Can the state of your home make you feel happy, calm, and improve your mood?
We’ve written blog posts about how different paint colors make you feel. We’ve even written about the psychology of interior design. What we haven’t done yet is talk specifically about happiness.
Let’s look at a few design tricks you can use to make your home a place where you and your family love spending time!
We’ll dive into color theory, feng shui, the role of lighting, and easy fixes that have been scientifically proven to increase people’s happiness at home.
Let’s get started.
Does color affect how you feel? Absolutely! It might not have a huge affect on any given day, but it can over time, and you spend a lot of time in your home.
Do you find yourself feeling bored, depressed, or lethargic around the house? If so, warm, lively colors can lift your mood. If you tend to be anxious or frustrated, cool, peaceful colors might bring some much needed calmness to your home life.
At the end of the day, you should choose colors that make you happy, regardless of color theory, but let’s look at a few commonly used colors and the effect they may have on your emotions.
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Helps you sleep when it’s a bedroom color
Photo: Eoin Lyons Interiors
- Soothing and refreshing
- Helps your brain avoid distractions, making it a great office color if you work from home
- Makes you feel more rested and recuperated
- An exciting color that raises your heart rate
- Stimulates conversation
- Not great for the bathroom or bedroom, but perfect in any room where you need a pick-me-up
- A sunny, cheerful color
- Great to wake up to in the morning
- Stimulates your brain and increases creativity
- Brightens rooms by reflecting light
- Makes rooms feel bigger and more open, helping you feel more energized and less stressed
Photo: Bonnie Forkner
Keep these colors in mind, but also know that it’s more about shade than the color itself. A color like green can be relaxing or invigorating depending on whether it’s warm or cool.
If it’s warm (has more yellow than blue) it can be cheerful and energizing. It’ll have a more calming effect if it’s cooler (has more blue than yellow).
Photo: Melanie Coddington
According to the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui, the act of arranging your home so that environmental elements are in balance, lighting is very important.
Our brains know how much sunlight we’re getting. Too much or too little can affect your mood and disrupt your natural sleep rhythms, and it’s hard to feel happy when you’re not well-rested.
Try to let plenty of natural light into your home. Big windows and skylights will help keep your energy levels up. Good lighting can increase your concentration during the day and stop you from tossing and turning at night. If natural light isn’t an option, try halogen bulbs. They mimic natural light and can help keep your internal clock on schedule.
Other times, you don’t want natural light. When you’re taking a nap, suffering through a headache, or going to bed before sunset, darkness is preferred. Be prepared for those situations with heavy curtains in the bedroom.
Also consider light switches with a dimmer option. They’re great for the environment, too!
Photo: Matthew Millman
Not only have plants been proven to make people happier, they can also improve your health by purifying the air. Scientists recently identified English Ivy as one of the best air-filtering houseplants of all time. It’s extremely easy to care for. Plus it looks great in a pot, growing up an indoor trellis, or hanging in a basket.
Studies have also shown that flowers can boost creativity and productivity. That makes them perfect for a home office, living room, or kitchen.
Some people thrive in chaos, but for most people, mess causes stress and guilt. A disorganized living space can make us feel overwhelmed, disorganized, and out of control. It’s a cycle that’s hard to get out of, but don’t give up.
Feng shui offers plenty of wisdom on this subject too. It’s all about eliminating clutter and keeping things that bring you joy. What could be happier than that?
Sometimes it’s not really the mess that’s stressing us out. We actually just have too much stuff and not enough space. Consider donating some of the things you don’t use if clutter is a problem for you.
Going through everything can feel like an impossible task. But it’s really not that hard! Get the entire family together and spend a weekend getting the house into shape. Save time with these 10 cleaning tips.
Photo: Jennifer Pacca Interiors
Then create a plan for maintaining your newly clean home — whether it’s weekly chores or a big monthly clean-up, do whatever works for you. Here are some ideas:
Daily rules: Minimize huge, time-consuming clean-up efforts by setting simple rules, like “no food in the bedroom,” “empty the dishwasher every morning,” or “wipe down countertops every night.”
Weekly chores: It can help to take turns tackling weekly duties, like taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, and vacuuming rugs or carpets.
Monthly clean-up: The more the whole family keeps up with daily and weekly duties, the less you’ll need big clean-up efforts. Still, getting help can take a lot off your shoulders when it comes time to clean the microwave or make a Goodwill run.
Electronic Devices at Night
Here’s something you might find surprising. Using your smartphone too close to your bedtime can actually interfere with your sleep.
Photo: Helen Norman
Looking at a phone screen, computer, iPad, or TV increases electrical activity in your brain. That’s the opposite of what you want when you’re winding down and getting ready for bed.
For a better night’s sleep, keep electronic devices out of the bedroom if you can. If that’s not an option for you, at least try to stop using them about half an hour before bedtime.
Listen to Your Instincts
I hope these tips help make your house — and most importantly YOU — happier! Just remember that everyone’s different. The things that make your neighbor happy might not work quite as well for you.
Even a home that’s technically “perfect” won’t make you happy if it doesn’t reflect your lifestyle, personality, and the things you love.
The happiest home is one that you love spending time in!
If your home needs more than a few quick fixes, we’re happy to help! Get in touch today and we’ll set up a time to chat about your options!