Ideas to inspire smiles.

It’s no secret that architecture and décor can have a significant impact on our emotional wellbeing. An obvious case is the difference between living in a small, dark, and cramped space versus a bright, open, and spacious space. While architects work hard to design homes that are comfortable and welcoming to be in, the rest of a home’s interior is left entirely up to us to decide. But how many of us are keeping in mind the emotional effects of our decorative choices when we design our homes?

Considering the fact that our home is where we spend most of our time, it’s probably about time we decorated with a little more thought!

Happier Home

1. Add pops of colour
It’s long been acknowledged that colour has a strong effect on mood. There’s something special about seeing a pop of colour amongst an otherwise neutral space, and it’s a great way to give your brain little snapshots of surprise as you wander through your home.

Try to keep a neutral colour scheme across the majority of your home’s decorations, and then add pops of colour to surprise and brighten up a space. For example, you might furnish a living room with neutral couches, coffee tables, and rugs, but add pops of colour via cushion covers, throws, lamp shades, and table cloths.

For a quick burst of energy go for pops of red, orange, or purple, and for some instant happiness, insert splashes of green and yellow. The best thing about decorating in this way is that you can instantly freshen up the look of a room by changing the small colourful details. Swap the red cushions for some orange ones, and vice versa!

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2. Designate a special area for yourself

Often, all we need to clear our mind and elevate our mood is to retreat to a space that we consider safe, relaxing, and personal. Traditionally that might have been the bedroom, but these days bedrooms tend to be more cluttered, either because we use them to do more than just sleep or because we can’t keep them tidy enough to have a clear mind.

Try to dedicate a section of the house for yourself to retreat to get away any time you need a break. Make this space feel a little different to the rest of the house, and somewhere that you can really snuggle up and get cosy. Use warm colours, comfy furniture and pillows, fluffy rugs, and warming lamps to create a soothing and welcoming atmosphere.

This will be the space where you go to get some downtime and do what you love. Put up a bookshelf with your favourite books, set up a TV if you’re a lover of movies, or lay out a yoga mat if you’re more into getting some zen. The idea with this space is to cultivate an area where you can instantly be reminded of your hobbies and be eased into a good mood immediately. You want to keep your bedroom for just sleeping, so leave all the other fun activities to this section of the house. Make sure you never do chores here.

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3. Practice minimalism
Minimalism has made a name for itself in our busy, cluttered 21st century lives, and for good reason. Throwing away all the extra stuff and doing with only the essentials can be extremely therapeutic. A minimalist space unclutters the mind, leaving us with a clear head to think and be at ease.

Go through your home, and be brutally honest. Throw away all items that are not necessary or have no sentimental value. Integrate some proper storage systems around the home to keep the rest of the stuff neatly in its place, and watch as your stress and anxiety immediately melts away with the newfound cleanliness of your home.

It’s integral that your storage solutions are simple and easy to follow so that you stick to them. There’s something about putting things back in the right place that’s so satisfying, providing a sense of completion that can really calm the mind. Author Gretchen Rubin goes so far as to say that something as small as making your bed can allow you to feel a significant mood change.

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4. Bring nature in
It’s no secret that humans love nature and the outdoors. Evolutionary beings with an animalistic urge to return to our roots, we can’t help but be soothed by the appearance of nature and greenery. That said, if you’re looking to make your home a happier place to be in, inject as many elements of nature into its décor as you can.

If you have large windows, try to grow shrubs and big bushy plants next to them so they can be seen from indoors. Scatter indoor plants throughout the home – cacti and succulents are both low maintenance indoor plants. Keep vases around the home with fresh and dried flowers, and try to integrate as much sunlight as you can (so keep those curtains open!) Natural fibres are another way to weave nature into your decorations – whether that’s wool or silk, or wooden or iron furnishings.

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5. Add that extra dimension
Seeing is only 1/5th of our sensory intake, so it would stand to reason that the appearance of our home would only amount to about 1/5th of our happiness level. What about the other four senses?

Touch – Add a sense of touch by playing with texture in your home. From brick to smooth timber to fluffy wool to soft velvet… Mix and match different textures to create a visual representation of touch.

Smell – We’ll cross off taste and smell in the same bullet point, because we all know that a tantalising candle scent can do as much for our appetite as it does for our nostrils. Light fragranced candles or incense in your home to create a warm, soothing, and relaxing atmosphere. Having a certain smell associated with your home can help to instantly relax you the moment you set foot in the door and smell the familiarity. Sandalwood and lavender are both beautifully relaxing scents.

Hear – We’re not going to tell you what kind of music to play at your home, but we’ll just let you ponder this: would you rather relax at home listening to heavy metal or classical music? We thought so.

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