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Designing Your Home for Happiness

Jan 29, 2021

We lead busy lives, and this year we’ve spent more time than ever in our homes. Whether you’re going back to work in person, or will be working remotely, one thing is always going to be true: we deserve to live in homes that make us happy! We want to feel relaxed, comfortable, and be able to recharge and reconnect with our loved ones.

The interior design of your home actually can affect your mood and overall well-being when you’re in your home, for better or worse. So what can you do to make sure your home is positive, inviting, and comfortable? Read on!

 

Light and Bright Happy Spaces

A light-filled environment just feels soothing and plain better. Light is so important that we actually have an entire article based on understanding how lighting plays an important role in your psychology. From the color, to even depth of shadows, the role of light on your mood and health can’t be overstated.

Light gives us energy. It helps us feel positive. Light tells our body when to be awake and when to sleep. It even affects our productivity when we work from home or our kids do their homework.

But additionally, light and bright means paying attention to colors! Light and airy colors help lift a space, and make it feel positive. Light greys and beige have been incredibly popular for years in paint. Both for their flexibility as neutral colors, and for the lightness you can achieve while still having contrast against popular white frames. Kitchens, offices, and spaces like your living room are wonderful spots for light, airy tones. Light blues, yellows, and more aren’t off the table! Just make sure the color makes you feel positive and energetic for these spaces. You can go darker in family rooms where people watch the game or movies in the evening. Or go dark in the bedroom for a more luxurious feel. Leave the dark colors for the rooms that you don’t need energy in.

In energetic spaces, don’t be afraid of bright colors either! As furniture, pillows, art and other added elements, bright colors can be energizing and just plain happy!

 

Get a View of Nature or Bring it Inside

Research shows that viewing plants and nature has a positive affect on us. It reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure and our muscle tension. But it also has amazing positive affects. Research shows patients recovering from surgery who have a view of nature not only have a more positive rating of their stay in the hospital, but they even heal faster and report less pain. Lots of architecture is utilizing more and more large windows, glass walls, and even glass railings for the psychological benefits of views of nature.

Even photos of nature have a positive impact on us, especially if they indicate movement (think waves or grain blowing in the wind). If you have photos that have personal meaning to you, even better. Studies show people can “smell” things when they look at photos. What better thing to smell than a photo of the ocean or a forest? The more senses your design evokes positive reactions from, the better! Olfactory senses shouldn’t be overlooked either. Adding scents to a space can create positive emotions.

Natural materials themselves shouldn’t be overlooked. Natural wood grain isn’t only beautiful, but our brains respond to it as an element of nature. Wicker, wool, stone, linen, cotton, marble. Our innate connection with nature sees these as positive materials! Not to mention, they add beautiful texture to a design. Soft materials create soft-feeling spaces. Natural elements create a feeling of warmth. You don’t need to go full cabin to get the benefit, but consider not painting over visible wood grains if you have a choice to take advantage of the positive affects!

 

Calming Color and Design

When we see something, our brains interpret how it feels. A brushed steel may look “cold”. A sharp corner may feel “harsh.” And when it comes to color, we all know there’s rules there to calming versus jarring.

When it comes to color, we mentioned the benefit of light colors already. But the color itself matters! Blues can be calming. Yellow, even light, can be energizing. We’ve written an entire article about the psychology of color, so we won’t break it all down here. When choosing colors for walls, furniture, accent pillows and more, focus on what feels soothing and positive to you. Also pay attention to what room it goes into. Again, energizing rooms, focus rooms, relaxation rooms – pick the right thing for the right space!

Materials matter as well, as well as their shape! Curved corners, or round objects, truly do make us feel happier and more positive than sharp angles. A simple swap of a coffee table that has sharp corners to rounded edges really can make a difference.

 

Functionality is Important for Happiness

Having an organized and functional space truly does make a difference in our moods. Nothing tanks your happiness and relaxation better than tripping over clutter or fighting with a cabinet to open. In fact, when designing a kitchen, architects and designers utilize a “work triangle” theory to ensure that the flow of cooking is the most logical and functional.

If you have repairs that need done, seeing them every day can tank your mood. If you have the ability, take care of them quickly. Additionally, if an area isn’t as functional as it should be, change it! Consider your normal flow of activities and base your layout around that. Your key hook doesn’t do any good by the front door if you go out through the garage, for example. You’ll either drop your keys somewhere else, or mutter while having to go out of your way to grab them before heading out the door. Arrange your space for logical flows, ease of movement, and you’ll notice they simply make you feel better.

While you’re at it, pick up that clutter! We know, we know, but it does make a difference. Even a closed, decorative bin can be better storage for that mail pile you need to sort through than having it out in the open.