What an interesting thread - this has got me thinking...
Sanctuary is the key word that I think DH and I agree on
If it were only up to me, I'd choose comfort elegance simplicity too - I like the more modern, quasi-Asian esthetic but we have so much clutter that ain't happening anytime soon.
We are up to our ears in renovation projects as we bought a fixer upper. But to figure out a vision as those projects are being planned is great timing. If we could just finish the projects, unpack the rest of our stuff, we could create an ambience here. I have a lot of beautiful textiles and handicrafts collected while travelling that I would love to display somewhere.
Maybe I'll make a collage to represent it to guide us in decorating, etc. Or better yet one for each room.
I agree about wanting people to feel comfortable when they come to your home. But with my MIL threatening to sell her house and and stay with each of her 4 kids for 3 months at a time when she retires, I'm rethinking that one...
We are now thinking comfy for our family, and the heck with everyone else.