“The house looks like a pig sty.” “It’s as dark as a jail cell in here.” “The house smells like a musty attic.”
Your immediate environment has a big impact on your overall wellbeing. How could it not? More than just shelter from the outside world, homes should be a haven of mental and physical comfort – an extension of your identity and a satisfaction of your basic human needs.
There’s a reason people don’t opt to live in pigsties, jail cells or attics. The quality of space, light, air and visual aesthetics in your home all contribute to your overall wellbeing. When any of those four elements is out of whack, you may suffer mentally – perhaps even physically.
Let’s look at simple ways you can optimize your home for wellbeing, according to those four important elements.
Light: Install New Windows
Studies have linked inadequate light in the home to greater instances of depression, as well as greater chances of physical injuries, including falls. Anecdotally, this is something people understand intuitively: the brighter a space is, the happier it feels.
In order to boost your wellbeing, let in natural light by installing new windows in your home. Bay and bow windows in particular let a terrific amount of light in, but any new windows will be an improvement. If you’re worried about the added heat from the direct sunlight, choose Low-E windows, which help prevent heat energy from entering your home.
Space: De-clutter Your Dwelling Spaces
This Psychology Today article points out that living amid clutter can “impede your identification with your home.” Rather than a place of refuge from the franticness of the outside world, a cluttered home is an extension of that craziness. In order to make it your own and to structure it according to your best “mental hygiene” (their phrasing), start by clearing the clutter.
Focus on spaces you frequently dwell. While it’s perfectly fine to have some clutter tucked away in the attic, you don’t want it spilling over to the bedroom, for instance.
Air: Encourage a Little Fresh Air
Fresh air is a basic human necessity. If you took it away, you’d cease to survive. But even if you limit or adulterate fresh air, you can still face serious threats to your overall wellbeing.
When a home’s air quality is affected by mould, mildew, dust or dander, it can cause inhabitants physical health problems. Studies have also shown that limiting access to fresh, clean air can have negative effects on mental health. To encourage more fresh air in your home, install operable windows and sliding doors.
Aesthetics: Paint for Wellbeing
Finally, the look of a home can have an impact on your wellbeing. If you’ve ever spent time in a drably decorated, dingily painted space, you’ll intuitively understand the link between color and mood. For practitioners of “color psychology”, this is a provable phenomenon: they contend that certain colors elicit certain emotional responses. White feels fresh and clean, red feels energetic and passionate, blue feels stable and tranquil, etc.
Although some scientists have questions the link, anecdotal evidence abounds. Many homeowners report feeling calmer and more comfortable after applying a light, fresh coat of paint.
Understand the four key elements of your immediate environment and act to optimize them for mental and physical wellbeing.