Create a welcoming haven every time you open the front door with these tips for designing a home that makes you smile
It’s where you come back to at the end of every day, and the first place you see in the morning, so it’s important that where you live brings you joy. Follow these inspiring ideas to spread a little happiness in your home.
Let in the sunshine
Nothing will lift your mood more than sunlight beaming in through your windows. So to ensure your home gets its full quota of rays, keep the glass clean and free from streaks and finger marks.
Of course, for the outside it’s best to call in a professional, but the insides are easy to clean yourself. Use a dry brush to sweep away dust from the frames, then sponge the glass with soapy water. Finally, remove the water by making ‘s’ shapes on the window with a squeegee. Windows need to be cleaned at least twice a year. Don’t think yours are dirty? Give them a clean and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
Promote a warm welcome
Ensure you feel good every time you come home by creating an inviting hallway. You’ll need some good storage for all your outdoor paraphernalia, so that the entrance is tidy as you enter. Include some hooks for your coats, a shoe rack and some baskets for scarves, gloves and umbrellas.
Freshen up the area by painting the walls and door. Here, everything has been kept white to make it feel really bright and airy. However, a bold colour would work just as well. The key is to choose a scheme that makes you happy. Add some mood-lifting extras such as flowers, a mirror, or a beautifully scented reed diffuser.
Make your bed
A good day needs a cheery start, so one of the most positive things you can do at home is make your bed. By tidying your sleeping area when you wake up, you’ll begin your day on a good note. This simple act will make you feel super organised and ready for action.
Then later on, when you head sleepily up to bed, you’ll find a restful space to relax in.
Get a good night’s sleep
To make sure your sleep is even more restful, it’s best to be in a completely dark room. When it’s dark, our bodies produce more of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel tired. Light, on the other hand gives powerful cues to the brain that it’s time to wake up. To stop street lamps or early- morning sunlight poking in, put up blinds or curtains with a black-out lining.
Similarly, keep a low-wattage incandescent lamp on your bedside table to help you wind down before you go to sleep.
Bring in fresh flowers
A vase of beautiful flowers instantly cheers up a room, and lifts the mood of whoever is looking at it. By putting some flowers on your kitchen table you will connect with nature every time you come into the room.
Your choice of flowers can be anything from a huge mixed bouquet, to a simple seasonal sprig. Start in January with some early daffodils and hyacinths, then keep checking what’s around throughout the year. If you have some outside space, try growing flowers that you can cut. A great choice are pretty, fragranced sweet peas, which you have to cut every day to encourage growth.
Fill it with happy memories
Display things around your home that remind you of friends, family and places that you’ve visited. Put travel souvenirs where you can see them, to remind you of experiences, and to perhaps prompt you to make new plans.We all have hundreds of photos on our digital equipment nowadays, but we often forget to print them out. Put an evening aside to sort through them all, get a selection printed and plan a creative way to display them. The bright photo-collage on the back wall of this kitchen has really brought the room to life.
Share it with animals
Want to instantly de-stress after a long day? How about curling up on the sofa and stroking your pet. Studies have shown that the simple act of cuddling an animal releases the chemical oxytocin, which makes us feel calm.
The benefits don’t stop there though. By keeping a pet at home, you’ll have the opportunity to form a new relationship with another creature, and hopefully you’ll be rewarded by lots of fun and cuddles.
Do those quick fixes
Those troublesome household irks, such as leaky taps and broken door handles shouldn’t be ignored. Every time you come across something that needs fixing, you could find yourself irritated by it. So rather than putting these annoying jobs off, get stuck in instead.
A little effort will result in a well-run home with no tricky hindrances, and you’ll get a welcome feeling of accomplishment to boot.
Make a space for you
In a busy household it’s important to find a place to gather your thoughts and spend a few minutes by yourself. Being alone for a while will allow you to recharge, and get ready to face the world again.
If you can’t grab a whole room for yourself, a cosy corner will do fine. Here, the armchair is ideally located next to the fire, with an angled table lamp placed perfectly for reading.
If you have a hobby, such as crocheting or painting, create a designated space for it. Devise storage that will keep all your equipment to hand, so you can easily dip in and out whenever you have some spare time.
Connect with your neighbours
What really makes most of us happy are our relationships with other people. By making friends with your neighbours, you’ll be able to nurture those relationships every time you’re at home.
Make the effort to start a conversation every time you see your neighbours, offer to water their plants while they’re away and invite them round for a cuppa. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to turning your street into a real community.
Make healthy eating easy
Encourage a positive lifestyle, by making sure healthy food is within reach. The most obvious way is to put a bowl of fruit on the table, but there are other things you can do.
Avoid last minute dinner decisions by displaying a meal planner in the kitchen, with nourishing options for the whole week. If you have children, get them involved by asking them to contribute their ideas.
Think up ways you can make it easy to choose a wholesome snack. Keep nuts and granola bars in tempting glass jars. If you’ve invested in a juicer or yoghurt maker, don’t let it languish in the cupboard. Make room for it on the worktop so you’ll be more inclined to use it.