When my family moved into our last apartment, our final stop before purchasing a home, I barely furnished it. “Were only here for a little while,” I would offer as explanation for our couch with no coffee table, our table pushed awkwardly in the corner. Little by little the bedrooms became more homey; it was pretty inevitable that the places where we slept and dreamed and snuggled would feel more like home.
The living/dining area stayed the same, though, and I rarely liked to spend time in those rooms. “All you need to do is rearrange a little,” my older sister would urge me if I complained, but I would write off her advice, thinking “we’ll be out soon enough.” And then one day, frustrated by the big blank space that so often filled up with toys and household junk, I rearranged.
I looked at the spot and allowed myself to think of it as home, to remember that home is simply where my family is. I looked at the spot with intention. Where could I put the table to make serving food more convenient? Where should the couch go to offer a comfortable spot for visitors? Didn’t I have a little table in storage I could dig out? So I rearranged the room and it looked great. It felt great. It felt like home, as it should have. Nothing bought or spent, just a fresh look and a fresh outlook.
This can apply to so many things, not just our furniture. When faced with something that jars, that rubs us the wrong way, what can we do to make it feel, well, more like home?
First things first, figure out what the problem really is. I was holding on to the idea of a future home, and needed to accept where I was in the present. I also needed to figure out why the set-up bugged me so much. It was set-up in a rush, as a temporary arrangement, and completely not suited to what my family actually needed. There may be something in your life that prickles and you think of it as that annoying pebble in your shoe, without looking at what actually bothers you about it. Sometimes it is deeper than we realize.
Consider another’s perspective. In my situation, it was a literal one – my sister thought I should rearrange, and boy did I need to. I also had to rearrange my outlook on the entire situation. Often, it is another’s perspective we need to consider to see the problem in a different light, especially when the problem involves them. What we see as being one way, they may see as completely different, and calmly considering their point of view often helps both parties tackle the problem more cooperatively. Getting a trusted friend’s perspective, or even just listening ear, can also give us more to muse over. Sometimes we need a fresh pair of eyes to see the situation from another angle.
“Rearrange the furniture” until you find what works. I dragged the table across the floor, pushed the couch into every corner, dug out an old table and rug and tried different variations until we found what worked for us and the room. Likewise, the best solution to a problem won’t always be the first one. Be willingly to “move stuff around” a little until you find what truly works, a situation (or living room) that you and the ones you love can truly feel comfortable in.[Photo Credit: Swaminathan]