7 Home Décor Tweaks That Will Make You Scientifically Happier
It comes as no surprise that our environment influences our mood. A few minutes stuck in traffic can cause a bout of frustration, while the scent of our favorite candle can be an instant stress relief after a long day. If you’ve noticed that aspects of your home impact your mood too, you’re right. Studies suggest that everything from the color of the walls to the amount of natural light flooding through your windows has the power to profoundly change how you feel, and just a few subtle tweaks could lift your spirits. Want to create a happy home? Us, too. Read on for seven science-backed home décor changes that will make you happier.
The psychology of color has fascinated scientists for years, and for good reason. Studies show that your choice of paint swatch or your screensaver color could have a serious impact on your mood. According to one Dutch study, participants believe yellow evokes feelings of happiness, while researchers at the University of British Columbia found that blue induces relaxation and creativity.
Try this: You don’t need to repaint your walls to reap the benefits. Start small with a blue or yellow throw or accent chair.
There’s something instantly calming about curling up on the sofa with a good book. Science agrees: Experts believe that reading fiction encourages empathy, aids in stress relief, and even helps you sleep. In fact, a UK study found that 76% of participants felt that regular reading boosted their happiness.
Try this: Not a bookworm? Bolster your shelves and coffee table with books that are visually appealing. Keep them in easy-to-access places to encourage you to flick through a book rather than switch on the TV.
The secret to creating a happy home environment could be as simple as printing out your favorite holiday snaps. According to researchers at the University of Exeter in England, images of friends and family have the ability to lower stress levels. When participants looked at happy photos of people they knew, the part of the brain that monitors fear responded differently to intimidating images. In other words, a simple photograph has the power to change the way we deal with stress and fear.
Try this: Gather your favorite photographs of friends and family, and print them out. Create a photo wall with matching minimalist frames to feel instantly uplifted every time you walk past.
Ever noticed that the scent of your favorite perfume or candle can cause instant calm? Fragrance has the ability to change your mood, so fill your home with the right scented accents. Try these two soothing smells: A Kyoto study found that pine scents can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety while citrus boosts energy and alertness.
Try this: Opt for household products with a zesty scent. Burn a lemon oil–infused candle or use citrus surface spray to feel energized and uplifted.
Despite a myriad of complicated and often conflicting research about happiness, academics tend to agree that relationships are key. Sociologist Christine Carter says face-to-face friendships count the most. “The upshot of 50 years of happiness research is that the quantity and quality of a person’s social connections—friendships, relationships with family members, closeness to neighbors, etc.—is so closely related to well-being and personal happiness the two can practically be equated,” she says.
Try this: The lure of Netflix and chill can be strong, but true happiness comes from being surrounded by friends. Invest in entertaining accessories like a cheese platter or wineglasses to encourage you to have guests over more often.
Academics from the London School of Economics created an app called Mapiness to track the happiness levels of 50,000 people. It allowed them to discover what activities made participants feel at ease and what caused stress. Good news! Their findings offer one more reason to invite your friends over for a glass of vino. Both socializing and drinking alcohol ranked in the top 15 happiness-inducing activities.
Try this: Invest in a quality bar cart and stock it with entertaining essentials like chic martini glasses, liquors, and a chic ice bucket. Invite friends over to catch up over homemade cocktails—science approves.
Improve your happiness with this one simple home décor tweak. A study by Northwestern University in Chicago found a strong link between natural sunlight exposure and improved sleep, mood, and even quality of life.
Try this: Swap thick, heavy drapes for linen curtains, or simply open the window and fill your home with natural light to feel the mood-boosting effects.