11 ways to create a happy home and feel joy every day

My mom and I texted the other day about how stressful the past two years have been. The uncertainty of the future and the endless news cycle has left many of us feeling anxious and depressed at different times, sometimes when we least expect it. But then my mother wrote, “This time has proven that a lot of the things we consider essential are actually not. But that’s what love is. And that’s what family is.” I couldn’t agree more. As I thought about her quote, I realized I would add one to the list: a happy home. Most of us have never spent as much time between our four walls as we have over the past 24 months, and it shows us how much we love where we live, or it prompts us to spend a little more time cultivating our surroundings. arouse joy.

The fact that our homes have become offices, schools, gyms and pretty much everything else has also influenced our design approach. Forbes reports that, while open floor plans are still in demand, there is also a desire for the ability to create privacy. Home of Apartment Therapy director, Danielle Blundell, said, “We’re really looking to get back to defining spaces…organization for things like working from home, exercising, and everyone being at home at the same time. and take the call.”

Many people are also looking for budget-friendly ways to create a sanctuary of their own, whether it’s a place for yoga or meditation, or simply the ability to take a hot shower and close the door. personal preference.) In my experience, sometimes the things that make the biggest difference in my level of happiness don’t cost a dime. As you’ll read our editors’ mood-boosting tips below, using music, scents, and the outdoors can be as pleasurable as buying a new sofa.

So check out some of the most recent things our editors have done to create a happy home this year (starting with mine) and I’d love to hear your comments. about how you are creating joy in your own home.

Place a soft, plush rug under the bed.

I used to have natural fiber rugs like jute or sisal in my bedroom because I liked the earthy texture. That said, it’s not the softest material for bare feet. After swapping it for a higher wool rug under the bed, I wonder how I’ve lived without the feeling of sinking my feet into something warm and plush when I climb out of bed in the morning. It truly is the ultimate luxury, and a comforting way to start the day with a smile on your face. Safe to say, I’m obsessed.

Arrange the pantry for meal prep (really fun).

Recently, I reviewed the condition of my family’s pantry. Messy shelves, mismatched food containers, mason jars with crumbs on the bottom… not ideal for one of the hardest working areas of our homes! We’ve installed a pantry organization system to make sure everything stays clean and organized, even when life gets hectic.

The first big step was to take inventory of everything I needed in my pantry – I counted the exact number of cans, boxes, cereals, bottles of vinegar – and then put it all in one particular place. body. Next, I stock up on baskets, bins, and food containers to keep it looking good. And finally, I deleted everything that was past its expiration date or things that I knew we would never use. My new and improved pantry is so efficiently designed, I actually have the extra space, even though it’s the same size as the old one. And for me, enjoying the cooking process in the evening is the key to a happy home. Happy!

Create your own meditation/reading/relaxing space.

Home should be an oasis of calm, like an escape from the outside world. There really is no better feeling than coming home at the end of a long day to a place that feels truly restorative. Having a dedicated space in my house to meditate, read or just have some alone time has been a game changer! The essentials? A plush rug, low table, a few candles and a lounger are all you need to create your very own private retreat. Something personal like a piece of art or a photograph you love will also increase the happiness factor.

There are trees and books in every corner.

Suruchi Avasthi, our culinary editor, says:

As a renter, I’m sometimes limited when it comes to customizations I like to imagine one day owning my home, so what I’m really leaning on now is having a lot of money. many trees and books around. My home. For many people, plants seem like the obvious choice to make a space feel more cheerful, but the habit of having them around has made all the difference for me. Especially living alone, I love that my trees also become my own source of companions throughout the year. I love the morning water and my plants’ alternating light routine, and the occasional leaf cleaning!

Another thing to make my space a little more cheerful is having books everywhere. Books to me are my own form of decoration, and I love sorting and stacking different books around different corners of my home. It feels special to have beautiful words from so many respected voices AND guilty pleasures around the house. Plus, I love that someday when I have my own home library, they’ll all fit in one bookshelf together.

*Images from this gorgeous and happy home (and it’s only 400 square feet!)

Create an outdoor living room.

Anne Campbell, who writes about family and health, says:

While I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and cozy bedrooms to put my three kids to bed at night, for me it’s the outside of my home that I’m most proud of. My husband, Cameron, a landscape architect by day and DIY assistant on weekends, has transformed our anything but fun estate into a magical space. Shrubs and trees soften the corners of our yard and give the kids privacy and space to spin, swing and create confidence in the open air.

