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Improve Mood and Decrease Stress with 6 Home Changes

improve mood and decrease stress

Wanna improve your mood and decrease stress? Who the hell doesn’t??!! I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a massage right now. But, I’m not talking about massages, date nights or retail therapy here… nope! I’m talking about 6 easy adjustments you can make in your home.

Improve Mood and Decrease Stress? Yes, please!

Did you ever have a “Keep Out” sign on your bedroom door? 

Or maybe you had one that was personalized… mine had a purple unicorn on it and read “Kricia’s Room.”

Children seem to love having a space that’s all theirs… it gives them a sense of independence, ownership and safety.

When we grow up, we get the privilege of having a whole house, apartment or condo to ourselves.  (Hopefully we don’t put “Keep Out” signs on the front door!! 

And we nest…

There’s just something about home, right?

It’s our space.

And even though we value our homes and spend a lot of time nesting in our homes, I still think we underestimate the significant impact it makes on our mood and wellness. 

The decisions we make, from wall paint color to backsplash tile, to sofa choice, may seem a bit indulgent or trivial as we are making them… but they are not. 

Each choice by itself may not mean much, the the result of all our choices in decorating our homes significantly impact our sense of well being.

Evidence-Based Design

The impact our homes have on our mood and wellness is backed by research.

Based on these studies, there are 6 things you can do right now to make your home more conducive to less stress and anxiety.

6 Design Changes To Improve Mood and Decrease Stress

And without further adieu…here they are!

1. Natural Light

dining room with natural light

Exposure to sunlight reduces depression. It can also boost productivity and focus.  So open those drapes, blinds and shades during the day.  Even on a cloudy day, allowing more natural light into the house can help.  

Are you stuck with a dark room with not much natural light?

I’ve lived in a 70s ranch style home growing up (complete with dark paneling. yay!) and the poor natural light drove me crazy even then.

If you have a similar dilemma, here are a few ways you can brighten things up:

  1. Color – If not already done, consider painting the room/ceiling a light, cool color. Even lighter beiges and tans can look too dark if a room doesn’t get much natural light.
  2. Mirrors – Mirrors can reflect the light coming in from your windows AND from lamps and sconces. So using larger mirrors placed strategically can really reflect light and brighten a room.
  3. Reflective finishes – So think glass coffee table or an acrylic side table. Think mirrored furniture or shiny accessories.
  4. Layered Lighting – Don’t be afraid to layer your lighting, especially if you only have one overhead ceiling light. Add table and floor lamps with white shades (no beige, tan or colored shades – these will appear darker) and/or wall sconces. If you don’t already have recessed lighting, adding these is relatively simple for an electrician to do. For any light fixtures with glass shades, make sure they are frosted or clear, rather than amber.
  5. Bulb Selection -Look at the color temperature and lumens of your bulbs – Use bulbs with the highest lumen value that your lamp or fixture can accommodate (lumens reflect the intensity of light provided, whereas watts just reflect how much energy is consumed). And make sure they have a color temperature of 3000K or greater. I would steer clear of vintage/Edison bulbs in darker rooms… they typically don’t provide much light.
  6. Textiles – Heavy drapes or rugs can make a space feel even darker and heavy. So think about replacing with lighter weight fabrics, sheers or shades.

2. Plants and Flowers (the real variety)

window with plants

Bringing in real house plants and flowers has been shown to improve mood, concentration and reduce stress. I definitely don’t have a green thumb, so I mix some easy care real plants with some silk faux plants.

3. Natural Elements

living room with stone fireplace

I think the best teacher of design is nature… and earthy elements are soothing to the soul.

Think earth, stone, metal, wood, fire and water.  Light candles, turn on your fireplace, vary your metal finishes and think about incorporating natural stone (quartzite, marble…) into your decor.

4. Space

organized custom cabinet

Openness and minimal clutter elevates mood and creativity.  Imagine how you feel in small cramped spaces as opposed to spacious, clutter-free room.  You can create this by decluttering regularly and making sure you aren’t trying to fit too much furniture into a space.  Make sure you don’t have too many accessories on side tables, coffee table and sofa tables.

5. Color

Different colors evoke different emotions, so depending on the room, you’ll want to be thoughtful about your color selections.   For example, reds and oranges can be stimulating, so if you want to relax in your bedroom, I would avoid these colors. Here is a chart of commonly evoked feelings and associations with various colors.

6. Art

Looking at art decreases stress levels and promotes creativity. Humans are drawn to beauty, so hang something you love on those empty walls. Resist the urge to buy pieces you’re settling on just to fill the walls.  Take the time to enjoy finding pieces that truly resonate with you. 

Test It Out For Yourself

None of these changes are particularly expensive…they are quick and simple. I don’t know about you, but I’m always a fan of quick and simple!

Start noticing how you feel in various areas of your house… and then ask yourself, “why?” You’re home environment is likely influencing you more than you realize. Experiment with some of these changes and reassess how you feel.

If you’d like professional design help from a fellow physician/interior designer, click here to learn more about my 60-minute design consultations.

And if you want… go get a massage too:) (wink). I know I sure am!

Kricia Palmer, MD, ASID | Doctor, life coach & interior designer

I’m Kricia Palmer, and I help women physicians let go of clutter and create beautiful, clutter-resistant homes so they can feel more peace, get more rest and be more focused.

What do you want to learn more about?

Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.