Any interior designer will tell you that the space in which we sit, gather and relax directly affects our overall mood. It’s why we place importance on “ambiance” when trying to figure out which restaurant to eat at for dinner, and it’s precisely why many make a concerted effort to design a beautiful home.
“I view my home, as well as my clients' homes, as very sacred spaces. They are sanctuaries from the chaotic world that should serve as a restorative place for us to recharge ourselves,” says Jeffrey Phillip, a NYC-based interior designer and organizer. “In the non-stop world we live in of never-ending to-do lists, activities and work, it's important to make the space comfortable, clean, and stress-free so that we are able to enjoy our time there.”
Marie Kondo, a world-recognized tidying expert and founder of the KonMari Method of organization, agrees wholeheartedly with Phillip. She adds that this investment in your space can even pay off in ways some may not wholly appreciate.
“Many of my clients gained confidence through tidying their homes and started making better choices in their careers and relationships. As a result, their lives — and not just their homes — became more joyful,” she told NBC News BETTER via a translator. “Additionally, when you expend time and energy taking care of your possessions and your home, you develop an understanding that your belongings are supporting your life and your home becomes peaceful.”
5 Small Changes That Make a Big Impact on Your Wellbeing
Creating a space that fosters calmness, a boosted mood, and a sense of pride doesn’t require massive changes or a large budget. Here are some small, intentional ways to update your home right now that will have a big payoff:
By now, we’re familiar with the positive impact that nature has on our mood. For example, a 2015 study concluded that people who spent 50 minutes in a natural setting, versus an urban one, felt happier. Additional studies have found that being surrounded by nature reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. It makes sense, then, to bring the outdoors into your space by incorporating living, breathing houseplants.
“Plants are one of my favorite inexpensive items to add to a space. They add life and are a terrific dead space filler,” says Melissa B. Rodgers, an interior stylist based in Kansas City. “They not only look beautiful but improve your overall health by reducing air pollution, increasing oxygen levels, fighting fatigue, relieving stress and improving your overall mood.”
A NASA study found that indoor houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxin in a single 24-hour span.
For low maintenance options, try Ravenea (majesty palm), Aspidistra Elatior (cast iron plant), and Ficus Lyrate (fiddle leaf figs).
Get the better newsletter.
“The KonMari Method encourages tidying by category in a specific order, addressing all belongings in the home in one go,” says Kondo. (Read more about this process in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). “However, if you want to experience the effect of tidying without the whole commitment, you can do so simply by letting go of items that do not spark joy,” she says.
It sounds nebulous, but this ultimately entails removing items that weigh you down, that don’t contribute anything to your space, and that create unnecessary “noise.”