One word can be used to explain what makes a house a HOME: memories.
A “house” is simply a structure used as a shelter. One million different people could have the exact same “house” – the exact same shelter. But each person/family has their own unique home. In the aforementioned situation, one million different people with the exact same house will have completely different homes, because each home is associated with unique memories.
A home appeals to all five of our senses, which then contributes to helping us make memories. A home may have a certain, pleasant odor to it – one we’ll always remember. Or it may have housed your aunt when she was visitng for a couple days in the summer of your 18th birthday. During that time, she made a delicious, wonderful-smelling spaghetti while you were working at your part-time job. When you walked in the door, the sweet aroma washed over you. Years later, you’re at a family reunion and you smell your aunt’s spaghetti. All of a sudden, you think of that summer, but you also think of where you first smelled that spaghetti – HOME.
A home appeals to our sense of hearing. Maybe it’s that one squeaky spot on the stairs you always have to avoid when you sneak downstairs on Christmas to get a look at the presents before anyone else. You know right where that spot is, but only because that house is your home. Memories. Or maybe it’s where you heard the sound of animated conversation from friends and family at the dining room table when it was your family’s turn to host Thanksgiving. That get-together appealed to your sense of hearing and created a memory – a memory associated with your HOME.
A home also appeals to your sense of sight. Maybe it’s where you watched your first Harry Potter movie, and ever since you’ve dreamed of attending Hogwarts and being selected into Gryffindor. Because of your love for Harry Potter, you plan to attend the Prom next month in an entire Gryffindor uniform, intending to insist that the robe is like a dress, which means you are, in fact, formally dressed. Or maybe it’s where you read your college acceptance letter, becoming the first in your family to attend college. A HOME is all about the memories.
There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed or sitting in your own comfy easy-chair. Both of these things (in addition to many others) are found in a HOME, and appeal to our sense of touch. And the sense of taste is most definitely connected to a HOME: it’s where your mom made you your favorite meal on your birthday, year after year. Or maybe it’s where you baked your first batch of cookies.
So you see, a house is a HOME when one has memories of such a house. Without personal memories, a house is just a shelter, and is therefore only a house.