Trying to decorate your house to feel more like home? What if I told you the last thing you need is a bigger budget or another lesson in color theory?
When we were first married, my husband traveled frequently and my friends worked during the day. I stayed home and dealt with my loneliness by walking through Hobby Lobby and T. J. Maxx for way too many hours. I didn’t buy much, but I browsed for hours. I also addressed my loneliness by cleaning my toilets, and yes, even my baseboards! No matter how clean the house looked, I was never content. I was frustrated with our home because it felt like everything was either his or hers. Our styles didn’t blend at all, and I couldn’t figure out how to make it all come together.
Back then, I had no idea I could make my home feel whimsical, peaceful, and joyful without ever spending a dime. I didn’t know my prayer life makes far more of an impact on my guests than accessories ever will. I didn’t know saying, “I’m sorry,” cleans up the atmosphere more than bleach ever can. I didn’t know anointing my home fills it with more peace than even a freshly painted wall in the most calming of colors.
Today, people walk into our home and their shoulders relax. Guests often comment on the tangible peace of God. And trust me, it’s not because my house is tidy. In fact, I don’t suffer from the clean-the-house-because-I’m-lonely season of life anymore. On the contrary, I recently journeyed through an enduring season of chronic illness and severe postpartum depression accompanied by laundry, laundry, dishes, and more laundry. Yet, in the midst of that heartbreak and chaos, guests surveyed the scene and noted God’s presence here.
After a decade of focusing on my decorating skills, I have finally learned how to enjoy God’s company, invite Him in, and fill my home with prayer, praise, and worship. Nothing transforms a home more dramatically.
Here are six practical, simple ways you too can invite the heavenly into your home décor:
1 | SCRIPTURE
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14).
I’m a visual girl, and I love words! They fill me up, strengthen me, and encourage me to keep going. So, it’s no surprise that most of the artwork in my home is Scripture, whether homemade or purchased. Our family wrote out every name of God we could think of on a poster board with markers. Then we framed it. It’s now the centerpiece of our living room. In the kitchen, I post sticky notes on the microwave, backsplash, cupboard doors, and refrigerator. I tape prayers to the outside of the glass on my shower door. I also keep a prayer board at eye level in front of the commode (the best place to pray in solitude). This board is full of photos of loved ones so I remember to pray over them. Our laundry room has a prayer board like this, too.
I didn’t intend to wallpaper my home in notecards and sticky notes. But as I found meaningful Bible verses, I began writing them down and displaying them throughout our living spaces. I read them throughout my day and often turned the verses into prayer. Over time, I ended up memorizing most of them simply by this repetition. I’m constantly surprised by how my guests are attracted to the notes on my cupboards. They drink in the refreshing Scripture like the fresh glass of water I offer them.
You can incorporate this simple practice too. Whatever verse pops off the page of your Bible, just write it down. It doesn’t need to be written with flourishes or on fancy paper. Write God’s Word in your own handwriting and stick it in front of your sink to read while you do the dishes. Photocopy a Psalm or hymn for your mirrors or doors. Tape up a prayer on the window. As you place these truths in plain sight and practice breathing them in day-after-day, they’ll strengthen your heart and sweeten the atmosphere in your home.
2 | VISION
“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
I decorate with vision and imagination all the time! For example, I bought a set of picture frames so I could display the colorful places we’ve lived. I hung the empty frames on the wall until I had time to paint the scenes. I envisioned the Colorado Red Rocks in one. The fields of Texas bluebonnets in another alongside the Yellow fields of Nebraska and the Emerald waters of the Gulf Coast.
Years later, I still have framed blank canvases hanging on my walls. I smile and enjoy the imaginary swirl of bold colors. Maybe someday I will find the time to paint those scenes, but until that day, I picture them there in my mind. The blank canvases spark great conversations, too! When guests ask about them, I have fun describing my imaginary paintings. Sometimes sharing a dream of what will be is even more powerful than sharing the final project. We don’t have to wait for the day it’s picture perfect to reveal or share our dreams.
Do you have a piece of decor or furniture you’ve been wanting to refinish hiding in your garage? Consider bravely enjoying and using the piece in your home as is—in process. You don’t have to hide it away until it’s just right. Practice using your eyes of faith to see it for what it will be, and maybe even invite someone to share in that vision with you.
