Studies show that people interpret the definition of a happy home multiple ways: it is a place where you feel secure (69%), a place you can relax in (64%), and a place where you are free to be yourself (57%). The way you design and style your home has a direct impact on all of those understandings, from its basic layout to the color of the rugs. One of the most underrated factors, however, are the windows.
Shine Bright Like A Window
Natural light has been proven to have a positive effect on mood. Exposure to sunlight not only regulates our circadian rhythm, which allows us to get a full and restful night of sleep, but it is also believed to trigger emotional responses by increasing the brain’s production of serotonin: one Australian study that measured levels of brain chemicals found that people had higher serotonin levels on bright sunny days, regardless of the temperature outside. Since serotonin is directly linked to mood, it makes sense that higher levels correlate with a better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calmness, while lower levels are linked to depression and anxiety.
Approximately 80% of Americans are unhappy with their home decor — a good place to start may be the windows. Begin by clearing any clutter that may be blocking the light from entering your home: any furniture, lamps, or knick-knacks should be moved to new locations so sunlight is as unobstructed as possible. Consider changing your window treatments; if they’re dark, heavy, or otherwise opaque, go shopping for a lighter, more translucent fabric. Lace adornments are perfect as they prevent people from seeing inside, yet also manage to elevate the beauty of natural light.
Redesigning Around Light
If you’re looking to brighten your entire home, there are other tips you can employ. Mirrors help light travel as it bounces off of them and around the room; add a few to your home to cast more brightness between, across, and all around your walls. If you’re worried that the addition of seven new mirrors will look a bit conspicuous, complement their metallic sheen with other shiny objects, like brass candlesticks or silver sconces — they’ll blend in much better.
The color of your walls also plays a major role in how well light is reflected in the home. Dark walls absorb light, inherently making spaces feel smaller and more gloomy. Instead, consider lighter colors like pastels — and don’t neglect your floor! Bright rugs can do wonders in opening a space up.
If you’re really committed to bringing as much sunlight as possible into your home, go for broke and upgrade your windows themselves. In addition to more effectively sealing your home off from the outside elements (thereby reducing your monthly energy bills), windows last between 20 and 40 years, and some even longer than that. Floor-to-ceiling windows will give you the most sunshine for your buck, but there are a wide variety of styles available to choose from.
The next time you’re sitting at home feeling a bit miserable, consider the lighting; find a way to brighten your home and your mood will follow.