Being proud of your home was a laudable trait in the 50s but in recent decades, it’s become a sort of faux pas. But don’t be so quick to put your home last — investing time and money in making your home a beautiful and comfortable place to live plays an unexpectedly large part in keeping you happy and healthy.
The Happiness Research Institute, in partnership with home improvement company Kingfisher and DIY specialist B&Q, has carried out the largest study of its kind, with the goal of answering two questions: what makes a happy home and how can we make people happier with their home in the future?
By interviewing over 13,000 people in Europe, and combining the quantitative study results with independent research and interviews with psychological, anthropological, and social behaviouralists, the institute found there are several core emotions. Let’s take a look at what these are, and how you can evoke them in your home.
The study lists control as “A mental state, a feeling of having agency over ourselves, our finances, and decisions made about how and where we live.”
The easiest way to feel in control of your home? Own it. Those who owned their own homes often reported feeling happier because they had autonomy over maintaining and renovating the home, as well as financial security and independence. Many indicated they’d prefer a mortgage over renting from someone they didn’t know.
Pride accounts for 44 per cent of the core emotions. When the study took a closer look at the people who are proud of their homes, it found that 88 per cent of those people were happy with their living experience. The study also found 74 per cent of people who have an interest in home improvements are more proud of their homes.
You won’t have this problem if you live in a brand-new home, but if you live in an older or established home, you’ll want to take care of basic maintenance tasks. Give the walls a fresh lick of paint, replace window and door seals and clear the backyard of debris — you’ll feel more proud of your home in no time.
The study found that comfort was rated the third most important emotion to evoke in the home to achieve happiness. We want to feel mentally at ease at home — like it’s a respite from the rest of the world if needed.
Your brand-new mattress or 6-person couch may come to mind when asked if you find your home comfortable. While both are features of a comfortable home, they are just one element. Other factors to consider? Keeping your home tidy and uncluttered, change light bulbs to warm white globes, and layer textures and fabrics to create a ‘homely’ feeling.