How to Feel at Home in Your Home – Part 1

I’ve always considered myself to be an adventurous soul. I love new experiences, places and foods. When my husband and I started our renovation journey nearly a year ago, we felt exhilarated and excited about the changes that would take our shell of a house to a beautiful and highly functional home.

I won’t go into the details but our renovation has stretched on far longer than originally anticipated. Let me tell you, living in a perpetual state of disarray and flux takes its toll!

During the renovation and over the previous four years that included 6 moves across the country I’ve discovered that I need to have a sacred sanctuary to feel grounded and do my best work.

Have you noticed that when you go through seasons of change you also crave a feeling being at peace?


Whether you are surrounded by some uncertainty or if you would love to be able to add some more “you” into your home, here is part 1 of how to feel at home in your home.

1. Decide how you want to feel in each area of your home.

So much of our time is spent around “doing” and this proliferates into our homes as well.

For example say you want a desk and work area in your home. So you buy a new desk and set it up in an out-of-the-way corner or room so you aren’t distracted by work on your off hours or leisure time.

A few weeks go by and you are finding that you aren’t as productive as you would like. You tweak a few productivity systems, but there is something that isn’t quite right.

I’m here to let you know that when you start with how you want to feel while you work, this will impact not only your desk placement, but your productivity too.

When you purposefully create areas in your home and work spaces, you enhance your health, mental acuity and emotional states of being.

In our homes we typically need areas that are calming, as well as areas that are energizing. I want my kitchen to be filled with joy, beauty and passion for eating and connecting, but my office needs to be filled with light, so that I feel energized and I have a connection to the outside world.

I encourage you to choose one room or area of your home and ask yourself, “What do I need most, right now?  Am I craving a space to create calm or raise my energy?”


All over the web you’ll find articles telling us that in order to refresh a room all we need to do is pick a few plants, grab some new decorative cushions and throw a new piece of art on the wall — ta da, a refreshed space.

We humans are way more complex than that. Our memories and experiences drive our feelings long after the events have taken place.

2.  Memory, the forgotten sense.

There have been many scientific studies on how color effects us psychologically.

Let’s consider the popular restaurant chain, McDonald’s.

“Looking at the positive psychology qualities of red & yellow in relation to the fast food industry, red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, it attracts attention.  Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness.

When you combine red and yellow it’s about speed, quickness.  In, eat and out again.” – Karen Haller

Regardless of the studies, color remains subjective. Meaning if you’ve had a negative or traumatic experience with the color yellow, no matter what, yellow will not feel happy and friendly.

After many years of teaching women how to create art to facilitate healing, I can tell you without a doubt the colors we are personally drawn to or dislike are no accident.

Color, like memories are so individual. Listen to your gut response when choosing color for your space. (Along with these tips here.)

3. Lighting, Light Quality and Light Color Temperature.

Imagine these two scenarios.

Surrounded by a cozy blanket you pick up your book, feeling comforted by the soft warm glow from the lamp beside you.

Refreshed, you open your eyes, happy to see the cool morning light streaming through your bedroom window.

Two very different scenarios, that likely happened in the same room, separated by 7-9 hours.

The lighting and light quality in your room directly affects how you feel.

Think about the last time you were in a big box store with tons of florescent lights overhead. These stores are not designed to make you feel at home and the lights are often on the cool spectrum.

In contrast, do you remember the last time you were in a favorite independent bookstore? Yes, the space is smaller, but often the color temperature of these lights are warmer, mimicking the color of candles or fire.

If you’ve ever found yourself staring at the huge rows of light bulb choices in Home Depot, wondering what the heck the difference is, I’ve been there too!

Succinctly the color of the lights are measured by the Kelvin scale. You’ll find this information on the box.

Warm Lighting (2700k – 3000K) = warm, inviting and cozy. This lighting is most similar to incandescent lights that we had before CFL’s and LED lights.

Neutral Lighting (3500K) = neutral, efficient, balanced. Lots of brands still call this soft white.

