6 Simple Home Updates That Will Help You Feel Better

Yes, the furniture, colors, and details in your house can boost your mental health. Get our expert tips to make your space a sanctuary.

Our homes are a refuge—a place where we can step away from the noise of the world, be unapologetically ourselves, and make lasting memories with family. Taking care to create a space that nourishes your mind and body gives you more opportunity to recharge.

"Our homes should be our sanctuaries," says Joshua Smith, whose specialty is the intersection of wellness and home design. "There's power in reframing our focus to how we want our homes to feel rather than how we want them to look. With this at the forefront, we are best equipped to create spaces that positively impact our mental health."

bright desk area with textured furniture
Fernando Bengoechea / GETTY IMAGES

That doesn't necessarily mean your home is perfectly pristine or that it's brimming with trendy, Instagram-derived features. Rather, it's about prioritizing details that nurture from within. Even the smallest design tweaks can have an impact on the way you feel when you spend time at home.

Bring More Plants Into Your Home

bright kitchen with large plant in corner
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Science has established a very strong link between our emotional state and the amount of time we engage with nature. Recent research even points to an increase in cognition. While there's no replacement for a hike or picnic in the sunshine, there are ways we can bring nature into our space.

Incorporating plants is one of the simplest ways to bring the outdoors inside, and studies have shown that this simple addition can reduce feelings of stress and promote a feeling of comfort. "We like to incorporate one tall plant or tree to anchor the space when we design a room," says Laura Britt, an interior designer and expert at Well Build and Design. "Work in odd numbers of three when grouping; one tall plant with two smaller plants brings a beautiful green punch of color into your home. Use varying shapes, leaves, and shades of green."

Some mood-boosting options include olive trees, fiddle leaf figs, parlor palms, succulents, and even fresh floral arrangements.

Incorporate Natural Textures and Tones

textured pillows and rug

Along with plants, try incorporating elements of nature into your home through color, textiles, and furniture. "Bringing natural and neutral tones into your living space induces calmness and wellbeing. It grounds you mentally and there is a tactile experience that encapsulates you like a hug," says Britt. "Use neutral tones and soft elements like angora, faux fur, velvet, sisal rugs woven with wool, and heavy weighted blankets."

Wood furniture with a gorgeous grain, marble or stone, and leather are additional ways to incorporate natural elements.

Embrace Natural Light

Two hairpin tables with books, tulips and coffee cup placed on white rug in bright living room interior with grey sofa, fireplace and abstract painting on the wall

Maximizing the amount of natural light in your home is another way to foster wellbeing. Studies show that it improves mood and reduces anxiety, and can even help with productivity and sleep. To bring more light inside, make your windows a focal point of the space and ensure they feel like an invitation to look out. Keep curtains open during the day if possible, or use window sheers to allow more light inside while still having privacy.

"If you're in the market to build [or renovate], knowing where the sun rises and sets is essential to maximizing the amount of natural light in the home," Smith says. "When you're planning window placements, have a placement strategy that will amplify the amount of natural light coming in and although this might be obvious, select large windows and glass doors."

Britt says that if you're in a space without a good view or much light, make sure to incorporate more plants and utilize mirrors to reflect those happy rays. Leaning into a lighter color palette for walls and décor can also help your space feel lighter and brighter.

Add Pops of Color

blue rug in neutral living room

Switching up the color palette of your space is a budget-friendly way to refresh your home—and make you feel better. This easy shift can help you break free from monotony and hints of playfulness can also cheer you up. "One of our favorite ways to switch up a space is to bring in a new rug. Depending on the room, we like to choose rugs with a subtle pop of color so that we can play off of those tones and bring in pillows and accessories to carry the color throughout the room," says interior designer Heather Fujikawa. "By switching out your rug, pillows, and some accessories, you can reset your color scheme and bring in seasonal prints and textures."

Across all décor categories, choose colors that make you happy and add design details that put a smile on your face. This looks different for everyone, but might look like a sunny yellow accent wall, a vintage knick-knack, or a beautiful piece of art.

Stretch Your Living Space to The Outdoors

outdoor living space with rug and couch

In addition to bringing elements of the outdoors into your home, give yourself a reason to spend more time outside by extending your living space into the yard. "If you have a patio, add comfort and luxury so you can sit and enjoy fresh air," Britt suggests. "Add a beautiful rug, comfortable seating, side tables, and even lamps to amplify your patio and introduce an outdoor living room vibe."

One of Britt's favorite outdoor details is a beautiful hanging swing (swinging helps level your sensory integration and lulls you into a feeling of serenity—which is why would loved it so much as a kid).

Create Your Own Meditation Space

sitting chair in cozy beige corner
Ekaterina Demidova / GETTY IMAGES

If space allows, designate a small space in your home for meditation. This can look as simple as an inviting chair nestled into a corner or as grand as a room dedicated to daily reflection. The idea is to have a place where you can visit routinely to reap the rewards of this calming practice.

"It's no secret that meditation and mindfulness is correlated with positive mental health improvement. Studies repeatedly show that meditation can effectively reduce stress, cortisol levels, and negative emotions like anger and fear," says Smith. "Illuminate your other senses with soft textures and a proper meditation seat that provides comfort and supports your posture." Incorporate other items that soothe you, too, such as light background music, a journal, and art.

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