5 tips for creating a happy home environment

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Sai De Silva is an In The Know parenting contributor. Follow her on Instagram and check out her website for more.

They say home is where the heart is, but these days, home is really just where we are — all the time. It’s been about a year since the pandemic made staying home the new norm, and it didn’t take long for people to realize how important it is to cultivate a bright, inspiring and happy living space. With things now loosening up a bit, there’s more freedom to go out, but that doesn’t alter the importance of your home environment for creating a happy life and raising a happy family.

Our homes say a lot about us. I remember in my early twenties when I was living in cramped NYC apartments, I often had a messy room and didn’t pay any mind to the way things were decorated. It wasn’t important to me at that time. Now, however, aside from my closet — which is a different story — I take pride in keeping my home clean and decorating it in a way that feels authentic and vibrant.

I think it’s safe to say that our environment plays a key role in the way we feel and vice versa. But whether you’re living in an NYC apartment with the whole fam including grandma, a home in the suburbs with kids wreaking havoc in the backyard or fall somewhere in between, there are always things you can do to make your living space a more positive place to be.

Here are some tried-and-true tips you can implement to make your home feel instantly happier.

Buy Fresh Flowers and Plants

Having some fresh blooms and green plants to take care of literally brings new life into your home. I’ve gotten in the habit of buying fresh flowers from the farmer’s market every week or so, and they put a smile on my face each time I look at them. Plus, adding some living plants to the scene causes you to direct your attention towards caring for another living thing. There are plants of all sizes, which require varying degrees of care. If you don’t quite have a green thumb, you can always get yourself a low maintenance plant.

Philodendron Green, $40

Credit: The Sill

Tidy Up On The Regular

You know how an object in motion tends to stay in motion? Well, a space that’s tidied up regularly tends to stay tidy. Clutter builds up gradually and then all of a sudden you’re wading through piles of toys, clothes or junk, wondering how it came to this. 

It’s true that a tidy home makes for a tidy mind. We all make messes now and then — my kids go crazy with their toys on the weekends, and there’s just no stopping them. However, a good rule of thumb is to quickly tidy up a room in five minutes or less before leaving it so that it stays manageable. This means making your bed, picking up clothes, putting blankets in baskets, etc. You don’t have to deep clean (who has time for that, tbh?), but a quick decluttering goes a long way.

Hang Meaningful Prints and Photos

Adding some pizzazz to the walls is an easy way to make your house feel like a home. Wall space is something we all have, and hanging up photos or prints to gaze at allows you to surround yourself with things that make you happy, even when you can’t get out to see them in person.

Take some time to decorate your walls with meaningful prints or photographs. Maybe you prefer to print out photos of good memories with people that you love and hang them up somewhere you see them regularly. I have a little corner with some of my favorites photographs of me with the kids, and it warms my heart when I look at them.

You could also find some prints done by local artists of subjects that you love — a place you want to travel, a quote that inspires you, a beautiful photograph — and make your own artistic gallery wall. This is such a fun and easy way to personalize your living space with things that make your heart happy. I used Minted to curate a gallery wall for my office space, and it was so much fun to pull together.

Save Up For Entertainment

Humans are social creatures and enjoying ourselves with friends and family is an important part of our culture. Even if you can’t quite play host or hostess the way you’d like to at this moment, it’s a good idea to use some of your home decor money for entertainment.

This could mean saving up for an outdoor patio paradise, creating a movie room, buying a fire pit or even splurging on a karaoke machine. After all, home is for making memories for those close to you and having an entertainment hub will make both hanging with your current crew (kids, roommates, partners, cats) and having loved ones over for future gatherings all the more enjoyable.

Singing Machine Karaoke System, $49.99

Credit: Amazon

Create a Zen Corner

We all need a place to take a break and chill out. Or, should I say, a corner. A zen corner. This is such a lovely way to incorporate self-care with home decor. Do yourself a favor by setting up a little area where you can go relax and escape from the day whenever you need a breather. 

Your zen zone may be as simple as a yoga mat or cushion in a corner with some candles, books and incense. Or it could be as intense as a full-on reading nook. Either way, by giving yourself a designated space to get grounded and find your center, you’ll feel more connected to not only your home but yourself as well.

If you enjoyed this story, check out Sai De Silva’s morning routine essentials!

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