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by Bobby Berk

As designers, we know that a happy home means a happy life. And in a world with lots of uncertainty, a little bit of happiness can go a long way. So taking small steps to improve your home isn’t just about creating a more stylish and functional space – it’s also a way to bring some much-needed positivity.

In many ways, caring for your space is caring for yourself, and by having a well-designed home, your personal outlook on life can shift. As is the case with what you put on your body (a good outfit always makes you happy), or the food you put in your body ( good food means good energy), what you do in your home makes an impact on your daily life. This is true now more than ever, as we all spend lots of time at home. And it really doesn’t take much – even small things can have an impact on your day to day mood; from keeping things clean, to displaying meaningful items, to adding the right color and lighting.

So banish those negative thoughts, and let the positivity start flowing through your space. And for you skeptics out there, we encourage you to at least give these 5 tips a chance. You never know what small change can bring big impact.

KEEP IT Clean

It may seem obvious, but a clean and organized space is the easiest quick change you can make to help bring about positivity. It’s actually been scientifically proven that having too much clutter around can overwhelm the brain. (Can’t argue with science now can you?) Here are a few tips to help achieve a clean home and a clean mindset.

  • Make your bed in the morning. It’s a great way to start your day and really only takes a few minutes. Getting into a made bed at the end of the day is one of the best feelings in the world (or is that just us?)
  • Don’t let piles of mail and paperwork stack up. Instead use a file or bin to store them immediately. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Get rid of objects that are no longer meaningful and are just taking up space. (KonMari style!)
  • Organize your workspace at the end of each day by filling away paperwork and tidying up. Getting into this habit means you will start each day with a fresh and clear mindset (and everyone else in your home will appreciate less clutter).

For more tips on staying organized, check out our post Small Space Living: 5 Affordable Solutions To Help You Live Smarter.

ADD SOME Color

Color has long been determined to have a deep connection to our mood and thoughts. Different colors can relax us, energize us, or make us feel better. Here are a few tips for how to harness color to create a positive feel, no matter what color you gravitate towards.

  • Colors like greens, blues, and earth tones are more calming and suited to bedrooms, bathrooms, and family rooms.
  • Colors like red, orange, and yellow are more energetic and stimulating and suited for rooms you wish to be productive in.
  • The color white helps clear the mind and evokes freshness, and simplicity.

Don’t think that this requires you to paint your walls either. Just having a few pops of these colors around your space can bring you an instant jolt of joy. For more tips on adding color, see our posts Proud to Be Colorful and Finding The Right White: Bobby’s 5 Favorite White Paints

MAKE IT Personal

Adding personal items to your space is a great visual reminder of the happy moments in life (not to mention making your space uniquely you!) They will also bring back fond memories of friends and family that you may not be able to see in person. Here are some ideas for incorporating personal touches for a positive effect.

  • Display souvenirs and objects from meaningful trips: a handmade blanket, pottery, a small trinket from a trip, or a natural object.
  • Frame photographs from special times with family and friends.
  • Place special items in prominent places, like artwork that belonged to a relative.
  • Pin inspiring and motivational images or photographs to a corkboard. (You know, Pinterest IRL)

BRING IN Nature

Plants have a way of brightening even the worst of days, simply by sitting on a windowsill. They also have the added benefit of helping to refresh the air in a room, and thus make you healthier ( A real win-win situation if you ask us.) So here are some tips on how to harness nature’s positive vibes.

  • Place a potted plant on your desk or a fern in your bathroom or another unexpected place to give you a cheery boost. Adding greenery to your workspace at home is definitely a great way to lift your mood during a long zoom call!
  • Buy fresh flowers. They don’t even need to be anything fancy, just a grocery store bouquet in your favorite vase once a week can totally change your mood. Our favorites from the grocery store are hydrangeas, tulips, and roses.
  • Bring in natural elements, like wood, woven items (jute, rattan, bamboo), and botanical art.

Whether you’ve got a green thumb or not, a little life in the form of plants can do a lot to bring a smile to your face. For a few more ideas, you can see our posts How to Bring Nature into Your Space and The 9 Easiest House Plants To Take Care Of (That We Use All The Time).

THE RIGHT KIND OF Lighting

Like color, lighting can have a powerful impact on our mood (again, proven by science). Being in a space with bright fluorescent bulbs all day can actually elicit stress in our body. Natural light is always best, but here are a number of ways lighting can be used to actually make us feel better.

  • Make sure you have a mix of the 3 types of lighting: Ambient, Task and Accent
    • Ambient lighting is intended to provide overall light to a room (ceiling light fixtures, recessed lights, and lamps).
    • Task lighting is specific lighting for doing something (desk lamp and pendant lighting over a kitchen counter).
    • Accent lighting is used to highlight an object or wall (picture lighting or sconces).
  • Open your blinds or draperies to let natural light in during the day. It will help you sleep better and improve your mood. If you don’t have great natural light in your space, add some mirrors to help reflect and bounce light.
  • Light candles at dinner, even if it’s just a casual meal. The warm glow of candlelight is soothing and mood-enhancing. (Romance not guaranteed, but hey, you never know.)
  • Replace your lightbulbs in more relaxing spaces, like a family room or bedroom, with warm white dimmable LED bulbs. They are more pleasing to the eye and relaxing (not to mention they’re energy-efficient.)
  • Purchase a smart lamp (like this one for $35) that has different options for levels of light tailored to different activities and times of day. It sounds gimmicky, but it actually does work and makes a big difference. After all it’s got a ton of positive reviews… positive reviews = positive people.

For more options on lighting, check out our posts Lighting Upgrades: 36 Ways to Brighten Up a Rental.


Bobby Berk

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