This article is part of our Made to Create article series. Read the other articles in the series here:
- “Made to Create” by Ashlee Gadd
- “Making Music for God’s Glory” by Caroline Cobb
- “Order from Chaos” by Abbey Wedgeworth
- “Opening Our Eyes to Art" by Sarah Shin
- "A Liturgy for Your Words" by Kate Lab
Made to Create: A Welcoming Home
I stood grinning at the blank walls, paintbrush in hand, as my mom opened the bright orange can of paint. Earlier that day, she had taken me to the hardware store and pointed me toward the varied palette of paint swatches. I stood in front of all those bright colors, lightly skimming each one with my little finger, envisioning a room for all my friends to play in and for my Beanie Babies to dwell. I could see the orange walls, the floral wallpaper border running around the top. While the decision was difficult, this was my favorite birthday to date.
Twenty-three years later, I still get just as excited looking at paint swatches all lined up in neat rows. The possibilities are endless and the variety of colors makes my heart beat a little faster. I feel this way when I drive down the street and see a beautiful piece of furniture discarded on the curb, needing a new home. I experience palpable excitement when I find a great deal on Facebook Marketplace or see a beautiful rug on sale at a thrift store. My mind gathers up these items and begins arranging them in my home before I’ve even carried them out of the store. My creativity runs wild as I think about making my home a little bit cozier.
I’ve often wondered why the thrill of home design is so appealing to me. I’ve asked myself if it’s okay to create in this way. Am I placing my creativity somewhere it doesn’t belong? Can I honor God by creating a home I love and a space I want to dwell in?
Home Design Can Help You Remember
Like all things, it comes back to the heart. What’s my motive for creating a beautiful home? Am I buying all the best things to keep up with my neighbor, show off on social media, or make sure people think I have good taste? If so, my priorities need to be corrected. But what if my goal is to create a cozy home for my family to dwell in, a comfortable space where my friends feel welcome, a place to use for hospitality and hosting?
I believe it’s possible to gather pieces thoughtfully and display them in creative ways that tell stories and evoke memories. When I glance over at the wedding ring quilt my mom made for my grandparents' fortieth anniversary, I recall the legacy of faithfulness in their marriage. When I look at the beautiful oak table my husband built, I smile at the memories made over dinner at countless small groups on Thursday nights. And when I focus on the blue-painted piano in our living room, I call to mind the joy of hearing my mom lead worship my entire life.
Home Design Can Help You Welcome
These items create a space that feels lived in, storied, and gathered because that’s exactly what we’ve done in our home. Over the years, we’ve opened our doors for friends to live with us while they looked for an apartment. We’ve told stories of God’s faithfulness in Bible study as we gathered on our living room floor. We’ve cried over miscarriage, family health diagnoses, and loss of loved ones as we stirred cups of tea in the kitchen by the green cabinets. The pieces we gather tell our story and remind us of God’s lovingkindness through the conversations, tears, and laughter we’ve shared in each room. I believe that the beauty on display in these walls points me back to a beautiful Creator, the One who designs and dwells with intention.
Home Design in Scripture
Scripture gives a unique insight into God’s creativity when it comes to dwelling places. Exodus 25–27 gives the most beautiful and thorough description of God’s dwelling place among the Israelites. From the offerings he would accept—precious stones and scarlet yarns, oil and wood, gold and silver (Ex. 25:1–9)—to the place where he would meet with them, God is specific, detailed, and clear. There is a blend of purpose and beauty in his design. God is instructing the people to consider his dwelling space as an act of creativity and worship.
Proverbs 31 describes a woman who works diligently to provide for her household, creating fine linen and purple bed coverings and keeping her home from idleness. She opens her hands to the poor and welcomes the needy. This home is functional and thoughtful with a touch of lovely (Prov. 31:10–31). God has a special way of combining beauty with function. When I decide to align my heart to God’s, I begin to create a space that points back to his intrinsic beauty and attention to detail. If we keep in mind the heart of hospitality that all believers should have, our homes can be spaces to welcome others in and say, “I see you!” rather than, “Look at me!”
Honoring God with your Home
The best part is that creativity in home design doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m not urging you to run to Target and buy everything in the Hearth and Hand line in order to welcome others in! I see creativity in the way my sister-in-law tapes her child’s artwork on the slanted ceiling of the playroom. It’s in the way my friend repurposed wire shelves from her pantry to create a chicken coop. It doesn’t have to cost much to mean much. Creativity in home design can be a freeing way to image our Creator as we cultivate a dwelling space to honor him. I pray the walls of our home provide a space for our people to dwell, to enter in and experience the grace of God, sharing life around the table and smiling at the pieces that tell a story of beauty and hardship, pain and purpose alike.
Meet the Author
Rachael Milner lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband Ethan and goldendoodle Lainey. She is the Creative Director for Well-Watered Women. She loves spending time with friends, good design, and creativity that points back to Jesus.