To every person, the word "home" calls forth poignant memories. Filled with joy, or filled with regret. Home as it was; home as it should have been; home as it can be. Our ideal is for home to be a welcoming place. We're created with a need for a safe place where we can refuel and feel untouched by a hostile world.
What makes home a soothing, peaceful refuge? "To fill our homes with life, we need to continually stimulate our senses in ways that are pleasing to ourselves and honoring to God," says interior designer Terry Willits. Willits is the author of Creating a SenseSational Home, and five companion gift books, 101 Quick Tips to Make Your Home Sound, - Taste, - Look, - Feel, and - Smell SenseSational. Her premise is that appealing to the five senses is crucial to creating a comfortable home environment--whether it is for a growing family, a couple, or an individual living alone. A SenseSational home can be a mansion, a studio apartment or any size space in between. It need not be extravagant. It can be in a heavily populated urban area or an idyllic, spacious country setting. What's inside is what counts, Willits says.
"Opportunities are all around us: noticing when someone needs to be held without a word, filling the kitchen with the fragrance of a favorite meal, decorating the rooms in a comfortable and inviting way, cleaning out the refrigerator and loading it with delicious food, dropping a love note in a lunch bag, turning off the television to listen to a heartache, lighting a candle to quiet minds after a hectic day," Willits explains.
So, this concept requires more than a one-time redecorating or accessorizing a few rooms. Living in a SenseSational home means committing to a lifestyle of attentiveness to others' joys, to serving one another and attributing value to those we love, to taking care of ourselves, as well. It means making home-based memories filled with warm hugs, warm colors, warm fragrances, warm flavors. The Bible has much to say on this subject, Willits says. "God loves us so much that he has given us thousands of flavors to enjoy, and gardens of colorful, scented flowers to bring us pleasure. As we satisfy the senses in our homes, we reflect the love and care of our Heavenly Father."
How can one woman begin to accomplish this task in her home? Must she become an expert in every area?
"Creating a SenseSational home is much like conducting an orchestra," Willits explains. "Though the conductor may have a special love for one instrument in particular, it is not necessary that he or she be an accomplished, master musician on all of the instruments. You may not cook like Julia Child or decorate like Laura Ashley, but you can still create a beautiful balanced melody by learning enough about each sense to make it a part of your home's harmony."
Willits says a good starting point is to begin accumulating a dream notebook, filled with articles, photos, ideas worth trying. Each woman's notebook will reflect her tastes, and her interpretations of her family's tastes. Not every idea will work in every home, she explains. Nor should it.
"God made you special and unique. Celebrate that uniqueness by expressing what you love in life."
Editors Note: The preceding is based on the new book Creating a SenseSational Home (Zondervan 1996), written by Terry Willits, available at your local bookstore or by calling 800-727-3480. Willits owns an interior design business, SenseSational Designs, Inc. She and her husband live in Marietta, Ga.