I have a quick exercise for you today that will help set the tone for your home in the coming year—choosing a “word of the year” for your home.
Have you ever chosen a word of the year before?
It’s an exercise I love, but I’ve always found it difficult to have one word that covers all areas of my life. So this year I am allowing myself to choose a word of the year for myself, for my business, and for my home.
For 2016 my word of the year for my home is ALIVE.
UPDATE: I choose a guiding word for my home every year. Read on to see what I chose in 2016. Then, check out my guiding word for 2018 and see how I’m displaying it in my home.
Before I tell you more about the meaning of my word and how I came up with it, I want to explain why I think choosing a word of the year for your home is so important.
If I were to sum up my entire decorating philosophy into a short and sweet motto, it would be…
Focus on the feeling.
How your home feels is paramount. Being intentional about how you want your home to feel can make decorating and housekeeping easier by giving you focus.
The easiest way to set your intention for your home is to choose just one word to focus on. The best words are emotionally charged and directly address how you want to feel in your home.
My word is ALIVE.
It took some thought to narrow it down to this word, but I kept coming back to these three questions:
- What does my ideal day at home look like?
- What do I admire most in other people’s homes?
- When I’m at my best, my home is…?
The answer to those three questions led me to my word.
What does my ideal day look like at home?
We love to spend time hanging out at home. But the best days are full of laughter, cooking, listening to music, and playing together. No one ever says they’re bored. We feel inspired and energized. We enjoy each other’s company. My ideal day at home is full of life.
What do I admire most in other people’s homes?
Over the holidays I took special note of the elements that made me feel welcome and comfortable in other people’s homes. Two that really stood out to me were music playing in the background and lit candles or a roaring fire. Each time I heard music or saw dancing flames, I thought to myself I should light candles more often or put music on in the background. I want my home to feel like this.
When I’m at my best, my home is…
Clean, but lived in. There’s a stack of books on the kitchen table, but the counters are clean and the floors are swept.
Healthy. The fridge is stocked with our favorite foods so we can eat in every day and grab a healthy snack anytime.
Calm, but not too quiet. There’s kid giggles, music, and the patter of puppy paws in the background.
The word that best sums up my ideal day at home, what I want my home to feel more like, and how my home feels when I’m at my best is ALIVE.
What’s Your Word of the Year for Your Home?
I created a free workbook including the three questions above, plus five more questions to help you choose your guiding word. At the end, there is space to brainstorm possible words.
To find the right word, you’re going to need to make a list of many words. Some of the first words you come up with are going to be a given, like comfortable or safe. We all want that in our homes, but those particular words don’t do much to inspire improvement.
Keep brainstorming, and you’re certain to come up with some more impactful words that describe the way you want to feel in your home. You might see a pattern forming in the words you use to answer the questions. For example, if you repeat words like inviting, warm, and welcoming, those words might be pointing you to something with deeper meaning like togetherness. See how that word has more power and summarizes all the other words?
You’ll know you’ve found the right word when you’re excited about the potential for that word to come to life in your home.
Your ideal word will honor the strengths your home already has while inspiring improvements, so your home supports you better.
How to Start Using Your Word as a Guide Right Now
The last page of the workbook is my favorite. It gives you a spot to write your word and then space to reflect on how you’ll focus on that word in your home this year. What will you do more of and what will you do less of?
For me, to make my home come ALIVE, I will slow down to light the candles and put the music on. I will make the activities my kids love the most (coloring, writing) easier for them to initiate on their own. I will get more organized about grocery shopping, so we have a well-stocked, nourishing kitchen. I will try new recipes (for meals, shakes, and coffee) with my husband.
To embrace a home that is ALIVE, I will stop rushing through the day from one activity to the next. I will disconnect from my devices more, so I can better connect with my family. I will stop trying to hush the house and instead enjoy the melody of activity in our home.
The feeling you want to create for your home is the most important decorating decision you can make. It’s the starting point for everything else. If you know what feeling you’re after and what evokes that feeling for you, then all the other decisions in your home become instantly easier. Don’t do anything in your home that doesn’t support your word of the year.
Share Your Word Below
It’s time to find your word. Download the worksheet below and get started. Then come back here and tell me your word of the year for your home in the comments below.