Surefire Ways to Make Your Home a Happy (And Functional!) Place

published Feb 11, 2016
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Home. It’s the supposed harbor of our hearts, and yours is probably affecting your overall well-being more than you think. Gary and Chelsey’s home gave us that good, old fashioned “happy home” feeling, and we were determined to figure out why. If you’re feeling stuck in your pursuit of a happy home, we’ve compiled a simple list of practices most of the happiest homes on Apartment Therapy—such as this one—share. Regardless of size, style, or location, these seven tips are sure to help restore happiness to any home—and the hearts it holds.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

1. Incorporate functional items into your decor

There are items we use. Like, really use. A lot. While these items may not always be attractive, they hold meaning and purpose. These items include, but are not limited to, litter boxes, rain boots, kitchen appliances, phone chargers, leopard print snuggies, and so many more. All too often we either store these functional items behind closed doors and have to move them every time we use them, or we hide them when guests come over. The constant stress of having a permanent fixture in a temporary location is not efficient for your day-to-day life. If you have an item you use regularly, find a functional place for it to live happily and proudly.

For example, Gary and Chelsey designed their home office, above, to include the two large litter boxes that their cats love. As a result, they never have to worry about the boxes being in the way or their cats being denied their favorite loo.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

2. Splurge on the basics

When it comes to basics like bedding, flatware, or storage devices—like the shower caddy above—figure out what is optimal for your needs and save for it. Don’t be tempted by sales and trends or you’ll likely end up buying, trying, hoarding, and trashing an excessive amount of stuff, which rarely results in happiness. Try to get by with what you have until you can get that one item that is built to last and fits your needs perfectly. You’ll probably end up saving money in the long run, and, before you know it, you’ll have a highly efficient home that helps you be the best you.

Gary and Chelsey have narrowed their toiletries down to only the products they truly use, and this sturdy adjustable shower caddy fits every last one of them. Starting your morning in a blissful bathroom free of clutter will get you on track for the rest of your day.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

3. Decant

Not only does decanting your everyday items into permanent containers look better, it can actually save you money. Buy hand wash, dish soap, and other toiletries and food items in bulk and store them in those hard-to-reach cabinets, decanting them into smaller, more attractive containers as needed. Your goods will look and feel like a cohesive part of your home, and this practice also gives you full control over how your items are stored and used. Hello, open shelving!

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

4. Factor in comfort

If there’s not a space you look forward to unwinding in after work, you might be doing something wrong. Aim for deep-set couches and chairs, and incorporate soft textures whenever possible. Even if your style is minimal, industrial, or something that favors cold/stark materials, make sure it’s balanced with a cozy throw or plush rug to facilitate cozy times.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

5. Take off your shoes

It’s pretty safe to say anything that reduces the dirtiness of a floor increases happiness. Getting in the habit of kicking off your shoes before you trek through your house is an easy way to cut down on general floor maintenance. Nothing ruins a good Sunday Netflix binge like spotting a judgmental clump of mud on the floor, mocking you in the glow of your television screen.

Of course, this one can be optional for guests, as making others feel welcome is also an important part of building a home, and those with foot issues may get a little squirmy at the prospect of shedding their shoes.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

6. Make it personal

Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, becoming mindless drones caught in the rat race of life. All cliché phrases about “working to live” aside, when we’re busy with life, we ironically forget what makes life worth living. Sprinkling personal items, like photos or sentimental art, around your home is important for creating an environment that makes you feel.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

7. Have a sense of humor

No matter how much time and effort you’ve put into designing your space, try not to take yourself too seriously. Having a sense of humor lightens the mood for everyone and creates a an environment that lets people know it’s okay to be comfortable with who they are when they’re in your home (yourself included!).

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Bonus Tip: Cats.

That’s it—cats!

Thanks to Gary and Chelsey for creating a great example of a happy home! We know this isn’t exactly a definitive list, so we’d love to hear from you! What are your tips for making a happy home?