The pandemic has impacted our lives in countless ways, and many of our routines were flipped upside down as we struggled to wrap our heads around a new normal. From working and exercising, to online shopping and countless home-cooked meals – it may feel as if you’re surrounded by the same four walls day-in and day-out.
It’s no secret that our surroundings affect our mood, but they might have a bigger impact on our well-being than you think. In fact, according to a recent study, 70% of homeowners said that the design of their home has affected their well-being during the pandemic. So, if you’ve been feeling down and can’t quite put a finger on why, your home may be to blame. Find out what you can do around the house to give yourself a much-needed mood boost to feel happy in your home – and even increase the value of your home.
14 Upgrades and Routines to Be Happier in Your Home
1. Design a home gym to make a happy home
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall well-being. If you were a regular at your local gym before the pandemic, it was most likely difficult for you when gyms across the country were closed to stop the spread of Coronavirus. You no longer have a place to go with weights, straps, or workout machines. Many people had to get creative with their at-home workouts, substituting household items for gym equipment in living rooms and bedrooms.
It may have been difficult at first to adapt your routine, but if you’ve come to love the convenience of your home set-up, it may be time to make some upgrades. Start by clearing space and creating a dedicated exercise area in your spare room or garage. Next, add shock-absorbent rubber flooring for weighted exercises, gym equipment that’ll help you reach your fitness goals, and a mirror so you can keep an eye on your form. You can even include a fan to keep cool and a TV to follow along with a personal trainer or video workouts.
The upfront cost of designing a home gym might be expensive, but don’t let that scare you. Did you know that a gym membership costs an average of $700 dollars a year? A home gym will practically pay for itself, considering the hundreds to thousands you can save over the years by no longer needing a gym membership.
2. Create a habit of routine cleaning
It’s hard to get in the right headspace when your home is dirty. A clean home is not only better for our overall health and well-being by reducing indoor allergens, but it also has a positive impact on our mood. Get in the habit of cleaning your home a couple of times a week. Routine cleaning includes vacuuming, dusting regularly, wiping down countertops and surfaces, and cleaning your bathrooms and kitchen.
Keeping your house clean can be a time-consuming task, and let’s face it – sometimes it’s hard to find the time to clean your house from top to bottom. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service. A happy home is a clean home and trust me, it will be worth it. They’ll be able to clean every nook and cranny of your home, plus you can choose the frequency of visits to suit your needs.
3. Declutter your home and boost productivity
As a homeowner, it’s common to accumulate stuff over the years and not realize it until your home is in disarray. Your mess just becomes everyday junk that you no longer notice. But the piles of paper, boxes of toys, and mounds of clothes can negatively impact your overall mental state. Eliminate this source of stress in your life. Follow these general guidelines as you declutter your way towards a happier home:
- Break your project up room-by-room, and don’t move on until the room is finished. This way, you don’t end up lost in an endless pile of stuff.
- Begin categorizing. One for belongings you’d like to keep, one as a “maybe” pile, and another one for items you’ll donate. In a few days, come back to the maybe pile and make final cuts. If you don’t use it, don’t want it, or don’t need it, get rid of it.
- Check the expiration date and throw out any expired items. Be especially thorough when looking at items in the kitchen, pantry, bathroom, and medicine cabinet.
- Sort through your closet, and donate or toss clothes or shoes you no longer need.
- Don’t allow papers to pile up. Our countertops can be quickly overrun with bills, flyers, and mail. Sort through these papers immediately, toss whatever isn’t important, and find a suitable storage option for the others
Decluttering is a big task, and attempting to tackle your entire home by yourself could turn disastrous. That’s why it’s best to hire a professional for assistance in sorting through your belongings, especially if you have a big job ahead.
Home selling tip: If you’re trying to sell a cluttered home, buyers will be distracted and overwhelmed by your things. Hiring a professional to declutter can increase a home’s asking price by up to 5%.
4. Improve your home organization
There are countless benefits to becoming (and staying) organized. Organization doesn’t just mean your belongings are in the right place, it can also be beneficial to your well-being. Living in an organized home makes everyday tasks that much easier, even if it’s something simple like locating your house keys or finding your phone charger. Almost everyone wishes they were more organized, but the task of organizing itself can be daunting for some.
It’s important to remember that there isn’t one tried-and-true way to organize your home. However, it’s crucial to organize in a way that fits your lifestyle so be sure to keep your everyday items in easy-to-reach places. Once you’ve decluttered, begin to categorize your belongings and store them in labeled boxes, bins, containers, and drawer organizers. A good place to start is your junk drawer. Always return items to their designated space after each use. It sounds simple, but it takes practice and commitment to develop this habit.
Sometimes finding the time to begin organizing, or even knowing where to start, can be the biggest obstacle. Work with a professional organizer to create a system that works for you and your goals.
5. Designate a space for mind and body practices
There’s nothing better than the immediate sense of calm that washes over you when you’ve stepped into a yoga studio or meditation center. If you’re looking for a way to bring more peace and tranquility into your home, think about designating a space for yoga or meditation.
The best yoga or meditation sanctuary is calm and soothing, helping you to remain happy in your home. It should be a sanctuary you can escape to and where you can give 100% of your focus to your mind and body. Find a dedicated space, no matter how small, and designate it as your “studio.” This could be beside your bed, in the bonus room, or even on your balcony or back deck.
