Our lives have changed dramatically—and apparently, so have our homes.
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Remember the days when we’d stroll through Home Goods, perusing the aisles for cute placemats, tumblers, and other decorative extras that fall into the category of “Things We Probably Didn’t Need?’

Okay, so those days might not be completely gone for some of us, but our new lives in quarantine have certainly made us rethink what’s on our list of decorating must-haves. In the absence of entertaining, fancy table linens and pretty, non-functional accessories might seem like things of the past. But what’s swooping in to take their place? It’s probably items you’ve had in your arsenal for years—decades even—despite the fact that they very likely wouldn’t win any design awards.

According to Apartment Therapy, the past six months of sheltering in place have prompted homeowners to adopt a new style of decorating that’s not really about looks at all. Dubbed “Comfort Decorating,” the concept encourages people to choose furniture, artwork, and accessories that evoke feelings rather than aesthetics.

“We’re spending so much more time in our homes now than we ever have,” Grace Dowd, an Austin-based therapist, told Apartment Therapy. “So it’s more important than ever to fill your space with things that make you feel like yourself, even if they’re not ‘Insta-worthy.’”

For many people, Comfort Decorating means displaying and using old family heirlooms, from grandpa’s antique typewriter to your Great Aunt Linda’s collection of crocheted blankets. (Permission to use Grandma’s fancy china for your mid-week takeout granted.) It could also be nostalgic mementoes from childhood, collectibles from past vacations, or even a well-worn blanket that’s been with you since your first apartment and just feels like home.

“These things can remind you who you are, that you’re fun or silly or creative,” Alexis Moreno, a psychologist in Washington, D.C., told Apartment Therapy. “The meaning behind these objects is far more important than other potential factors, like judgment or criticism of that item.”

Not all items that fall into the Comfort Decorating category come with history. Things like your own imperfect DIY projects are likely to hold meaning, while accessories like your sleep-inducing Himalayan salt lamp or your dear pup’s torn-up pet bed bring peace and happiness to your space. The point of it all isn’t that it falls into a specific style box, but that it feels inherently like you.

And while they might not necessarily make it into a design magazine photo shoot, they will—in the words of Marie Kondo—spark joy. And that’s something we probably all could use a little bit more of this year.