2 Important Questions to Ask When Creating a Haven

When you know your own preferences, your personality will be reflected in your home. Here are 2 important questions to ask when creating a haven for yourself.

I like visiting other people’s houses. Getting a peek into the way other people live is fun, and without a doubt, I love seeing personalities come out in the furnishings and surroundings.

Family photos, meaningful memorabilia, quirky collections, books and magazines aren’t only great conversation starters – they help show a different, more complete side to people and families.

It’s especially interesting to see older photos. When I’m visiting new friends, I love getting a peek into their pasts through wedding and baby photos. It’s so fun to see what my new friends looked like years ago.

Tidy and peaceful living room with fireplace

When cozy homes aren’t generic

When homes are filled with generic décor – or look like they’re only copying the latest trends – there’s a feeling of insincerity.

Of course everything might look really nice, but so much heart and soul is missing. I imagine it must be hard to feel truly comfortable and at home inside the four walls.

It’s a lot like the difference between the generic feeling of a chain motel and the cozy comfort in a homey, privately-owned inn.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with trends or trendiness. But sometimes décor trends seem more appropriate to stay in the aisles of Target instead of the cozy rooms of family homes.

The big question to ask yourself, though, is how comfortable do you feel in your own home? Do you feel like your home is a haven for you?

The difference of YOUR haven

Just like every person is different and every house is different, every haven is different, too. What speaks to you won’t necessarily speak to someone else. Your own picture of coziness may not resonate with others.

And that’s OK.

Realizing and embracing the fact that your haven can and should be unique brings a lot of freedom. You don’t need to be concerned with a cookie cutter style. You don’t have to break the bank trying to keep up with the Joneses – or HGTV.

In fact, by refusing to copy every trend and instead choosing to follow your own preferences, you can create a haven that brings you peace and comfort.

Wood table with vase and peonies

Shop from your own home

One easy way to start creating a haven without buying a thing is to shop from your own home.

You already have your own unique memories you might want to surround yourself with … so start from there.

  • Find old photos that remind you of happy times.
  • Dig out really cool souvenirs and keepsakes, whether they’re from your childhood or your latest vacation.
  • Display a family heirloom like your grandmother’s quilt.

Sure, you could head to the store and buy interesting-looking stuff, but try being resourceful, instead. It will help you save a little money and reduce clutter in the process.

Plus, it will help you get some use out of what you already have. (And isn’t that the point of owning something? To use it instead of storing it away?)

"Realizing and embracing the fact that your haven can and should be unique brings a lot of freedom. You don’t need to be concerned with a cookie cutter style. You don’t have to break the bank trying to keep up with the Joneses – or HGTV." - Hilary Bernstein, HomeToAHaven.com

2 important questions to ask when creating a haven

If you want to get busy creating a haven that’s just right for you, but you’re unsure how to do it, you can rest assured that it’s easier than you think. A great way to get started is by asking yourself two questions:

1. What is your personality?

When you think about your personality, you should try to mirror it in your home. Are you bold? Adventurous? Shy? Reserved? Sentimental?

In her book from the 90s, Chris Madden’s Guide to Personalizing Your Home, designer and decorator Chris Madden defined five different decorating styles:

  • Traditional: “A classic, time-honored approach to decorating … balance and symmetry, fine antiques, classic period pieces, floral prints, and richly finished dark woods.”
  • Contemporary: “A clean, sleek, and modern look … bold colors, crisp lines, and well-designed accessories and lighting.”
  • Adventurous: “A very eclectic look, with colors, patterns, materials, and objects from around the world, including lots of ethnic, folkloric, and artisanal pieces.”
  • Romantic: “Surrounded by family memories, fresh flowers, pastel colors, delicate prints, graceful lines, and soft fabrics.”
  • Serene: “Creamy neutrals, elegantly understated arrangements, green plants and lightly scented candles, uncluttered countertops and tabletops – less is more!”

Today, Bohemian, Farmhouse, and Minimalism could easily find their way into those same categories. By using these styles to echo your own personality, your home will feel more like a haven for you. You won’t need to feel trapped in anyone else’s style. Your home will end up looking and feeling like a perfect match for you – as it should.

2. What is your home’s personality?

As much as you should play to your own sense of style, it’s also important to consider the personality and style of your home.

What is your home like?

If you’re living in a modern, contemporary home, it will look pretty weird to fill it with antiques. And if you have a farmhouse, you should shy away from sleek, streamlined, modern furnishings.

By simply thinking through these two questions, answering them, and then making needed changes in your home, you’ll create an amazing foundation for transforming your home into a haven.

It’s important to remember that your home won’t look perfect … and that’s OK. But if it appeals to you and your family, then it will look and feel like a haven to you. And that’s exactly what you’re trying to create.

As you create a haven that speaks to you, it can’t help but warmly welcome people who visit your home – and reveal a deeper side of you in the process.

Cozy blanket and tray with a tea cup

If you’re serious about creating a haven, I’d LOVE to hear your answers … what is your personality? And what is your home’s personality?

Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may make a commission on products purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting this website!

All images courtesy of Kaboompics.


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  1. I’d have to say my personality (out of the ones you mentioned) is somewhere between serene and contemporary. Thankfully, my house is a blank canvas. It can fit any type of décor.

    Now I just have to do a ton of decluttering so I can start making it serene/contemporary ;-) I look forward to it. It makes me feel very peaceful when I see a home that’s nicely decorated/decluttered as those two “personalities.” :-)

  2. Hilary thanks so much for your tips. They are truly helpful and inspiring.

    Like Chantel my personality is a mix of contemporary and serene. And also my home can swing it either way. I live in the Caribbean near mountains so I love to bring the nature in.

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