Our homes are our sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. They’re where we escape to recover, relax, and recharge. They’re also where we gather with family and friends to enjoy each other’s company.
Given the importance of our personal spaces, it’s not surprising that we place so much focus on designing environments that truly speak to who we are and what we love. But while aesthetics are an important part of the equation, successful interior design isn’t just about how our homes look. It’s also about how they feel, and we can’t think of a better descriptor to aspire to than “joyful.”
All of which begs the question: What makes for a joyful living space, and how can we bring more joyfulness to our lives at home?
Read on for a roundup of nine strategies for transforming your home into a more joyful and uplifting haven.
1. See the Light
Natural light has a profound impact on mood and overall well-being. In fact, an abundance of research indicates that exposure to natural light not only has many positive impacts including boosting vitamin D, keeping seasonal depression at bay, and enhancing sleep quality, but actually has the power to increase human happiness.
Some ways to maximize the amount of natural light in your home include the following:
- Swap out sunlight-blocking heavy curtains or blinds for lightweight sheer curtains or shades that allow light to filter in.
- Strategically place mirrors to reflect and amplify the natural light (this has the added benefit of creating an illusion of spaciousness)
- Install additional or larger windows, such as an expansive fixed window, AKA a picture window
2. Maximize Fresh Air
Fresh air has a similar effect as natural light. Not only can stale indoor air lead to feelings of fatigue and discomfort, but it can also increase your risk of allergies and other diseases. On the other hand, exposure to fresh air indoors can improve your home’s air quality, which in turn can raise your oxygenation levels and get a better night’s sleep.
The easiest way to air out your home and promote circulation? Open your windows to let in fresh air. Some window styles are especially suited for generating airflow, such as a casement window.
3. Go Green
Did you know that snake plants, spider plants, peace lilies, and many other types of plants are natural air purifiers?
But greenery’s contribution to improving air quality is far from the only benefit of becoming a plant person. In addition to offering visual appeal, indoor plants can have a transformative effect on the ambiance of your home by enhancing visual appeal and reducing stress. Some flowering plants have even been linked with reducing blood pressure and heart rate!
Not known for your green thumb? Seek out low-maintenance, easy-to-care for plants known to thrive indoors, such as succulents, philodendrons, orchids, and rubber plants.
4. Find Your Flow with Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging living spaces to promote balance and harmony. While there are many ways to embrace feng shui, these tips can help you immediately start reaping its benefits;
- Arrange furniture to facilitate free movement and positive energy flow
- Regularly clear clutter, as it obstructs the flow of chi (life force)
- Utilize colors that evoke joy, relaxation, or whatever vibe you’re going for in your space
- Incorporate the five elements of feng shui: wood, water, fire, earth, and metal
- Avoid “sharp” and negative energy by opting for round and curved furniture, accessories, and design elements such as mirrors and windows
Feng shui also overlaps with several other joy-promoting tips on this list, including embracing natural light and fresh air.
5. Keep It Quiet
While peace and serenity can greatly contribute to a joyful home, excess noise can have the opposite effect. And yet many of us spend our lives listening to frustrating outdoor noise—whether it be your neighbor’s Sunday morning lawn mowing routine or construction traffic on your street.
There are many ways you can create a quieter home, including the following:
- Fix squeaky floors, doors, and other noisy culprits
- Use sound-absorbing materials such as carpets, rugs, curtains, and even built-in bookcases and other wooden furniture
- Block external noise by upgrading to high-performance impact windows and doors
- Use soundproofing techniques for walls and ceilings, such as installing insulation or acoustic tiles/panels
6. Carve Out Cozy Nooks
Nooks are the inanimate equivalent of a warm and wanted hug. If you’re looking to create a truly relaxing retreat, design cozy nooks throughout your home for reading, sipping your morning coffee, and other solitudinous activities.
An empty corner becomes an inviting space for joyful quiet moments when you decorate it with a comfortable chair, plush cushions, a soft throw blanket, and bookshelf filled with your favorite tomes.
7. Control Clutter
An old adage insists that “comparison is the thief of joy.” While this may or may not be the case, comparison is far from the only issue in your environment that may be bringing you down. An equal culprit? Clutter.
In fact, clutter can have a direly detrimental impact on mental health, including by increasing stress levels, procrastination, difficulty focusing, trouble controlling impulses, and even a lower quality of life!
Some clutter-controlling strategies include:
- Start small (think 5 minutes at a time)
- Avoid buying things just because they’re on sale
- Only bring items into your home when you have a designated space for them, AKA “a place for everything and everything in its place”
- Give an item away every day
- Create a decluttering “to do” checklist
8. Infuse Aromatherapy
Alluring scents don’t just smell good; they can also do everything from improving health and influencing emotions to reducing pain and relieving headaches. Scented candles and essential oils are excellent tools for bringing the joy of scent into your home.
Keep in mind that different fragrances (and combinations of fragrances) can have different effects, so experiment to find the ones that most uplift your spirits. Some go-to essential oils include:
- Lavender to promote relaxation and help you sleep
- Citrus scents to invigorate
- Eucalyptus or peppermint to soothe, relieve, and refresh
- Lemon oil to alleviate anxiety
- Rosemary oil to facilitate focus
9. Display Meaningful Memories
Is there anything more inspiring than surrounding yourself with cherished memories? From travel mementos to children’s artwork, these items may not be big in monetary value, but they’re priceless in sentimental value.
Whether you place a framed photo on your desk or dedicate an entire gallery wall or shelf to treasured items, you’ll experience joy and happiness whenever you catch a glimpse. This is also an opportunity to showcase your style and personality to visitors.
One last thing to keep in mind? As with all interior design, creating joyful interiors is an ongoing process requiring mindful effort. Whether you start with a single one of these soul-nurturing tips or embrace all nine at once, you’ll be on your way to cultivating a happier home.