Cameron recently designed and hand-built a custom ‘nature swing’ as he calls it, where the kids sit and read and gaze up at the sky for hours. He also built concrete benches and a fire pit. This is a space for family meals and gatherings. It’s also the place to bake marshmallows and talk about our day. These unique “our moments” in our outdoor living spaces are what make our home a happy home.

Play a mood-lifting song.

Hannah Zahner, our wellness and beauty editor, says:

Growing up, my mother always played music and I love that it automatically brought joy into our days. Plus, it introduced us to a lot of great music! Taking advice from mom, we use music throughout the day to set the mood and add fun to our day.

We start the day with some peaceful worship or something quiet, then turn it into a more playful playlist that we can bounce around a bit as we head into playtime/finish. Work. A kid’s song or two was sprinkled in there (I love this one by Imogen Heap, because I still have the standard human, haha. My son is obsessed too!). Naptime = some peace and quiet while I get work done, so I hit pause music and enjoy some quiet or a podcast while I work. Then, when dinner time passes, I usually like to pop in something relaxing like this or something fun like this to wind down our day.

Design a play area that sparks joy.

Brandy Joy Smith, whose article on CS deals with motherhood and health, says:

Grandparents bought the kids a swing set for Christmas. So many parks were closed and we really enjoyed being out in the yard as much as we could. Of course, I had to do a self-cycle moment on the set for it to fit into my home. It is not a forever work but it has brought us a lot of joy until now.

Let’s light flickering candles every day.

Kelly Krause, our healthcare associate, says:

I’m in the weird place between renting a place and buying a home, so I don’t quite feel my space is full of style inspiration. I don’t want to spend too much on decor and furniture and not let it work in my next place. Does anyone have a good interior designer for small or rented spaces? Sacha & Camille’s house are bad targets.

That said, what literally and figuratively lit up and made me happy was lighting a candle every evening. This is where I splurge a bit. Things to reference include: Boy Smells x Kacey Musgraves Slow Burn, Diptyque’s Feu De Bois (pro tip, check out John Mayer’s hilarious Instagram story captured in his highlights of this candle ), Four Seasons in Austin signature Cands and Byredo’s Woods. I’m also famous for stocking up on Nest’s seasonal Holiday candles and bringing it out in July just to get excited for the festive season.

Hang bright, bold artwork.

Michelle Nash, our senior producer, says:

While I love Camille Styles’ peaceful, neutral color palette, I’m a fan of anything bright and colorful that adds interest to my space. I recently invested in some art for my bedroom from my favorite local artist and wonderfully talented best friend Calhan Hale. Her work (seen on Clever and Man Repeller) explores Texas symbolism in unexpected ways and delivers a sense of vibrancy and energy that she instills in herself. She paints with a mostly neon color palette and her works add a bright and bold statement to any room and always make me smile. Oh and candles, lots and lots of candles.

Immerse yourself in love.

Sacha Strebe, our deputy editor, says:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from decorating (and redecorating) my home, it’s to make it personal and bring sentimental items that remind you of those precious and final moments. is to inspire joy. I love to surround myself with beauty — works that spark my imagination, nourish my emotions, and make me feel at home. Lots of things in the house we’ve collected on road trips, antique shops, or been handed down for generations. Their story with us weaves a new story about our ever-evolving home and that inspired energy that makes me happy.

Take the essence of home with you, wherever you go.

Isabelle Eyman, our managing editor, says:

Like many people, during this time, I felt a profound loss of self-control. I cannot travel, explore, or navigate the world with the freedom and curiosity I once sought. When the COVID restrictions were eased, vaccinated and masked, I sold all my things (including my car and house) and packed the remaining clothes and books in a single suitcase . The adventures and visits that followed completely transformed my idea of ​​home. I learned that I felt safe and supported wherever I could connect with the people I hold dear — faces both old and new. As I head back to Portland, Oregon, it’s packing (and repacking) my Away suitcase that always reminds me of the warmth and love that can be had no matter where we go and wherever we go. tell us who to surround ourselves with. Oh, and with all the air travel, my Lunya Sleeping Mask comes with it.

What rituals and habits make you happy at home?

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