If you have a favorite restaurant, what is it that makes it your favorite? Maybe it's the food, maybe the fact that it's water front. Maybe they have live music. Maybe there's a server you've become friends with and request every time you go. Maybe it's the candle light, maybe it's the interior design, maybe it's the amazing smell of delicious food cooking. Maybe it's the cafe feel, the food presentation, the daintiness, the seclusion, the wall of windows, the outdoor seating... Maybe it's of several of the above. Atmosphere is a combination of the way a place interacts with our senses. At least that's the definition I'm giving it. So, how do you create atmosphere in your home?
My mom's a pro at this, and I grew up taking it for granted until I had my own home and wanted it to feel homey. I'm slowly learning the art. Here's what I've learned.
Add some living things to a place. Whether it's a tiny jelly jar with a few fresh blossoms in it, or potted plants, or a pet, or the obvious: people, put some living things in a space and they will bring life to it. If it's people you are relying on to create the atmosphere in your home, finding joy in life and loving on each other are musts. It's hard to always speak kindly, and measure what you say before it comes out, or to have a good attitude when you're just exhausted or feel like being left alone. (Kind of how I've been feeling today, so what an appropriate day for God to lay it on my heart to write this post...) But if we want to be the initiators to having a home that is relaxing, welcoming, refreshing, and one of our favorite places to be, that's a HUGE part of it.
Add some of you to a space. What do you like? Do you like color, do you like neutral, do you like pattern, texture, artwork, handmade...? Figure that out, and then hang it on the walls, paint, accent, etc. Find inspiration photos and re-create. Reflection of a person's unique taste creates atmosphere.
COOK! One of my favorite ways to create atmosphere in my home :) This is probably because I'm speaking my husband's love language when there's anything homemade in the house or a good dinner on the table. When I say "grill, corn on the cob, bbq, backyard, picnic table," you probably instantly go to a summer day, warmth, cut grass, laughter, and can picture and feel it all in your mind. If I say "warm blueberry muffins, a glass of juice, hot coffee, frosty windows" you can probably picture and feel a chilly, cozy morning. Foods can play a big part in creating atmosphere. :)
For goodness sake, open up the curtains, let in some light, and if it's spring/summer/fall and you possibly can, OPEN said windows and let in air. Air and light always create atmosphere. If there's a nice breeze outside, let it into your home. If there's sunshine to be had, figure out how to get it into your house. On the flip side, candle light is equally effective in creating atmosphere in the evenings, or in the winter. If you have candles, burn them. There's nothing sadder than an un-used candle. (ok, there's definitely sadder things... but just let the candle fulfill it's destiny, it will make you both happy) If you've got a fire pit, and a nice cool night outside, use it. If you have a fireplace, I probably don't even need to say it, but use it.
But the most important thing, and best way to create atmosphere in your home is to let the presence of God rest there. Create a place that reflects and welcomes Jesus, a place that is open to the Holy Spirit, and you will have the best atmosphere possible. One way we try to do this is by having worship music playing at all times. This was totally Shaun's doing in the beginning, and now I can't have it any other way either. Music=instant atmosphere, whether it's positive or negative. Be careful what you let in.
K, Summarization. If atmosphere is the way a space interacts with your senses, then we can break it down into sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. If take these five things I can figure out what kind of atmosphere I want to create through them.
Sight= clean, organized house, the way I use light, art.
Sound= happy voices, laughter, music.
Touch= maybe this would be better described as "feel", and by feel I mean emotional and spiritual, and this is where the presence of Jesus comes in. :) But hugging is nice too.
Smell= again, food. But fresh flowers, burning candles, clean laundry, etc are all nice :)
Wanna tell me how you create atmosphere? Please do :)