Column: Is there a place in your heart that feels like home?


Commentary by Cathy Patrick

In 2008, the Pew Research Center surveyed more than 2,000 American adults who were asked to identify “a place in your heart you consider to be home.” Only 29 percent said their current residence felt like home. 

Earlier last year, we considered our homes in a new light as we braced ourselves for the reality of the pandemic. I remember a day in April when a client called me in a state of panic. Her family was adjusting to distance learning, virtual meetings and constant meal planning. These sudden changes caused her to feel a heightened sensitivity to her surroundings. The weary mother was relieved to know she could create a sense of calmness and organization in spite of the inevitable chaos.

Nonetheless, she worried about her teenagers who experienced behavioral changes and mood swings. Realizing how quickly the environment affected family dynamics, it made sense to reimagine the functionality of their main floor. Existing furniture could be rearranged to make quarantine life more palatable.

As we developed a plan, I recalled my own childhood. How would I have responded to these circumstances? Whenever I drew a picture of my family, my house was prominently placed in the middle. This was not unique. Children and teenagers across the globe have invariably placed the home in the center of their world. 

As you reflect upon the places where you’ve lived, identify those that sparked joy. Take time to describe them in writing and include as many details as possible. 

How do you feel about your current residence? As you consider the question, you may reach a deeper understanding of yourself and how your needs have changed this year. If you find room for improvement, be sure to read our next article. We’ll talk about a key principle of interior design and how you can use it to create your own sanctuary.