Daylight Lighting (4100K – 6500K) = cool, white, can be overly intense. Florescent lights fall under this category.

My personal preference is 3500K or below, as I find the light spectrum of daylight lighting to be too greenish and intense.

If you want to learn more,  check out this helpful video.

Decide what color temperature relates to how you want to feel in your space. If you are not sure, buy a couple different color temperature bulbs and see if it changes how you feel.

If you would like to have the option of changing the colour temparature without changing the bulb, consider these smart bulbs by Philips.

If you want to be able to have a range of lighting options without getting a ton of lights, consider putting them on a dimmer switch so you can easily increase or decrease the light intensity.

There are more ways to consider how many lights you’ll need, but this is a good overview on getting starting choosing lights that help you create your desired feeling or mood.

This concludes part 1 of 2. I’d love to hear from you: Do you feel at home in your home?

I help homeowners choose colours and lighting for the inside and outside of their homes, along with developing colour palettes and finish packages for commercial clients, realtors and builders.

I offer e-design services for those of you not local and in-person consultations and design if you are in the RVA (Richmond, Virginia) area.

Would you like some assistance honing in or refining how to create a space that helps you feel your best?

Email me,  I’d love to work with you.


32 Replies to “How to Feel at Home in Your Home – Part 1”

  1. I like the way you put it, renovation journey. Well, I plan to embark on a renovation journey next summer, to make our place more functional. So these tips sound very useful and helpful to me. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the second part!

    1. Thank you for the complement. Yes, stay tuned for part 2, it will include more useful tips to help you along your journey. Please contact us if we can be of more assistance to you on your renovations.

  2. That’s awesome to know about the colors. I’d heard things like that before but forgot. I remember hearing orange makes you feel hungry.

  3. We’ve lived in our home two years this summer and I still don’t really feel at home. Going to take your tips and see what I can do!

    1. Best of luck to you. Décor and lighting can be hard choices. Find how you want to feel in your space and go from there. Let us know if we can assist in any other way with your choices.

    1. Yes! Great idea to change for the seasons as we often have different feelings and moods as the seasons change. I always enjoy a good décor change. Thanks for commenting.

  4. This is an important piece. I grew up in a mostly red room and I think it overstimulated me. Now I like calming blues, greens, taupes and grays, beige and browns. I see that there is a reason behind my latest choices. Thanks.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article. Color choice can definitely make you feel certain ways. Sounds like you have found colors that speak well to your current being. Thanks for commenting.

  5. We spent 4 years completely remodeling our home. We did a different section each year and took 6 months off before we started the next section. These are really great tips and advice and I wish I would have followed them when we were in the process of the remodel.

    1. There’s always next time! What a huge undertaking that was. I am sure your made amazing choices and everything turned out great.

  6. I’d never thought of colour psychology before but that’s so true (in the case of McDonalds.) My office is quite small and I face the wall. I know I’d definitely be more productive with more natural light. The brightness guide is really handy too, I also prefer warmer lighting than the glare of day lighting.

    1. Everyone has to find what is best for them. Find your sweet spot in lighting and color choice for your office and I am sure production will increase. Let me know if we can be of any further assistance in your choices.

    1. Hopefully you were able to take away some helpful tips. Game rooms are hard as they always feel on the “moody” side. Best of luck in your lighting choices.

  7. Great tips and a good idea for a blog post. It’s little things like the lighting and temperature that make a difference to how you feel. Colour psychology is a fascinating area too.

  8. Lighting has been the hardest one for me to master, especially constantly renting! But the more natural light we have, the happier I am. I’ll have to explore your tips on bulbs!

    1. Yes natural light can completely change the mood of a room and the person. Give the new bulbs and try and let me know how you liked them. Thanks for the comment.

  9. Love all of these tips! Regarding lighting, I’d like to add that table lamps and wall sconces are more “flattering” as they don’t create undereye shadows that make us look old and tired. It’s more romantic (!) and easier on the eyes than ceiling cans.

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