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How to make your home a happier space

5 simple tricks for making your home a more joyful place to be

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B&Q Good Home

To mark the launch of B&Q and Kingfisher’s landmark new GoodHome Report, we discover five simple tricks for making your home a more joyful place to be

We all want our homes to look good, but what’s actually much more important is how they make us feel. That’s what prompted the launch of GoodHome by B&Q. As well as design-led, problem-solving products for your home, you’ll find practical advice you need to make a project work, whether it’s big or small.

To mark the launch of GoodHome, B&Q and its parent company Kingfisher are unveiling the GoodHome Report, a major study that investigates the links between our homes and wellbeing. Created with the Happiness Research Institute and its CEO Meik Wiking (author of The Little Book of Hygge), it brings together viewpoints from over 13,000 people across Europe, as well as insight from global experts in psychology, architecture and city planning.

The study reveals just how important our homes are to our overall outlook: 73 per cent of people who are happy with their homes are also happy in life; and our homes account for 15 per cent of our total happiness – much more than our jobs, which only make up three per cent. Despite this, only one in four of us say we’re completely content with our place of residence. So how can we change this? We asked interior designer Louise Parker of Studio Gabrielle, who specialises in creating joyful, mood-boosting spaces, for her tips on making your home happier.

Rearrange and energise

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    B&Q Good Home

    ‘If your space doesn’t feel right, break it up mentally into small areas and study them using your intuition,’ advises Louise. ‘Look at the details, working out what’s making you feel good and what’s not.’ Once you’ve identified anything with negative vibes, recycle it or give it to charity and reassess. ‘Always picture a room as if it’s a visual embrace – you can then use colour, texture and objects to optimise the atmosphere,’ adds Louise. ‘This way, your home will not only be more harmonious, but it will also function better.’

    Change is good

    Making small updates to your home on a regular basis helps to cultivate a positive mood, as you’ll always have something new and stimulating to enjoy. It doesn’t have to involve lots of upheaval.

    ‘Try to set individual scenes in a room – for example, on your mantelpiece or bedside table,’ Louise suggests. ‘Frame those areas as though you’re composing a still life. Don’t be afraid to take things out and add new ones until the arrangement evokes the desired emotion – whether that’s energised or calm. Keep it simple, with just a few objects that you find visually pleasing – it’s always better to do more with less.’

    Make your home welcoming

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    B&Q Good Home

    Feeling at ease with inviting people into your home is a major factor in boosting happiness levels. In fact, the GoodHome Report found that pride accounts for 44% of our happiness in the home, so create an environment that you’re proud to show off to friends and family; an effortless way to achieve this, says Louise, is to have sensual textures all around you.

    ‘Natural materials like sheepskin, rattan, linen and wood instantly make people feel more relaxed. Look around your space and ask yourself which objects you’ll touch most often – the more use something gets, the more important the way it feels. If it’s warm and soothing beneath your fingers, it’s bound to have a positive impact on your guests’ emotions.’

    Embrace nature

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    B&Q Good Home

    The GoodHome Report found that access to green space makes a big difference to our happiness levels; without it, we’re significantly less happy. But if you don’t have access to a garden or balcony, you can bring the greenery in to your home instead.

    ‘There’s nothing like a bunch of flowers to brighten your day and make everyday moments special,’ says Louise. ‘But they’re about more than visual stimulation – they could also improve your wellbeing and help you relax. Look for house plants that are easy to grow and help to filter toxins from the air.’ Ivy, bamboo palms and aloe vera are all said to be good.

    Celebrate your individuality

    ‘Art adds character and joy to a home, and is especially uplifting if you use it to steer the eye towards the emotional heart of a room, such as a fireplace or garden view,’ says Louise. Turn your home into an evolving gallery by pairing on-trend prints from B&Q with one-off sculptures, ornaments and ceramics. ‘I love the thrill of uncovering a rare treasure that completes your space,’ Louise says. ‘If it helps to tell your story, it will make your home a happier place to be.’

    Invest time, improve your space and boost your home’s happiness with the help of GoodHome, available at B&Q – visit diy.com, where you can also watch Meik Wiking’s inspiring video talk on the GoodHome Report. For more on Studio Gabrielle, follow @studiogabrielleuk

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