Is it permitted for members of the faithful to set up a chapel in their private homes?
YES. And I would like to encourage this practice, for those who can.
Of course, such chapels would NOT have the Most Blessed Sacrament in them.
I have been blessed to know several families that were able to set up beautiful chapels in their homes. For those who have the resources and the space, I heartily encourage this traditional practice. While the whole home should be a place where God is honored and loved, yet it can greatly help to have a special place set aside for this purpose. Many people accomplish this by having “prayer corners”, “prayer chairs”, “home altars”, and so forth. These are all good and holy things as well. But if you can set up a chapel? Even better.
Here is an example of one such home chapel:
Note the altar, the worthy crucifix, the candles, the kneeler (prie-dieu), and the relics. Of course, the sky’s the limit. Here is what one wealthy family in Rome built for their palazzo in the 1600s:
The sky truly is the limit for this sort of thing. And whatever is done, should be done for the glory of God and the edification of all who will visit the special place.
Now, there are some who will also scoff at this post: these people perhaps take an EITHER/OR approach to the Church and in matters like this presume that adorning a chapel (or even setting one up to begin with) basically involves depriving the poor. The money should be spent on the poor instead! I would encourage such people to read what St. John Chrysostom says on this matter. We can take a BOTH/AND approach! I have also written about St. Francis of Assisi’s approach to the furnishing of churches (here). Finally, see this post, which also addresses the issue of serving God and the poor, not in competition with each other but in complementarity.