It seems that every week, a new article is out asking what the source of our mental health troubles is.
Depending on who you ask, demanding work schedules or an over-stimulating world could be the culprits. It’s all too often not one thing, but a combination of factors that leave us feeling sensitive, low, or unmotivated.
At the centre of new conversations emerging on mental health is the effect of our environment on our wellbeing.
Taking the care to consider our home spaces is an essential step in seeing how our familiar surroundings impact us. From minor adjustments to a total overhaul, the home can transform from a source of stress or isolation to a sanctuary for calm and comfort.
You’re never going to be able to control the environment in the grocery store or your office, but your home is a different story. You’re in charge of your own living space, and that means that you’re able to do what you can to make that space as healthy as it can be.
Making a healthy home is more than buying whole foods and all-natural cleaning products, though. The way you choose to decorate and furnish your home can make a big difference in dust, pollutants, and mould.
This certainly doesn’t mean you need to do a full-scale renovation. Making your house healthier can be as simple as switching up the lighting, getting rid of a few objects you no longer use, or even just moving furniture around.
Woman’s Day spoke with interior designers to get some experts tips on making your home healthier, including everything from big changes to little ones.
If this is something you’ve never thought twice about before, you’re not alone – but if you’re looking to do something different with your living space, now is the time to do so.
Designing A Happy Home: Five Things To Consider
Nothing makes people feel relaxed in an interior space better than high ceilings. Nobody likes feeling confined in a tight space, and high ceilings—nine feet and above—are one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll never feel this way at home.
In addition to improving the overall quality of a space, high ceilings, vaulted ceilings, tray ceilings, and so on evoke feelings of freedom and possibilities. They can promote relaxed, open and expansive thinking, such as when planning for a vacation or retirement. Higher ceilings also allow you to have bigger windows and get more natural lighting.
Big Windows/Natural Light
Big windows allow homeowners to admire the beauty of the surrounding nature and, along with skylights, dormers and courtyards, can let daylight into every room. Getting more natural light and views has many benefits:
Natural light harmonizes our circadian rhythms with the sun, fostering restful sleep, which is critical for our ability to repair and rejuvenate our cells and organs. Lack of restful sleep can cause anxiety, depression and fuzzy thinking. Good sleep enhances our quality of life by calming, energized and focused, elevating our mood, concentration and ability to learn.
Big windows that look out onto plants, trees and nature elevate mood and enhance healing and wellbeing. Spending time in natural environments restores our ability to focus our attention and enhances our working memory. This increases our creativity and intelligence, making us better problem solvers.
Research shows patients recovering from surgery who have views of trees and lawn instead of a brick wall require fewer painkillers and go home sooner. Feeling surrounded by nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormones, even if nature is outside. It also releases endorphins, which elevates our mood.
When it comes to interior design that makes a happy home, choosing light and airy colours goes a long way. In addition to having a positive impact on your overall mood, these colours make spaces feel larger and add a sense of openness wherever you use them.
In addition to the positive energy that comes with airy colours, they don’t restrict you when it comes to choosing furniture. These colours go well with most styles and make everything else in a room stand out—in a good way!
Open Floor Plan
If you want a home where different family members can interact and enjoy some good times with each other, having an open floor plan is a must. Instead of having separate rooms for different functions, you should think of rooms with similar functions as a single universal space.
For example, you can combine the living and dining rooms with the kitchen as a single open space. By doing so, you’ll facilitate interaction between different family members for a home that’s buzzing with life and create a space that’s perfect for different entertaining activities.
Nowadays, many homes are redefining the relation between outdoor and indoor spaces. Being surrounded by greenery has numerous positive effects on the body and mind that are beyond debate.
And that’s one of the reasons homes that blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces are increasingly popular.
There are different ways of creating this indoor/outdoor connection. For example, you can use big windows that face greenery at the end of the hallways.
This way, you won’t be facing walls or doors when walking down most hallways in your house. Add to that some large glass doors and windows, and you’ll create a strong sense of continuity between your indoor living spaces and the surrounding nature.
How To Create A Healthy, Happy Home
Happiness is difficult to put your finger on. It’s a combination of your overall satisfaction with your life and your feelings about your current state. One of the best ways to cultivate a happy life is to create a happy home.
Your home should be a haven that you retreat to every Day for restoration. Instead, many people feel anxious and unsatisfied with their current environment, drastically reducing their quality of life. Creating a home that promotes daily satisfaction and moments of joy is key for pursuing a happy life.
There are hundreds of things that can make you smile. From seeing a puppy picture to listening to a funny podcast during your commute, we all have those specific go-to’s that add joy to our lives.
It’s helpful to implement these happy habits where we spend the most time. Whether you add sunflowers to your counter or paint your wall a cheerful colour, a restful house could be just a few small changes away. Start small by picking a few of these 15 daily tips for a happier home and see how they improve your Day.
