House & Home

Making Your Home A Refuge

By Nancy Twigg

Is your home a refuge for your family? Is it a peaceful place that welcomes each family member at the end of the work or school day? Is your home inviting to friends, making them want to come in, relax, and visit for awhile?

If you think homes like this are only found in decorating magazines or wealthy neighborhoods, you're wrong. It doesn't matter if you rent or own, or whether your house is large or small. There are simple things you can do to make your home more "homey" for your family. With a little creativity, any home can be a refuge for its inhabitants.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers add beauty, color and fragrance to your surroundings. Pick some wild flowers or consider growing your own next spring.


Not only are houseplants decorative; they also add oxygen to the air. Experts say that plants also improve air quality by removing pollutants.


Don't underestimate the calming effects of soothing music on the whole family. Start a collection of pleasant music that can be played softly to lift your spirits and calm frazzled nerves.


Decorate your house with items that represent happiness and good memories: family pictures, special Bible verses, or awards that family members have received. These are constant reminders of what's most important to the family.


Enjoy the relaxing effects of candles. Lighted candles promote relaxation and sometimes even romance for Mom and Dad! (Be careful about burning candles if you have small children.)

Personal Reflection Area

Find a special spot in the house that you can call your very own. Use this place to read, pray, meditate - whatever brings you peace. Encourage other family members to have their own special spots too.

Quiet Time

Set aside 15-30 minutes of "quiet time" each morning or evening to prepare yourself for the day or unwind and reflect. Remember that your mood can affect the whole family.

The Crazy Hour

Institute a ritual to calm that crazy half-hour after you and your spouse first get home from work. Sip a favorite beverage with the kids, change into your most comfortable clothes, or sit down and chat with the family before starting dinner.

Comfort Foods

Keep a secret stash of "comfort foods" on hand. For many people, flavored coffees, herbal tea or chocolate does the trick. If you are calm, your calmness will rub off on other family members.

Meal Preparation

Whenever possible, double recipes and freeze the leftovers. Knowing that a delicious meal is only minutes away makes coming home more enjoyable for everyone, especially the designated family cook.

The "Tidy Room"

Make it your goal to have at least one neat room in your house at all times - preferably the room family members see first when they come in the door.

Fine China for Family

Use the tablecloth and nice china at least one night a week "just because". Why save those things only for special occasions? Another day of life is special enough.

Nancy Twigg is the editor of Counting the Cost, a free bi-monthly Christian e-zine devoted to everyday abundant living at its best. Topics include experiencing life more joyfully, using our time and money wisely, building stronger family relationships, and spiritual enrichment. To subscribe, send a blank email message to: or visit Nancy online at