Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.

When creating your all-important dream home, there’s nothing more important than knowing what makes a house a home, and not just any home, YOUR home. It’s more than just wood and nails, creating a home is making a space that is uniquely yours, that expresses you and how you want to live your life. And most importantly, it helps you become the best version of yourself.

So how do you create your unique home in a world of so many houses?


A House Versus a Home

A lot of people use the words “house” and “home” interchangeably. And, admittedly, sometimes I do, too. But there is a distinct difference between a house and a home that must be made, especially when talking about creating your dream home project.

A house is a building or structure – 4 walls and roof – whose main purpose is to be occupied for habitation and to protect us from the elements. To build a house requires technical knowledge, materials, and money.

But a home is different.

A home is a place of refuge. A person’s most personal belongings are kept in a home and it’s where a person feels safe and accepted. A home tells a story and expresses a person or family’s interests. To create a home requires an emotional connection and sense of belonging, not physical things.

A house can be a home but a home can’t be a house. You can live in a house that doesn’t feel like a home. Or you can find “home” in a house that isn’t yours because home isn’t a physical construct, it’s a feeling. To be a home, it needs to feel comfortable, like a place you belong to and are at peace with.

A house may be decorated with the nicest furnishings money can buy, but that won’t necessarily make it a home. The feeling of “home” can’t be bought. It’s an intimate relationship we have with the personal space we live in. A home reflects who we are, our personality, and how we choose to live our lives.


What Makes a House a Home

“Home” is a tricky concept to describe. It’s a socially constructed idea, really. Home is a feeling that tells the story of ourselves. It resembles who we are and what we cherish in life. A house may be the bones of a home, but it can’t capture the soul. That’s what makes a home. There truly is no place like home because home is what we make it to be.

So what makes a house a home?

Creating a home is a personal endeavor. It’s is less about the building and more about the emotional connection and sense of comfort we have with it.

A home is the sound of children playing, the smell of cooking, and the movement of sunlight through the space. It’s the happiness, contentment, and calm we feel because of the space we’re in.

That costly granite countertop or those custom bookshelves matter less than whether our living spaces nourish our souls, endure happiness, buffer us from stress, or provide opportunities for privacy and socializing.

Home is not a place, it's a feeling


How To Design A Home, and Not Just a House

When designing a house, people spend a lot of time worrying about what the house looks like, what it has, and what it doesn’t have. But in creating a home you must also think about how the spaces make you feel, emotionally and physically and how you want the spaces themselves to feel.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How would you describe how YOU want to feel in your home? Invigorated, peaceful, contented, safe, energetic, organized, rejuvenated, clean, spacious, creative, inspired, authentic, honest, dynamic, calm, proud?
  • How do you want your home to feel? Like a sanctuary, like an exciting social hub, having an expansive openness, or an intimate cozy haven?
  • What do you see & hear in your home? The morning sun naturally waking you up, you hear your children’s laughter, you see your family watching a movie together with fresh popcorn, outside the window you see birds in your flower garden?
  • What kind of life are you living in your home? Working from home, tinkering in your shop out back, helping your children with their homework, sitting on the back patio with your dog?
  • How do you enjoy spending time in your home? Entertaining, having lots of friends casually dropping in, gardening, hanging out with your family, cooking, reading, or not being home much at all?

You need to figure out what kind of person you are and what matters to you. Is natural daylight important to you and your mental health and mood? Are you sensitive to sounds or harsh lighting? Do you enjoy having a peaceful place to sit and read? Do you enjoy connections to the outdoors? Are you a tactile person who prefers certain textures?

During the early design stages of your project, really think about what would make a house truly a home for YOU specifically, and not a home for someone else. This is where it’s critical to remember that this is YOUR project and that you’re not creating it to appease someone else. It’s for you and your family. So what is important to you in a home? Create project goals that reflect this emotional response.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Home is where the heart is,” right? So what does your heart say about the home you’re trying to create for yourself?

Think beyond the number of bedrooms and square footage of your home. Think of the qualitative descriptions. Imagine what your ideal home would feel like and what qualities you wish it to exude. This is the essence of creating a home and this is where a talented designer or architect can help you. Anyone can design a house with a certain number of rooms or of a certain style But creating a home design that infuses all the quantitative AND qualitative criteria that you want is a bigger challenge and where a professional designer can help.

Don’t let yourself accept just any house design. Put in the effort, understand what you really want, and create an environment that feels like home.

What Makes a House a Home?

Ultimately, you want your home to make you happy, to feel safe and secure, and to be conducive to your lifestyle and way of life. How those qualities get infused into your home design is up to you and your design team. Just make sure you’re creating a home that truly reflects you and your idea for what a perfect home would be.

Please share in the comments below what it is about your house that makes it a home.