What makes a happy home? The people you share it with? The things you do inside it? The way it looks and feels? Most likely, it’s all of the above. While these first two factors are more specific to each family and household, there are certain design tricks that can make great strides in improving the third. From styling hacks to simple organization techniques, these 9 designer-approved pointers may help bring just a bit more joy inside your walls. Below, AD talks with Raffaela Perrone, director of the Design Department at IED Barcelona and graphic and interior designer Rocío Olmo about 9 simple design changes that can help make a happy home.
Table of Contents
1. Take advantage of natural light
“The sun is life, and when a home is filled with sunlight, it’s a gift. The more natural light, direct or indirect, in a home, the better,” says Perrone. Research has shown that exposure to sunlight stimulates our defenses, strengthens our bones thanks to the assimilation of vitamin D, improves our mood, and relieves pain. In fact there’s an entire form of therapy, heliotherapy, based on the healing properties of sunbathing. For this reason, it can be beneficial to create lots of inviting spaces near the light. Consider placing an armchair to read, a desk to work at, or simply a bench to sit and relax in next to a window.
2. Get rid of overhead lighting
If you have a typical ceiling lamp in the middle of a room, it might be time to upgrade your lighting design. Or, at least, make sure that the light is projected towards the ceiling itself, which is Perrone’s advice. Olmo agrees and recommends using three to four different light sources which can create “a cozy, pleasant, and comfortable atmosphere.”
3. Make repairs as needed
Many of us get used to only using a certain faucet so that the water doesn’t spray across a bathroom or not turning on certain lights to avoid a short circuit. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to put an end to these little inconveniences? Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestseller The Happiness Project, says that not addressing little tasks like these ends up sapping your energy. In her method for leading a happier life, she says it’s best to make these repairs as soon as possible. All you need is a little free time and a toolbox—or the name of a handyman to help—and you’ll feel pleased with yourself every time you use that faucet or turn on that light in the future.
4. Open up the space
Though not as simple as some of the interior design tricks on the list, consider Olmo and Perrone’s next piece of advice as a long-term goal. “Houses with visually connected spaces, which avoid corridors and too many separate rooms, are more cheerful,” says Olmo. “You avoid having dark rooms and, visually, you enlarge the space.” Perrone agrees: “It’s better to have a few large, multifunctional rooms than many small rooms.”