Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity and influences our outlook on life. Studies have shown we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives no matter where we live — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life. So if your spaces inspire you as much as a masked trip to the supermarket right now, these 10 tips are for you.    

It’s functional

Rather than focusing only on what your home looks like and what you can’t afford, think about the functions it plays in everyday life. It provides shelter, keeping you dry from the rain and protected from the wind. It keeps you safe. And it gives you a sense of belonging; you live there and can set it up to represent exactly what’s important to you.

It connects you

What do you love about your community? Is it the amazing produce at the grocer? Your regular pilates class? A talented alteration specialist (they will be busy post-lockdown!). Or maybe it’s simply the act of walking down the street right now and enjoying neighbourly smiles and teddy bears in the windows. Be grateful to your home for connecting you to the community.

It’s meaningful to you

Add little galleries of pieces that evoke positive memories in your home. This can be objects you’ve collected, photographs that make you emotional, things you’ve been gifted, things you’ve made or had made for you. If you’re a design lover, display these objects in your style so they look artfully arranged and don’t create too much clutter.

It nurtures you

Notice the little habits you do in your home that make you feel calm and connected, and hit repeat on them daily. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal or use a beautiful cup for your daily coffee. Create a home spa experience, use a special chair to create a reading nook, buy bespoke dishwashing detergent and enjoy the scent. Getting more enjoyment out of small things takes practise until your brain is able form a habit.  

It’s good for your health

A clean and dry home environment helps keep you healthy. Bedding, carpet, door handles, stair railings and kids toys are are prime offenders when it comes to housing germs, and are probably the things you skim over when cleaning. Do a deep clean then reward your hard work with a delicious ‘Clean There, Done That’ dinner. 

It’s an investment

Your home is an investment in your future, so act like you’re selling it and stage an open home just for yourself. Walk around and make a list of easy things that need improving. Then do what you can to tick off that list – you’ll be surprised how improving simple things can add value.  

It has history

For many of us, there are aspects of our homes that frustrate us right now. But consider who planned and built your place and how excited they most likely were at the time. At some point, someone channelled a lot of time, money, love and attention into creating your home and made some pretty special memories along the way.

It connects you to nature

This simple act reaps the greatest rewards. Pot some flowers, make a herb garden, create zones outside for different activities, and improve your outdoor spaces so you use them more. Get your hands in the dirt and your head in the clouds.

It organises your life

What annoys you the most? Pantry?  Kids shoes? Computer storage? Photos on your phone? Tech and chargers? Identify problems and create a system to fix them. Clutter creates stress, so get rid of it. Try this simple tip: take two minutes a few times a day to bring each room back to ‘ready’ before you leave it. (Those with toddlers may require more time!).

Love lives there

Whether it’s from family, friends or pets, home is a place where love lives.

It creates memories

Experiences make us happier than material things due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that they provide: planning it; looking forward to it; enjoying it; remembering it. What experiences you want to enjoy in your home (even if it’s on Zoom or House Party right now)? It could be a book club or cooking club, creating a special reading zone, turning the bathroom into a pamper zone, a family games night or simply having a wine and dancing to your favourite tunes.  

BY shelley ferguson.