I've been thinking,  Lifestyle,  Wellness

How to make your home a refuge

I started to write this blog in January when I was thinking about my Word for the Year for 2020. It began as an encouragement for us all to set a Word for the Year. This is my 3rd year of having a “word” and I find it such a helpful thing. Last year was “Comfort & Joy” if you fancy a read.

A Word of the Year sums up how you’re feeling about the year ahead, your big picture, where you want to go, what you want to achieve… ? Then when you feel things slipping away and old habits creeping in – as they inevitably will – you can head straight to your Word of the Year and remind yourself what really matters.

But 3 very long months into 2020 and my “word” has taken on a whole different meaning. I think we can all agree if 2020 had a reset button we’d all be pressing it. Storms, floods and now a pandemic.

So I want to talk about my Word for 2020

My Word of the Year is REFUGE

I came up with it in early January when doing a bit of goal-setting, but had no idea how 2020 would turn out.

What does refuge mean to you?

This is what I wrote in January

“Refuge – it speaks of home, safety, and protection. It gives me a fortress, a comforting hideaway. A safe place to go when things get hard, when the overwhelm comes. It reminds me that my strength is not within, it’s with the God who created me and cares for me daily”

I’m a great believer in gaining strength from outside of myself. My faith in God is my ultimate refuge. His word, his presence, his strength. When I am weak (every day), God is strong (every moment).

Shout out

I’m thrilled with my stunning wire word of REFUGE from the Helen Walsh at Words on the Wire. She’s super talented and I can’t thank you enough. And I’m completely in love with my collection of little houses created by Sarah Houghton at Dirt and Hands. They’re just perfect.

Home = refuge?

We all need a good refuge right now. A strong fortress and a safe haven. Somewhere to hideaway with our loved ones and retreat from the world. A sanctuary and a shelter.

My guess is that most of us are seeing home in a slightly different way right now. At the beginning, it felt like the nesting phase. Decluttering and tidying felt quite good. But now we’re a month in. We’ve done every possible walk from our home and we’re starting to feel the need to run screaming away from the place we’ve been confined to. Anyone else?

[Just a little note to say that I’m fully aware that home for everyone is not a refuge and this might not apply to you. I see you, but I hope that if you’re reading you will get a little bit of joy from reading these words despite the difficult circumstances]

What makes your home a refuge?

Right now, we’re all confined to our homes for protection from an unseen foe that spreads through touch.

So it got me thinking about what we can do to make our home a joyous place to hideaway. For me it’s about storytelling, comfort, and colour.

Thought #1 Does your home tell your story?

One of the things that makes me feel safe, warm and fuzzy at home is that our home tells our story. Does yours?

It’s about family photographs on the walls that tell of their growing up story, of those loved ones no longer with us and of those precious places that make us smile.

Moving photos around from time to time on your walls and furniture will really help you notice them more.

It’s about holiday treasures that you’re collected on your travels. We always bring something home from our trips to remind us of happy times. A jar of sand from our favourite beach in Catalonia. An Moka Coffee Pot inspired by our trip to Tuscany. A set of espresso cups from Rome. 3 perfect pine cones from the tree above our apartment in Sa Riera. You get the idea.

We all have these treasured “things” but do you see them? Maybe it’s time for a shake up.

Thought #2 Is your home comfortable?

I’m guessing that whatever work /life you normally do “away from home”, we all like to come back to a comfortable environment.

I live in a cosy cottage which is big on views across the bay, and short on space! But we’ve done a few things recently that have really elevated comfort levels. Last summer we replaced all our 30 year old UPVC windows and what a difference it has made. Our sturdy stone walls are excellent are heat / cool retention but the leaky windows were letting us down every winter.

Our lounge is quite limited on design potential, but we repainted the stippled walls in the fluffiest shade of white we could find to keep it bright. We moved the furniture around a little and created a new cosy corner by relocating the TV onto the mantelpiece wall. A few cushions and a sheepskin throw later and we’ve created a lovely new corner – a reading nook.

Also plants.

You might not think of houseplants as comfort-giving beings but for me they really are.

Studies have shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity, reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Think back to your GCSE biology. Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. I’m really into Calatheas. Widely available in garden centres (in normal service) and super easy to look after.

Thought #3 Is your home making you feel calm and tranquil?

It doesn’t matter how many newborns, toddlers, teenagers and dogs live with you, the colour of your home will make a difference to how you feel.

You might remember we updated our bathroom last summer after a flood- related insurance claim. After living with an old champagne bathroom suite (someone else choice), large pink floral tiles

Life is tricky. So let’s give ourselves the best chance of achieving the things we want, and being the person we want to be.

How is your refuge shaping up? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Judith xx


  • Wire word – Words on the Wire
  • Little Houses – Dirt and Hands
  • Bathroom Mirror – John Lewis (gifted)
  • Bathroom Paint – Little Green Paint Company (PR discount)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to our Blog