A survey from Modsy outlines the characteristics most closely associated with happy homes. Incorporate these ideas into your space for a boost of joy in every room.

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After more than a year largely spent at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the way our living spaces make us feel is perhaps more important than ever. For many, home is still our main place of work, rest, and entertainment, and how this space is designed can have a significant impact on our everyday moods.

Although designing a happy home is highly personal, certain elements can contribute to more joy around the house, according to a new report from online interior design service Modsy. In partnership with social psychologist Lindsay T. Graham at UC Berkeley's Center for the Built Environment, the company commissioned a survey of more than 1,500 people to determine how the design of homes impacts wellbeing. The results provide a blueprint for designing with happiness in mind. Read on to discover the decorating styles, colors, and other characteristics most closely associated with happy, restful homes—and learn how to infuse some more joy into your own space.

living area mix and match home decor
Credit: Adam Albright

1. A Calm, Cozy Atmosphere

A happy home is a comforting home. When asked to imagine how being in a well-designed home would make them feel, the majority of survey participants gravitated toward feelings of coziness and calm. By contrast, only about 10% of respondents associated good design with feeling productive, and an even smaller percentage tied it to feeling energized. To establish tranquility, fill your home with soft elements, such as plush pillows and fuzzy blankets, that invite you to relax, and choose calming colors that make you feel comforted.

porch purple rattan furniture
Credit: Laurey Glenn

2. Purple and Yellow Color Schemes

Although blue was easily the most popular color for decorating, those who opted for purple and yellow in their color schemes generally had more positive associations with their home. Of the participants who chose to decorate with purple or yellow, 95% reported feeling happy in their spaces. These two hues also made the top five list of colors associated with people who feel a sense of control and safety in their homes. Conversely, those with mostly red or brown decor were the least likely to feel happy at home. For a cheerful update, try repainting brown walls in a pale lilac shade, or swap out red accents for sunny yellow accessories.

exposed beams white walls modern cabin bedroom
Credit: Caroline Allison

3. Destination-Inspired Decorating Styles

The report also makes the case for decorating your home to mimic your favorite vacation spot, such as a remote cabin retreat or a luxurious villa on the Italian Riviera. According to the survey, several of the top decorating styles preferred by people with the happiest homes draw inspiration from specific locales. People with rustic-style homes, which often replicate the charms of rural areas, were most likely to agree with the statement "I feel happy in my home space," while Mediterranean and mountain styles also made the top five. However, these styles didn't match up with the survey's results for the most popular styles overall, signaling that personal taste wins out over broader trends when it comes to boosting happiness.

small living room gallery wall
Credit: Dylan Chandler

4. Organizing Solutions

Excess clutter can add stress to your life, so it makes sense that organization is a key component of happy homes. Older millennials and Gen Xers (defined in the survey as ages 35-54) in particular are more likely to prioritize tidiness, with most noting that organization is what makes them feel happy in their homes. To facilitate organization, incorporate plenty of closed storage, such as lidded boxes, baskets, or furniture with cabinet doors, that allows you to easily disguise clutter.

cozy blue and white family room
Credit: David A. Land

5. A Well-Designed Living Room

Your living room is the top spot for unwinding and indulging in some "me time," as well as the room where most people feel happiest, according to the survey. Lean into that relaxed, content feeling by decorating your living room with items that make you happy, such as family photos, favorite books, or mementos from travels. Arrange furniture in a way that facilitates your preferred activity, whether that's lounging in front of the TV, playing board games with family, or entertaining guests.

The kitchen, on the other hand, is the room where people feel the most stressed, with nearly 21% of participants saying that's the most stressful room in their home. To infuse your cooking space with more calm, employ storage strategies to curb clutter, bring in nature with potted plants, or consider painting the walls or cabinets in a soft, soothing shade.

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