Nostalgia in our homes serves several important psychological and emotional functions, contributing to our well-being and sense of identity. It often involves incorporating items from the past that evoke sentimental feelings and memories—a connection to one’s history.
The dictionary definition:
“A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
Wait a minute. Why do we want to live in the past? Isn’t this why remodeling is leading the home industry today?
Yes and no. Remodeling is leading the charge as real estate inventory is low due to high-interest rates. Rates are high because of a lot of things, but mainly inflation. What has this got to do with nostalgia, and why should anyone care?
People slow down in an unpredictable economy or when the world feels too chaotic and out of control. We watch this every night on the news. Add to that, we are heading into an election year in 2024, which always creates a pause. Who will be the new president? People feel at risk, and confidence wanes.
Because our homes are our sanctuaries and provide us with feelings of safety, we turn to them in times like this. We want our memories and stories to wrap around us; we want to hold them close along with our family members.
Newness is all about change, whereas nostalgia is an old friend who has known us for a very long time. There is a reason we cannot give up our grandmother’s settee. Yes, it is upholstered in that out-of-date fabric, but it contains memories of those who owned it before and our interaction with them, our roots to which we are forever bound.
My job as a designer mainly entails change. I come in and help people to move forward so they can live their best lives. But I do respect nostalgia. After all, our homes are visceral spaces, not just the latest dishwasher you can program with your phone. That’s a great convenience but does not replace grandma’s settee on the feeling connected level. The only memory I want from a dishwasher is that it worked.
So, what helps us create nostalgia in our homes? You may not think about this consciously, but I am certain you will recognize these in your own home right now
Low-hanging fruit, but we all have them. Important milestones, experiences shared, the kids when they were little, our furever pets. All these remind us of the people and places we love. We hold them as invaluable and priceless. The proof is evidenced when we risk our own lives to save them from a fire. They cannot be replaced.
If possible, I try to upcycle furniture. Not only eco-friendly, but furniture often has sentimental value. There is that tangible link to grandma in that settee. Maybe she read to you when you were little sitting on that settee.
Cooking or baking traditional family recipes even in your newly remodeled kitchen can bring back memories and provide continuity with change.
Our homes are our emotional support system, just a lot bigger than a dog. We need cultural identity and personalized living spaces that reflect our own stories, personalities, and history.
Nostalgia is what we need and desire when we need comfort and a balanced perspective on life. 2024 may be such a time.
So, let’s look at keeping grandma’s settee.
Let me reupholster it in something more relevant for today and give it new life. If Grandma was at all adventurous looking back, she would probably appreciate it. She will still be there next to you, just wearing something new.
Call and schedule an appointment. Let us give your home a better feel, better function, and a better place to create those memories.