These Simple Design Hacks Will Make Your Home a Happier Place

There is a powerful connection between design and joy. Ingrid Fetell Lee, author of 'Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness', is on a mission to share how easily happiness can come from small changes to your everyday spaces. Lee shares 10 simple design tips that will bring joy and positive energy into your home.

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January 18, 2019
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Let the Outdoors In

Take your design cues from the great outdoors by incorporating colorful blooms and verdant greenery, maybe a vertical garden. Place fresh accents throughout your home, even in the bathroom and kitchen. Natural materials, like wood, stone and granite, allow a consistent presence of nature, which has been linked to reduced stress and improved mental health.

Soften the Edges

"Sharp shapes create activation in a part of the brain associated with anxiety, while circles and spheres set a playful tone," notes Lee, who also shares design advice on her blog, The Aesthetics of Joy. Furniture with hard angles may look beautiful in home magazines, but they can put the mind on alert. Who wants that negative energy inside a home? Instead, look for sofas with soft, rounded corners and oval coffee tables.

Add Pops of Color

Make a bold statement in a neutral space with cheery wallpaper, throw pillows, even accent rugs and kitchen appliances. Get inspired with seasonal hues, like ice blue and grape in winter. Liven up an all-white kitchen with a splash of a sophisticated color, such as burgundy or navy. Alternatively, look to calming pastels, which can brighten up a space without overwhelming a room.

Be Matchy-Matchy (We Approve)

You can color-coordinate or you can go matchy-matchy when it comes to interior design. We approve of both. "Using matching hangers, pushpins, fridge magnets or desk organizers taps into the gestalt principle of similarity to create a joyful sense of cohesion," notes Lee. However, stick to a simple color palette to keep the look confident and visually appealing.

Incorporate Eye-Catching Lighting

Good posture can boost your mood, and it can also give you energy and confidence. Lee suggests adding pendant lights and crown molding because it draws the eyes upward, naturally invoking better posture. Outside, try hanging string lights above your porch or fire pit to create an enchanting oasis.

Create Balance

Balance has a naturally pleasing and harmonious effect on our psyches, so it’s no surprise that one of the keys to a happy and peaceful home is symmetry. As you enter a room, find its focal point (where your eyes first land as you walk in). Then, using the focal point at your point of reference, mirror each side with furniture, artwork and accessories. This will bolster your sense of joy and comfort.

Group Ordinary Objects

Just as balance creates a harmonious home, grouping together and organizing objects based on their aesthetic (i.e. books or smaller trinkets) brings joy and positive energy into a space. "When grouped together and arranged in an orderly way, ordinary objects feel like more than the sum of their parts," notes Lee.

Bring Back Pattern

These days, less is more, but decluttering your home doesn't mean it has to look barren. Once you've tidied up, focus on bringing patterns such as stripes and polka dots back into the room. Go for timeless rather then trendy—the colors will create a positive vibe and you won't have to redecorate once a month!

Hide Subtle Touches of Color

Lee suggests trying out subtle, eye-pleasing tweaks such as re-painting the inside of a closet in a statement color; going for bold print wallpaper in a small bathroom; or beautifying kitchen drawers with colorful liners. It will add an unexpected element of surprise that will elevate your mood.

Lighten Up the Mood

Sunlight is important—the more vitamin D the better. When picking out paint colors, ditch the jewel tones and go for lighter pastels or creamy whites—colors that will reflect natural light. As well, shiny surfaces such as glass tiles and mirrors can bounce light across the room, magnifying your exposure to the mood-boosting effects of natural light.

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