Make Your Bed
Your parents probably nagged you daily about making your bed throughout your childhood. Why do you have to make your bed if you just mess it up again the next night? Though it seems like a waste of time, the simple act of making your bed can increase productivity and boost happiness.
If you ditched the habit once you reached adulthood, you might want to reinstate the chore in your routine. Making your bed takes no more than a few minutes and can set you up for success from the minute you wake up.
Don’t Let Dishes Pile Up.
The sight of a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink after a long day can be a huge stressor. A full sink can take an hour or more to clean, and the bacteria accumulates is unhealthy.
The best way to avoid the build-up is to rinse a dish as soon as you use it and stick it in the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash the dishes by hand and set them on a drying rack. It might feel like a chore now, but a clean kitchen is sure to boost your happiness and protect your family from sickness.
Keep Surfaces Clutter-free
Too much stuff can be one of the biggest sources of stress for people who live in a cluttered home. Your home should be a peaceful place for you to retreat to every Day. If your home is filled with excess stuff, it’s harder to recharge.
One of the easiest ways to keep your home tidy is to get into the habit of keeping surfaces clean. Though it’s tempting to throw your mail and keys on the table, those things in designated spots, and you won’t have to pick them up later.
Return Your Room To Its Normal State
One of the best practices to get into is putting a room back to normal before leaving it. If you do your makeup in the bathroom, make sure that all of your products are put back into their places before you leave. This practice can be difficult to make a habit of, but the happy feeling you get when you enter a cleanroom is worth the extra effort.
Create A Gratitude Wall
Taking time out of your Day to focus on what you’re grateful for can dramatically increase your happiness. To get into the habit of focusing on this, create a gratitude wall where you list a few things every Day.
Whether you list your health, your job or even a good cup of coffee, bringing attention to the good things in your life is so important. Your gratitude wall could be a chalkboard in the hall or even a whiteboard on the refrigerator. Try doing this activity as a family to teach your children to be grateful as they grow up.
Do Favors For Your Housemates
Helping others makes you happy. Try washing the dishes for your roommate or folding the laundry for your spouse. Not only will your house be tidier, but your actions will also make your housemate’s Day.
Talk To People
Talking to someone who knows you well has been proven to reduce stress. Make sure to set aside time to sit down and talk with your housemate, partner or close friend, and invite friends and family to join you for dinner a few times per week. Chat about work, hobbies or whatever else is on your mind. The company and conversation will be an uplifting end to the Day.
Decorate With Photos
Identify the memories that make you happy and display them on your wall. Put up your wedding photos, pictures of your grandparents and your kids’ first Day of school shots. When you walk by those photos, you’ll remember how happy that moment was, and it will surely brighten your Day.
Meditating is a great way to refocus every Day. To meditate, set aside some time where you can sit in a quiet part of your home and focus on your breath. By taking a few minutes and stepping out of your thoughts and emotions, you can reduce stress and anxiety, making you a happier person.
Add Some Natural Elements
House plants are not only beautiful, but they also help reduce toxins in the air, boost your mood and improve productivity.
If you don’t want the commitment of a houseplant, try adding a bouquet of sunflowers to your counter for an instant mood boost. Greenery makes an excellent addition to any room. Try incorporating plants in your bedroom for better sleep!
Make A Zen Space
If your house is busy all the time, you could benefit from creating a designated space for unwinding. The best way to create your zen den is to pick a comfortable spot — it uld be a small corner or a spare room.
Decorate your space with cozy items that make you happy, like pillows and candles. Set aside time every Day to go to your zen den and meditate, practise yoga or read. These moments will help you start your Day on a positive note.
Show Your Personality
It’s empowering to express yourself, and home decor is one of the best ways to do it. Sit down and make a list of everything that makes you happy. Take a look at your list and incorporate those things into your home.
Whether it’s paintings of mountains or the colour orange, placing things around your house that reflects your personality will make you happier to live in the space.
Let The Light In
The brightness and colour of light directly affect mood. Blue light can increase productivity, bright light can heighten emotions, and natural light can boost happiness.
Unless you build or renovate your home, you don’t have much control over the amount of natural light that comes in — if you live in a dark space, add lamps and dimmers to boost the brightness.
Choose Mood-boosting Colors
The colours in your home can directly affect your mood. The best way to optimize your space for positivity is to choose what specific mood you want to create and paint your walls accordingly.
Paint the walls yellow for an energizing feel, try blue for a calming space and use green for comfort. If you would like to keep your walls neutral, choose colourful pillows and accent furniture for a similar effect.
Fill With Fragrance
The smell is the sense that is most closely related to memory. Have you ever smelled a perfume that reminded you of someone? Try filling your home with fragrances that remind you of good memories.
Whether you light cinnamon candles to remind you of Christmas or diffuse essential oils to remind you of your childhood friend’s house, filling your home with pleasant fragrances is sure to lift your spirits.