Home has become our everything in the last few weeks—our gym, our restaurant, our therapy office. Since it’s the place we’re spending the majority of our time, our home should bring us joy. At the most recent (virtual!) Well+Good TALK on finding happiness amid a global crisis, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explained why you should think of your home as your foundation.
“We are home more than we would like to be and so, just having [a joyful home] in the background is a way to soothe our senses and give us joy that that we don’t have to manufacture,” she says.
Lee, who literally wrote the book on making small changes to your surroundings (Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness ), says there are more than a few easy home projects you can do to make your space more enjoyable.
4 easy home projects to bring more joy into your life
“Create some sense of visible order, or physical order,” says Lee. The act of putting things in order can help create a sense of harmony in our lives.
1. Complete a small organizational task
“If you’ve never color-coded your books now is a good time to do that,” she says. “I wouldn’t say like go do a massive decluttering project now, that might be too challenging. But maybe it’s just organize your pantry, or doing something to create this sense of order. We know that when our surroundings are more orderly, it gives us a sense of grounding and and can relieve stress and create feelings of joy.”
2. Tighten loose screws—literally
“Grab an Allen key and a screwdriver and go tighten up all the loose things in your home,” says Lee. “Whether that’s the loose knobs on your drawers or doorknobs, or your table is wobbly, go around and tighten that stuff up. What you may not realize is that all that wobbling is creating a sense of instability every time you encounter those objects. And removing that from your environment can also be one of the ways that you can de-stress.”
Create a sensory landscape
Because most of us are stuck at home, we’re experiencing a level of monotony. “When you’re moving through the world, your senses are subject to all kinds of stimulation,” she says. “You have scents, you have sounds, you have all kinds of different sensations. Bring some of that into your home.”
1. Incorporate textures that feel good
“Maybe that’s covering your work chair with a sheepskin or a soft blanket,” she says. “Maybe this is the time to get a new robe.” You’ll want to surround yourself with things that make you feel cozy. And luckily, she says petting your furry friends more also counts.
2. Make change through motion
“You may not be able to do some of these bigger changes that you might want to do to your home, but look for ways that you can create a sense of motion,” says Lee. “That might mean moving pieces of art from one room to another. It might mean changing out your throw pillows and moving those around, or moving around blankets, or flipping a rug.” Simple changes make your environment feel less static and more alive. Fresh-cut flowers are another great way to introduce that sense of motion, she says.
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