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Designer Ingrid Fetell-Lee’s book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, is the culmination of her ten year journey exploring how our physical surroundings can positively and negatively affect our mood. People who feel more joy on a daily basis show a greater ability to recover from stress, pain, depression and have a greater chance of living longer. Joy is even scientifically-proven to make people seem more attractive. But to tap into your inner joy and bring more of it into your home, you don’t necessarily have to visit The National Institute of Play in California or move into one of the Reversible Destiny Lofts on the outskirts of Tokyo (though you could). Here, we’ve gathered some more of Fetell-Lee’s science-backed tips on how to bring a more joyful aesthetic to your home.
Main image credit: Instagram @confettisystem
We all remember the blue door in the film Notting Hill (though this may have something to do with the young Hugh Grant living behind it). Nonetheless, the blue door is memorable because it pops against the white walls around it. One of the aesthetics most universally associated with joy is bright, saturated color. Paint your front door a fun color. It’s like a little gift to the neighborhood.
Image credit: Instagram @elizabethulrichdesign
Free the chi. Entering your home through a patch of chaos creates a moment of irritation that affects the rest of your evening, says Fetell-Lee in her book. Feng Shui practitioner Ann Bingley came to her home and explained how clutter in her entryway was causing the invisible energy in her apartment – called chi – to swirl around and get stuck. When her husband cleared the pinched entryway filled with boxes as a surprise, she noticed how she sighed with pleasure upon entering her home instead of gritting her teeth. (As a side note: Does one partner have easier access to the bed, while the other has to clamber in awkwardly? If so, there’s an imbalance. The imbalance could start out small but could build up to hinder marital harmony.)
Image credit: Instagram @opendesignstudio
Tap into your inner lyrebird (but don’t limit yourself to blue). Gathering items of one colour together takes items you already have and turns them into a colourful display. This works because when objects share a common property, our brain views them as a group, which becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Image credit: Instagram @cj_hendry
Flower power is real. Put a bud vase on the nightstand because flowers have been shown to put people in a positive mood in the mornings.
Image credit: Instagram @stylehaul
While we’re on the subject of hidden colour, one thing Fatell-Lee loves to do is to hide a little pop of colour inside a closet. This is one of the first places you go in the morning, so it’s nice to animate a forgotten space with a surprise that’s just for you. Hide a pop of colour by painting the inside of your drawers a bright hue.
Image credit: Instagram @shelbysorrel
If there’s something you hate doing (for Fetell-Lee it’s cleaning), add some bright colour to make it more joyful—get a rainbow cleaning duster, a dustpan with a subtle smiley face, or bright microfibre cloths.
Image credit: Instagram @foragemodern_mn
A round dining table is equalising and people can more easily see each other’s expressions, amplifying the joyful vibe.
Image credit: Instagram @2lgstudio
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