The place we come back to every day, where we spend so much of our time and invest so much of our time and our money. Our home means so much to us, yet it also means something quite different for each of us. Is it surprising that, at the end of the day, we have a hard time agreeing on how to organise a home together?
For some, the home is a matter of utility. We need a roof over our heads and somewhere to keep our furnishings and store treasured belongings. If we have a family, we need to keep them safe in a stable and cohesive environment. If we live by ourselves, we need a place that serves us best and is our own peaceful domain.
Besides practical use, our house is also a matter of personality. Some of us are enthusiastic about the challenge of turning a house into a home. Paintings, cushions, plants and memorabilia are an extension of our tastes and preferences. It makes us feel comfortable to be in surroundings that remind us of the good times had together, and the care and creativity that went in to setting up the space.
For others, this is too much fuss. As long as a house is functional, clean, and conducive to getting things done quickly, all the knick-knacks seem to only be getting in the way.
When you are a guest in someone’s house, you will notice how the people who live there view their home. A couple that owns the house may neatly combine one very artistically inclined person, and one who is supremely practical-minded, and you will see one room may be brightly coloured and decorated, while a kitchen is functional and streamlined with the latest gadgets.
The same goes for storage space. What could be special about block of space that only serves as a utility? Yet, a surprising number of people view their storage unit as an extension of their home. They will feel discomfort if stored items are in disorder if they are stored incorrectly, or even if the storage unit is all too far away from home.
It is important to keep this in mind when we try to meet each other in the middle. There is a sentimental weight attached to the idea of “home” that may colour people’s perspective on how to go about setting one up, while for others there is a lack of any particular sentiment. Neither perception is wrong, or worse than another. Something as inherent to our daily lives as the spaces we inhabit will always be inextricably linked to our psychological make-up. It simply makes no sense to try to convince somebody that their home is either less than- or more than what they feel that it is. The crunch is in making decisions together that make sense to all parties sharing a space.