What does your home say about you?
Our homes are not just living spaces, but emotional spaces. They express a whole load of conscious and unconscious truths about ourselves (I know, it’s scary!) I’ve always believed this and it informs the way I approach shaping my own home as well as those of my clients. And, just as in any relationship, sometimes we’re all loved up, and at other times we’re tearing our hair out in frustration (or perhaps that’s just me!).
Of course, any tension we feel about our living spaces can spill over and affect other areas of our lives, include our relationships with our family and friends, our self-esteem, and our general levels of well-being. Equally, when our mental state is fragile or our day to day lives unbalanced, our homes will often mirror that discord.
If we choose to, we can use what we see in our homes to understand the imbalances in our lives, and to make adjustments accordingly. Working on your home can therefore be both a diagnostic tool and a form of self-care: a loving activity that can enable you to feel better and live better.
Below is a short quiz which might help you to understand where your home, head and heart is at right now. A couple of caveats before you start, though. Firstly, it’s intended to be fun but hopefully it is also a little thought provoking. Secondly, the way you answer these questions will vary over time – how we feel about our home is not something set in stone, just as our emotional state is always in flux.
Circle one option in each of the following three questions. Use your answers to find your dominant letter, then read the most relevant results below.
How do you feel about your home?
A I love it. It tells a story about who I am, and what’s important to me. When I’m there I feel safe, happy and inspired. I’m proud of my home and I enjoy inviting people into it.
B It’s not really a home but feels like somewhere I’m just passing through. I sleep here but I don’t feel I really live here. I don’t invite anyone else round because it’s not a place that I’m attached to.
C It stresses me out. I can’t keep it tidy and I can’t find anything. My home is part of my to do list but I never get around to doing anything about it. I’m a bit embarrassed about it.
D It’s fine. I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. It’s not that important to me. Sometimes I entertain here, but I’d rather go out to somewhere a bit more inspiring and fun.
E My home is immaculate, and beautifully decorated but I do sometimes feel that it’s not really me. I love to show it off, but when I’m there by myself, I don’t feel at my most relaxed.
What’s your relationship to your home?
A We’re best buds. When I’ve had a bad day it helps me to put everything into perspective, and it plays an important role in my hopes and dreams. I feel totally at ease here.
B My home is like my party pal. I have some good times with it, but I’m waiting for something better to come along. It’ll be easier to move if I don’t drop my anchor here and invest too much into it.
C We’re old friends who have fallen out over a few things. I’d love us to have a better relationship but they wind me up and don’t make me feel very well supported when I’ve had a bad day.
D My home is an acquaintance. We spend time together and our relationship functions quite well, but it’s not a deep connection. I don’t really need any more than that.
E My home is my super cool friend. Everyone notices them, because they’re so fabulous and totally on trend, but being with them can be a bit hard work, because I feel I need to keep up.
How would you feel if you had to move?
A I’d be really sad if I had to move because I’ve invested so much into my home, but I know I could make another place feel really good too.
B Honestly, I’d move tomorrow but I don’t think there’s anything better out there than where I am right now. One day maybe I’ll find the perfect place.
C I’d be gutted because I love this place and I do feel really at home here. I just need it to work a bit better for me.
D I can move on. It’ll be fine. I’m not particularly attached to it and I’m sure anywhere else I find will be just as good.
E Actually it would be a relief. I’ve done everything I can to it and it doesn’t really feel like my home anyway. I’d happily move on.
Mostly As You’re feeling really secure where you’re living at the moment and you recognise what an important role it plays in your well-being and self-care. Your home reflects who you are and enables you to live well. Stay attuned to the fact that your needs will change over time, and that you might need to make a shift in your living space to reflect what is changing in your life.
Mostly Bs You might be living somewhere that really is only a temporary solution, but it’s entirely possible that it’s not temporary but just feels it. Something is holding you back from being present with yourself and in your home. Are you struggling to accept where you are? Putting down roots in your home might make you feel vulnerable, but the rewards in terms of how you feel on a day to day basis might be worth the risk.
Mostly Cs You recognise that your living space is having a negative impact on how you feel. You know that you need to do something about it, but your day to day life is really busy. By carving out time to work on your living space though, you can reduce the time you spend on everything else you need to do. It’s also part of caring for yourself, which ultimately benefits you and everyone else around you.
Mostly Ds You have a relaxed and pragmatic view of your home. It doesn’t need to be everything to you, but it needs to work and enable you to live your life the way you want to. Here’s some food for thought though: just a small investment of time or money into your home might transform it into somewhere that you really love, and which aligns a little more closely with your life and your aspirations.
Mostly Es You understand what makes a living space look good, but your home doesn’t really feel good to you. Are you clear on what you want and need and do you feel comfortable expressing that? What colours are you drawn to? What are the places and spaces that really make your heart sing? How could you incorporate them into your home? Taking time to tell your story in your home might encourage you to express yourself more freely in other areas of your life.
Okay, so however you answered, don’t take it too seriously. In a way, it doesn’t matter which letters you circled. The options above are really just suggestions and they might not describe your relationship to your current home accurately anyway. Or perhaps you feel you fall into more than one category. BUT they are a good starting point for thinking about your living space, and whether your home could play a different role in how you feel and how you live.