Be sure to have everything you need in reach, including a water bottle, yoga mat, meditation cushion, blankets, and myofascial release tools. Create a relaxing ambiance with essential oils, and surround yourself with dim lighting, earthy elements, soothing music, and burning candles. This way you won’t have to leave your home to achieve the same sense of bliss you get at the yoga studio or your favorite meditation center.
6. Boost curb appeal to welcome you home with open arms
It’s common knowledge that a beautiful yard and a freshly painted exterior can increase the value of your home. But a home with curb appeal also has the ability to make you feel happier and is an essential ingredient for a happy home. A beautiful lawn with freshly trimmed plants, a stone walkway, and an inviting front porch is sure to make you smile as you pull into the driveway.
But if you’re greeted by a yard overflowing with weeds and dead grass it may just add to your stress. If you can’t remember the last time you mowed, or it’s starting to wear on you, hire a professional to take care of your yard and trim the shrubs. Paint the front door, add potted plants, and pressure wash the exterior of your home. You’ll thank yourself for it every time you pull into your driveway.
Home selling tip: Curb appeal not only helps your home sell quicker, but it also increases home value up to 11%.
7. Schedule an annual plumbing inspection
Maintaining a happy home and improving your overall well-being also includes regular maintenance and inspection of your home’s plumbing system. Before any issues spiral out of hand, and to help you save time, money, and heartache, schedule an appointment for a yearly plumbing check-up. A professional will be able to detect small or developing leaks, find the root cause of a clogged drain, and much more.
Home selling tip: A plumbing system that is in bad condition can be a deal-breaker for the buyer. Avoid any future issues by keeping up with your home’s annual plumbing maintenance.
8. Incorporate smart home technology
Thanks to smart home technology, healthy living is easier than ever. COVID-19 has brought to light just how easily germs can spread, which has amplified the demand for clean surfaces and filtered air. From air quality sensors and comfort-focused sleep technology, to water purifiers and UV disinfectant lights, your options are endless and will help you keep a healthy and happy at home.
Home selling tip: It’s important to appeal to today’s buyers, and as more millennials break into the housing market, incorporating smart home technology will add more value than ever.
9. Reduce monthly bills with LED light bulbs
A happy home can also mean an efficient home. Since you’re probably spending more time at home than ever before, you might have noticed an increase in the time spent with the lights on, and therefore an increase in your energy bills.
Consider switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs. According to the Consumer Federation of America, opting for LED lights can save you about $1,000 across the span of 10 years. In fact, residential LEDs use 90% less energy per day and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
10. Refresh your space with a coat of paint
You walk into a yellow-painted, light-filled dining room to enjoy your morning cup of coffee and you immediately feel energized. If you’re not a morning person, you may be wondering why you’re suddenly feeling excited and upbeat about the morning.
The colors you choose to surround yourself with have a drastic impact on your mood. White walls can promote positivity and cleanliness, blue instills productivity and tranquility, and green relieves stress and has a calming effect. So, if you’re looking for a change in the mood of a room, consider painting your walls.
Home selling tip: Paint your walls a neutral color. Opt for beige, ivory, cream, or white-colored walls as these hues show best in photos and videos.
11. Increase your vitamin D exposure with a sunroom
It’s no secret that sunshine has a profound effect on our mood and mental health. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the many benefits of vitamin D and sunshine all year round, consider adding a sunroom to your home.
A sunroom is versatile, allowing you to adapt the space for numerous purposes. It’s most commonly used as a lounging area or sitting room, but a sunroom can easily be transformed into a craft room, office, yoga space, or garden. There’s just something about the radiant and airy atmosphere of a sunroom that can lift anyone’s mood and feel connected to nature without leaving your home.
Home selling tip: Adding on a sunroom to your home’s footprint will increase usable square footage, and therefore increase home value.
12. Instill peace of mind with an alarm
Everyone wants to feel safe. While installing a home security system isn’t cheap, your peace of mind is priceless. Improving home security should be your first step towards feeling safer and happier at home.
There are countless benefits to installing a home security system. First and foremost, an alarm system can help protect you and your loved ones from intruders, smoke, and carbon monoxide poisoning. You’ll be able to protect your valuables from burglars and help deter crime. It can also lower your homeowners insurance by up to 20%. And, if you’re ever away from home, you’ll have the ability to monitor your home through your smartphone. Knowing that you, your family, and your home are safe will help alleviate worry and stress.
13. Create a reading nook to escape to
For many of us, nothing beats getting lost in a good book. It provides a temporary escape from reality and life’s everyday stresses. It can also improve your sleep, reduce anxiety, enhance social skills, and boost intelligence. If you love to cozy up with a book, consider creating a reading nook in a quiet space in your home. Find a private corner surrounded by bookshelves or a space you can only access by ladder, your options are endless.
Personalize the space with plants, candles, and wall hangings. Adding pillows and blankets to your new space brings warmth and comfort. If your book nook is away from windows, be sure to add outlets and lighting so you can enjoy the space at any time of day.
14. Replace your windows for better insulation
The temperature of your surrounding environment plays a very important role in how comfortable and relaxed you feel, and cold spaces can lead you to feel unmotivated. If your windows are drafty, consider replacing them to stay happier at home. After all, a warm home is a happy home. And, a better-insulated home can save you up to 15% annually on energy bills.