We all want our homes to be our happy place. A place of calm and serenity, away from the outside world. Our own little individual private caves that we retreat to at the end of the working day, or to enjoy at the weekends. We want our homes to be reflective of our personalities, surrounded by the things we personally love. A unique bubble of us. But what makes our home our happy place? Happiness is one of the most important aspects of life, and it has been studied extensively by psychologists and neuroscientists. It is also something that can be achieved at home. We all want to be happy, but sometimes we don’t know how to get there. In this article, I will explore what makes a home a happy place and some of the best home improvements to improve your quality of life, cosiness and therefore your happiness.
Should we focus on home improvements for happiness instead of value?
I feel like many of us, when improving our homes, are not always doing it purely for ourselves or our happiness, but we are thinking of the next owners and the value we can add to our properties. Therefore, we are not totally making decisions based on our own happiness in our own homes and how we would truly live. Instead, we are thinking about whether the improvements can bring added value and would appeal to others. Perhaps, we should shift this view and make our homes our own personal happy places. Forget about the value that improvements might add for someone else in the future and concentrate on our own happiness in the here and now. Maybe then we would all love our homes a little bit more and stay in them longer, or even forever?
We did a lot of home improvements in our last home, which was very dated when we moved in. However, we often went for white walls, white tiles and a neutral theme. We did like it, but I do feel it was somewhat lacking in personality as we were always thinking of how it was appealing to the mass market, perfect for selling, like a showhome.. ready for someone to move straight into. The thought of being able to sell a clean white box was always in our minds. Perhaps because we weren’t 100% happy in the home and subconsciously knew we wanted to sell one day, but maybe it also contributed to us not being 100% happy there or being able to relax, too scared to add colour in case it put future buyers off.
Now, we have recently moved house and we are actually being more brave and bold with colour and I absolutely love it. I’m choosing colours we like (a medium forest green in the living room, navy blue tiles for the kitchen, midnight blue tiles for the hallway, purple and blue paint in the kids bedrooms), instead of going for the safe white neutral pallet that I know is great for selling a house with that ‘new feel’, but I don’t think it makes me totally happy at home. And, I feel so much happier choosing things I like and love without worrying whether the house is saleable, as it doesn’t matter. We hope to live here at least until the children have finished senior school and we want it to be our happy home, not worrying about its appeal to future buyers when it comes to how we decorate, which seemed to drive some of our home improvements and decisions at our last property.
Why you should decorate your house with your favourite colours
With everything just said, the first home improvement for happiness in your own home would have to be using the colours you love to be around. Don’t be afraid to add a feature wall or accent wall, or to even go all out and paint a room in your favourite colour. White and beige may play it safe, but adding a wall or two in your favourite colour can really transform a room and how you feel in it, taking away the sometimes clinical feel of an all-white home.
The benefits of decorating your house with colours you love are endless: you will feel happier when you enter your home; it will be easier for you to relax; plus there will be less stress in the air! Decorating your home with your favourite colours can help you feel at home. It makes it feel like your home and different to everyone else’s. It also allows you to create different feelings and moods as you move from room to room.
If you do love white walls, and there’s nothing wrong with that, then bring your favourite colours into the room in your furnishings and accessories. Need some inspiration for colour? Check out these three summer tones to bring happiness into your home!
So what are the other home improvements, other than the colour of the walls, that can improve our homes for our own personal happiness? Let’s take a look.
Consider a remodel instead of an extension
When it comes to happiness in our homes, many of us think we need more space to solve our problems, but actually, it could be that the layout isn’t working.
We’ve just finished watching ‘Your House, Made Perfect’ on Netflix. The show aims to help families or couples who have issues with their homes and are planning a remodel or extension. Two architects come up with a design and compete to win the commission. There was a common theme throughout whereby one of the homeowners thought an extension and more space would solve all their problems. But more often than not, it was actually the layout that was causing the issue and many of the properties were actually plenty big enough and just needed a new layout that worked better for the families lifestyles. The couples were often shocked when they saw all the walls removed in their home in a virtual reality reconstruction of their home and a new layout presented.
Think about your needs and wants if you are unhappy with your home currently, as it could be that a better layout could increase your happiness by improving the flow of your home and how you live and interact as a family in your house.
In fact, more space might actually create more issues such as more rooms to fill with more stuff, more mess to tidy, more house to clean! It could create more work overall and not address the actual issues of your existing home. Many of us instantly think we want bigger houses, but in reality, they come with higher bills, higher maintenance costs and the worst part to think about would have to be all the extra cleaning.
Think about living minimally
Rather than going bigger with your living space, you might actually be considering a more minimalistic lifestyle to improve your quality of life at home. Maybe you’ve had enough of owning too much stuff and too many things and dream of a simpler way to live. This is where the minimalist way of life can really help out.
Living minimally isn’t about going without the things you love, but it can be about living a more minimal lifestyle with only the things you love, need and use. It’s about reducing the clutter in your home and life, increasing space in your home and having fewer things to worry about, clean and tidy and more time to do what you love, thus improving your happiness. It’s entirely possible to create a minimalist family home to improve your quality of life and your family’s.
Rather than spending money on a home improvement in the traditional sense, you may be able to actually improve your home by reducing what you own and embracing minimalism whilst creating a more positive living space without spending a penny.
Improve the things that make a real difference day-to-day in your home
Of course, there are many home improvements that can make our lives more comfortable, cosier and happier, but the best home improvements for happiness are sometimes the unexpected things that have the most impact on your day-to-day life. Whilst we might think a shiny new kitchen or bathroom will improve our happiness, sometimes there are other areas of our home that we need to address that actually impact our day-to-day lives. For example, perhaps the appliances we use within our homes are outdated, costing us more in energy to run and not being as reliable or efficient as they should be. Such appliances could be a boiler or water system, kitchen appliances or white goods.
If your boiler is old then it could be time for a new boiler installation and an upgrade to a more energy-efficient boiler. Maybe your boiler is noisy or takes ages to heat up water. These little things can negatively impact how we live and feel in our homes every day causing frustration and annoyance. We also shouldn’t underestimate how much we rely on these appliances. Without a fully functioning boiler, we’d have no hot water or heating and life would quickly become quite miserable in our homes not being warm or able to wash!
When we moved into our old home the water pressure was terrible! It was negatively impacting our moods every day as it took around 45 minutes to run a shallow bath to bathe our daughter. We also couldn’t wash ourselves and our hair quickly in the mornings as the shower was pretty much a dribble! Although a new pressurised water tank wasn’t something we had dreamt of spending our money on for our new house at the time, it was a sound investment and improved our day-to-day lives so much by having high water pressure and being able to get on with our lives without feeling frustrated by an inefficient appliance in our house.
What is happiness? It’s hard to put into words. It’s the feeling of contentment, satisfaction, and fulfilment. And that feeling can come from big or small things — like home improvements. Our homes are where we spend most of our time and where we retreat to after a long day at the office, so it’s important they make us feel happy, relaxed and content. The things that might actually make us happy at home aren’t always a big extension or shiny new kitchen, but our favourite colours and appliances that actually work, making our day-to-day lives easier. Making the necessary home improvements to achieve this feeling will ultimately improve our overall well-being and quality of life.