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Let's be Real about the 8 Things that Make a Home Great

6:00 AM his alarm clock chimes. He rubs his eyes, hits snooze and squeezes in 5 more minutes of shut eye. Alarm goes off again and this time he's up. A moan may or may not have slipped from his lips. He checks his phone for new messages or meetings that may have appeared while he slept. He rubs his face, glances over at his wife who is beginning to stir. Her alarm chimes too. She rubs her eyes and wonders if she was able to clock in some sleep between the kids waking her for different reasons all night. They both look at each other and give a half wave. Voices are too tired for words just yet. Their bodies could use more sleep but the sun is working its way up and the kids need to get to school and he has an early meeting at work. So, she shuts off her alarm and he works his way to the shower while sneaking a quick peek out the window to see what the weather may be doing.

They both have been doing the same morning routine every day for years. He goes off to work to "slay the dragon" and she begins her daily work in the "trenches" with little ones. Meals are made, rooms are cleaned, laundry begins and the day presses onward. She carries the weight of the children, school, home and her miscellaneous jobs and he carries the weight of providing for his family, dealing with coworkers, deadlines, traffic, phone calls, meetings, presentations, etc...

Welcome to real life.

We live in a busy, stressful, fast-paced, informative, demanding time. This may or may not sound like your life, but what is universal about this scenario is that we all at some point or another feel the stress that life can present and we all want to be happy. We are blessed and cursed to have so much at our fingertips. If we're not careful, the stress of having and doing so much can take over. We need time in the day for relief.

6:00 PM eventually comes. The man pulls in the garage and walks in the door after a long day of work. He shuts the door behind him, takes a deep breath, smells something on the stove and searches for his family. After greeting them he makes his way to the closet so he can remove the evidence of his tiring day. He walks back to the kitchen, sighs, stretches and smiles.

He's home.

Now, let's be real. What makes home such a great place? I've said it before but our homes are an extension of us. Home is like a pair of arms that securely wrap around us and welcome us whenever we enter.

Did the man walk in the door, see his granite counter tops or expensive fridge and think, "Oh how I've missed you?" No, he sighed and smiled because he was safe. He was with his loved ones. He gets to take a breather from the daily grind and now relax. His time is now his, his space is now his. He can unwind and fill his tank with the things he loves.

I have a few theories on what actually makes a home great. I also have a few theories on what brings people happiness. So, if you're in the market to buy a home, yes, the upgrades are nice. Granite counter tops and updated appliances are awesome and yes, location is important and all of those other logistics are wonderful, but here are a few things to consider as well...

  1. When you're home are you able to find a space and time for REVERIE? Pretty word right? Does your home invite you to a state in which you are thinking about pleasant things? Do you get to sit, chill, meditate, ponder or daydream? Reverie sounds like the opposite of stress to me. Which I think is a good thing. Our homes should invite that feeling.

  2. Does your home allow SERENDIPITY into your life? Another awesome word, right? That's when you're seeking one thing but something better presents itself. Maybe you're headed to the dishes or sit on the computer but your kids invite you to play soccer in the backyard instead. You should do it. Allow more serendipitous moments into your life and home and you'll be glad you did.

  1. When you walk in your home do you feel a rush of FELICITY? Oh man, that word is great too. Felicity is something that causes happiness. What makes you happy about being home? After a long day of work, your body should crave whatever your home can offer. I hope it brings you joy.

  1. One of my favorite things about a home is its ability to ignite CAMARADERIE or a feeling of good friendship among people in a group. Family. Is your home a place where those who enter feel a sense of belonging and love? Home is a gathering place. Love doesn't need fancy anything. "Where there is heart room, there is floor room." That's what my grandmother used to say. Fill your home with heart.

  1. A home should be filled with light. I believe happiness grows in a LUMINOUS environment. Just like beautiful plants. Increase the light in a home and you've automatically increased your happiness set point. Besides, it's easier to be creative and stress free under the influence of light.

  1. HARMONIOUS. When tidy, order and minimal are put together you get a beautiful harmonious feel in a home. When you walk into your home and it's chaotic, messy and cluttered, I doubt you'll be feeling the love for your home or your family. You may want to turn around and head back to the office. Our home sets the mood for the day. If there's fighting and arguing, chances are your home is setting the stage for that. Living with less means you get to experience more. It also means less stuff to keep clean.

  2. HARBORED. Home is a safe place and refuge from the storms and stresses that life naturally can bring. At least it should be. When the husband and wife above woke up, they woke up to security, warmth and safety. When he walked in the door, he could leave his stress behind for a time and dock his soul in the harbor of his home. We all need a place that allows us to relax and unwind.

  3. And last but not least our home should endow us with the power or ability to continue to live, be successful, etc... It should spark VITALITY. It is the central hub of our success. We start and end the day at home. Does your home invite success, allow you to increase your knowledge, skills, hobbies and allow balance and enthusiasm for life? If not, it's time to walk through each room and see what needs improvement.

Things do not bring people happiness. It's what we do with our things that brings lasting joy. So put your granite counter tops and fancy appliances to use, sit on your cute rocking chairs and have a meaningful conversation with a loved one or enjoy a good book, use your yard for a serendipitous moment with your family, invite your neighbors over for a meal and be thankful every morning you wake up to your alarm that your home has created a safe harbor for you and the people you care about most. And if your home doesn't provide these things for you, than it's time for you to figure out how it can.

Mandy Cheney is a contributing blogger at PRIME RESIDENTIAL.

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