1st Edition

Designing Homeliness Everyday Practices of Care

By Melisa Duque Copyright 2025
    168 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Designing homeliness: everyday practices of care proposes an interdisciplinary lens to investigate home. The book situates homeliness as continual processes of creating, maintaining and restoring meanings and experiences of home. Melisa Duque draws from her design ethnographic practice with people using smart home lighting, doing gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and op-shopping to present everyday examples in dialogue with theoretical discussions to reveal the role of homeliness in generating wellbeing. The research projects in this book were located in rural, regional, remote and metropolitan areas in Australia, at familiar and unfamiliar living sites, including people’s homes, a mental health hospital unit, a residential aged care facility, and at a charity shop revaluing domestic things. This book offers conceptualisations and practical tools to advance home studies while engaging with broader discussions on ageing, wellbeing and sustainability. Led by design research and social science analysis, this book will be of value for students, researchers and practitioners at these intersections, including design, anthropology, and human geography.

    1 Introduction: situating homeliness

    2 Homeliness, wellbeing, revaluing and everyday designing

    3 The lit home: smart lights and lighting for homeliness

    4 Grounding activities: gardening and puzzles for wellbeing

    5 Relational patina: care and value negotiations

    6 Inconclusion: co-living with shadows, grief and decay


    Melisa Duque is a design researcher at Monash University and the University of Auckland. Her works sits at the intersection of Design Anthropology, Participatory Design and Everyday Design. Melisa’s research looks at two main areas: Designing for revaluing, including practices of repair and reuse; and design for intergenerational and ageing wellbeing.

    “How do we make our homes liveable, comfortable and reflective of ourselves; in a word: homely? In this enchanting, interdisciplinary and highly accessible book, Melisa Duque deploys an innovative design ethnography to find out. In her inspiring exploration of apparently mundane shared practices, she identifies how everyday creativities, leisure and shopping shape how we continuously come to dwell within our own domestic worlds.”

    - Tim Edensor, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK


    “In Designing Homeliness, Melisa Duque presents a sophisticated understanding of forms of design that operate at ordinary sites of living. She dwells on them by articulating what it means - and could mean - to design homeliness in our troubled times. Interdisciplinary designers and researchers alike will find her proposals unsettling and full of possibilities.”

    - Andrea Botero, Aalto University, Finland