 1) Do I use it? and 2) Do I love it? If the answer was not yes to at least one, I got rid of it. It made me feel so happy to look around and see only things I used or loved. Preferably both.

    I need to do that again.

  14. JayMonster on May 16, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Most people put away throw blankets and such after winter, but I like to break out lighter ones, makes for a cozy touch over the corner of chairs and sofa, plus great to throw over while watching a movie, etc.

    Candles. I like Sugar Cookie, Apple Pie and other “warm” simple scented candles to keep a room fresh, and feeling like “home”

    With warmer weather comes humidity, and with humidity carpets don’t always smell fresh, especially after a vacuuming, so I am a bit more liberal with baking soda to get musty smells out of the carpet and to keep the Vacuum itself smelling better.

    Last but not least, a tradition I picked up from my mother, in the true “spring cleaning” sense, is I spend a day going after all those little places that get ignored most of the time, and clean things like the top of door jambs, window sills and sections that have been closed and ignored all winter and have built up dust and dirt. It is amazing how much builds up in those “nooks and cranies”

  15. dolphin on May 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I second May’s suggestion. Just getting clutter out of sight makes all the difference in the world of making a space welcoming.

    I like to light candles as well. Something about candle light (especially if you have enough to use ONLY candlelight for lighting) is very relaxing and welcoming in my opinion. Just be sure to not fall asleep or leave the room with the candles burning (especially if you have a stupid cat who been known to light herself on fire!)!

  16. Tracy on May 16, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I hesitate to even answer for fear that some will think that I have this mastered. When truthfully, I am so far from it. But when I consider that there are many other mothers of young families out there I will offer up a simple idea.

    In the vacuum bag, I have some vanilla scented potpurri type thingies (you buy them in packets at WalMart or wherever in the arts and crafts area.) and when I vacuum the house, it gives off this nice simple scent. I think (hope!) it adds a nice touch!

  17. May on May 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Making sure clutter is tucked away out of sight does a lot to make a place feel more peaceful. I can relax much more with no clutter!