What Gives a House Soul?

“Surround yourself with what you love, so that your house has soul. Collect, don’t decorate.” – Christy Ford

Houses are one of my love languages. And while I love a beautifully decorated house as well as the next person, my favorite houses are those with a lot of soul. Houses that give you a real sense of the people who live there. Houses that feel like they’ve evolved over time.

In my experience, houses with soul aren’t often trendy. They happily break decorating rules. They’re comfortable and imperfect.

What gives a house soul is hard to describe, but I know it when I see it. Usually, I find that a house with soul has most, if not all, of the following elements.



One Kings Lane

Plants and Flowers


The everyday on display

Here are some more spaces that feel soulful to me.

What about you? What gives a home soul to you?


  1. I loved this. Please do more. I wonder … can you find “real” houses, like your friend’s, family’s or acquaintances – you don’t have to identify them of course, and share rooms you feel are soulful? I see very few places that speak to me like this.

    • I’m so glad this resonated with you, Linda. I’ll do my best to keep finding houses with soul to share.

  2. I loved this post. I think you hit it right with all the elements. Art, books, greenery, photos, and the everyday. They all represent life, or some aspect of it. I think also that houses with soul are careful in how they reveal these characteristics, not willy-nilly, but in a thoughtful way so observers can enjoy them.
    BTW, we have such similar IG feeds. Maura Endres, River Road Farm, Nell Hills (have you read Mary CArol’s books?).

    • Janet, I love your observations. And yes, those are all great IG feeds. I have several of Mary Carol’s books. Her homes are some of my favorites!

  3. Karen Graham says

    Hi Julie, I too loved this post. And I agree with all the elements you chose to represent soul in a house. I believe these are what make a house, a home. And I see them all in the pictures of your very, lovely home! Thanks for sharing.

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