The Soul of a Home

You know the one we're talking about. It's the room you head to when your sister calls at 3:00 a.m.

with a crying newborn and panic in her voice. It's the room where your kids visit with you after school and tell you all about their day. It's the room where your dearest friends gather for drinks, where your spouse makes you laugh after a long day, where you go to count your blessings, or to have a quiet cup of tea. It's the room closest to your heart. Every home has one.

One room that family life seems to gravitate to for whatever reason. It doesn't have to be the most beautiful, the most comfortable, or even the most logical, but it's there. It could be the kitchen, the family room, or even your bedroom. You all just end up there somehow, talking and laughing and sharing experiences. Whatever this magic room may be, you can turn it into a space more conducive for relaxing and spending time in with very little effort. The most important element is already there.

The room has love and soul and character in place. All you need to add is the supporting cast. If the kitchen is the heart of your home, look at what you do there. Cooking obviously, but what else? Is this where you bond with your closest friends, sharing coffee and laughter and cheering each other on? Do your children do their homework in there while you prepare dinner? Is this where Arts and Crafts time is? Do you and your spouse manage the household here in the evening, sharing a dessert? Once you've taken a look at all the important events that are taking place here, you can better customize this space for your family. If the kids do their homework at the dinner table, have a plastic bin stocked with supplies they might need such as a calculator, pens, pencils, paper, a ruler, construction paper, etc. Once homework is done this can be slid into a cabinet or tucked away until the next day.

Backpacks can be hung on hooks with homework safely inside until the race for the bus begins the next morning. This same rule can be applied for arts and crafts materials. Have all supplies tucked into a bin to make take out and cleanup a breeze. If the family room is where you all end up, keep it stocked for family time. Keep games available so if a last-minute decision is made to delve into Monopoly for the evening's entertainment, you don't have to race through the house looking for it. Make sure the kids have some of their toys in an appropriate corner, so if you want to spend time with them, you can all play together.

A family jigsaw puzzle corner might be fun. Also look at the furniture. If the kids enjoy playing on the floor, is the layout conducive to that? Rearranging a bit might make it easier for them to zoom their cars around, or lay on the floor coloring. Only you know how your family truly functions, so customizing a room to work better won't be hard to do.

We're not talking major makeover here, but small touches you can add to make the room function just a little bit better. The fabric that makes up your family's life is being woven in this room, the soul of your home, and there's no better way to honor that than by devoting some energy to making it a better place to be. Copyright (c) 2007 Pat Brill.

Pat Brill is co-founder of which supports Busy Moms with free gift ideas and helpful tips to meet the challenges of motherhood. She is also co-founder of , a directory of articles covering many areas of wellness. You can reach Pat at

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