3 | MEMORIAL STONES
“…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (Joshua 4:6-7a).
I think God likes to set up a little intrigue when He decorates. The Lord told the Israelites to stack up a bunch of stones so that generations to come would ask about them. Memorial stones are an open door to tell of His goodness. That’s why I have a toilet paper roll and a can of baking soda next to the heirlooms in my china hutch. When my children and guests ask about these curious items, I get to share powerful testimonies of God’s mercy in my life.
I’m sure you have stories to tell as well. They may not be grand and dramatic, but they are important. Remember when the lady in the restaurant stopped and prayed for you when you needed it most? Keep the napkin as a reminder on your refrigerator door. Remember the time God provided a check for the exact amount you needed? Keep a copy on your bookshelf in a frame. When God shows up for you, whether in a big way or small, find a way to symbolize the moment and showcase it in your home. Even in the off chance that no one asks, you will see your memorial stones every day. They will remind you of God’s faithfulness in the past and will encourage you He can do it again.
4 | WHIMSY
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them’” (Psalm 126:1-2).
My mom and my daughters taught me to decorate with whimsy. Mom would set the table elegantly for Easter with crystal, china, and vases laced with fresh flowers. And then she’d hide these tiny little fluffy chicks here and there creating whimsy. The little chicks were just enough to invite guests into a childlike sense of joy and wonder. They balanced the elegance with playfulness. When guests marveled at the table setting, she gave the glory to God who helped her as she prayerfully set the table. She prayed that her family and guests would feel loved. And we did. In the same way, my daughter has a tiny rubber duck she likes to hide in unexpected places. It’s smaller than a dime. I chuckle each time I discover it in the little notch where the door handle shuts into the doorway or on the lid of cleaning vinegar in the laundry room. My friend Erika said her brothers did the same thing with tiny toy soldiers. After they were all grown and her mom moved to another home, she brought the toy soldiers with her. To this day, they move the soldiers around in the house just for their mom. They’re decorating with love and whimsy, too.
What little thing could you place in a hiding spot just for the sake of making someone smile?
5 | PRAISES
“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
Worshipping God creates a space for the Holy Spirit to dwell. Prayer and praise change the atmosphere in your home faster than anything else. One evening, I went to a party at a friend’s home. Even though I didn’t understand any of the Vietnamese language in the music, I felt unsettled. The second they changed the music to Vietnamese worship songs, the whole house felt different, even with the language barrier. The guests relaxed more and community formed in a way it hadn’t before. Connections were made in the first three minutes of changing the channel to worship music that hadn’t been made in the first three hours of the other music playing. Praising God tore down walls. It was a dramatic shift.
The music we fill our heart with matters . Songs of praise permeating the air have the capacity to powerfully change the atmosphere in your home.
6 | CLEAR THE CLUTTER
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… a time to keep, and a time to cast away” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6).
A phrase that has become a banner in my heart lately is “Make room for God!” I’ve been clearing out the clutter in my schedule, my prayer life, my relationships, and my closets. My home has gone from a bulging storage unit to a blank canvas where creativity can flourish. When I got rid of our excess of craft supplies, suddenly my children and I created more artwork together. When I cleaned out my office and took away the ‘good’ distractions of an easel and guitar, suddenly it was easier to focus on the one thing I was called to do—write my book. When I cleared off the kitchen counters of my (beloved) piles of paper, suddenly my stress level for cooking dinner went down tenfold.
Give yourself the gift of a blank canvas. You’ll have more time and emotional energy to actually do the things that bring life to you and your family.
Scripture, vision, memorial stones, whimsy, praises, and decluttering—each one is a practical way you can begin to turn your living space into a house of prayer. But don’t burn out trying to do them all! That’s not the point. Start with one.
Which one in the list sang to your heart the most? Reread that one point, and ask God for the creativity to put it into practice. He loves to join you in all you do, no matter how big or small. You’re not on your own. And you don’t need big bucks or an interior designer to make your home a warm and welcoming place. Just invite the love and presence of God into your home. Be hospitable to the Holy Spirit, and you’ll be amazed at how your home transforms without costing a dime. When it comes to quick room transformation, a fresh can of paint has nothing on a life full of praise.
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