Happy home, happy life – that’s the cornerstone of domestic bliss, according to a new study commissioned by online architectural studio Resi. Called The Science of a Happy Home, and featured in Sunday Times Home, January 19, the study explored what makes your home a happy one. Apparently it’s not about owning your own home, but knowing you can live there for as long as you need. It’s not about having big windows with lots of light, but whether you can see nature through them. And it’s not about buying that trendy blue velvet sofa, but how much your home reflects who you are.
The findings were based on responses from 4,000 British people, and the results identified the six key qualities of a happy home. Here’s how Sunday Times writer Martina Lees explains them:
• Secure. Homes must meet our basic need for shelter, safety and stability. Security extends beyond the obvious definition, she explains. Social renters with secure lifetime tenancies have more life satisfaction that people who own mortgage free.
• Relaxed. People who describe their home as relaxed are more likely to be happy than those using any of the other personality traits, including sociable, organised or balanced. Almost half of us switch off most easily in our living rooms, and a third in our bedrooms.
• Mirrors you. One of the strongest findings is that you’re far happier when your home is unique to you. About 80% of those who are happiest at home say their homes reflect who they are – it should be about expressing you – it shouldn’t be about getting copper taps that are going to fade as a trend. Tip: display sentimental items to make a space your own.
• It’s not the light – it’s the view to the outside. How satisfied we are with the views from our windows is a bigger predictor of our happiness than our satisfaction with sunlight in our homes. It’s the connection to nature and greenery that matters – this was a big surprise. Tip: Include more houseplants – even artificial ones have similar benefits. If you have a garden, add seating to make it your sanctuary.
• Adaptable. We are most satisfied when we can adapt our layout as needs change: 92% of those happiest at home agreed that their house met their needs. Use rugs, screens or modular shelves to break up larger spaces without renovating. Mirrors and panels on the wall can also mark zones within a room.
• Connected. The spaces that matter most to home happiness are private gardens, balconies and open plan living rooms. All of these make us feel more connected. For the 23% of interviewees who work from home at least some of the time, balconies are particularly important. The survey also suggests a quarter of homes, (or 6.25m) are now open plan. This is a significant shift in the way we live, says the report.
Futon Company says: What a fascinating study into the way we live our lives now, and interesting to see the parallels between housing in general and small space living, especially the top tips which encourage us to personalise and zone our spaces, and to bring the outside in (and vica versa) wherever possible. It just goes to show, whether your space is very spacious, or snug and compact, the same basic design principles apply – ultimately it’s all about loving the space you live in and surrounding yourself with furniture and accessories that make your heart sing.