Inspiration for the design of a calm and happy home

We recently talked aboutdopaminergic dressing – dress in bright, bold colors – to lift your spirits, and this week we’re talking to a therapist-turned-designer Jill Croca for inspiring tips for designing your space. “Our spaces profoundly affect our mood and well-being, albeit on a subconscious level,” Croka said. “The materials we surround ourselves with can both invigorate our senses or calm our nervous system.” From creating a sense of balance to choosing art with mood in mind, here are tips to take with you throughout May (AKA Mental Health Awareness Month) and beyond so you can design a home that reflects and inspires a calm and happy spirit.


Photo: Dane Deaner for Unsplash

Eliminate clutter, physical and emotional.

Clutter can depress you and stress you out. Things get in your way, you can’t find what you need, and you just can’t clean it all up. “Clutter stimulates the nervous system and causes stress,” says Croka. “Using systems to contain and organize creates a more functional and calming environment.” Start a new day with fewer things for a peaceful and soothing home. Donate, recycle, trade, or store anything you don’t use, want, or need to empty it out of your home *and* out of your mind.

Also consider digital decluttering (deleting old emails, storing photos and videos, deleting old files) and even clearing emotional clutter. Keep a journal of what is working well in your life and what is not. What makes you feel stressed or overwhelmed? What can you do to clear this type of clutter from your mind to free it up for more productive and satisfying experiences? Look for ways to make your life easier by organizing your space and start feeling more in control of your life.

To verify How to actually declutter your space (beyond your closet), according to the prosfor a piece-by-piece guide.

Photo: Courtesy of Jill Croka

Connect with nature, inside and out.

“Research shows nature’s signals in materials reduce your blood pressure and stress,” Croka says. “The same effect can be achieved with layered textures and soft earth tones.” bring more plantsclean windows to enhance your natural light, freshen up your linens and throw pillows to give your space a light and airy vibe.

“Focusing on window views and the landscape outside is extremely helpful for mental health,” says Croka. If you lack views and outdoor space: “Bring in layers of light with lamps, sconces, pendant lights to add warmth, while introducing plants to bring the space to life and bring the outdoors in “, she adds.

To verify 5 Quick Ways to Add Texture to Any Room.

Photo: Spacejoy for Unsplash

Create a sense of balance.

“Balance is key to any successful space, so according to the architecture of the space, balance must be achieved with materials and furniture placement to achieve the overall function of the space,” says Croka. Look for symmetry in seating and move things around to create open spaces that allow you to breathe, even if you have a small space. Pair the colors you love with neutrals so they appear in small doses of happiness.

Think about how you start your morning and spend your day. If you WFH, create an inviting workspacethat’s clean, organized, and maybe has your favorite candle nearby, words of wisdom on the wall, or just a great view. If you have rushed mornings where you run out, create a functional and beautiful entryway where you can always put your keys, bag, hat, sunglasses, etc.

To verify 14 small studio hacks to make your space HUGE.

Photo: Julia Peretiatko for Unsplash

Cut out a meditation area.

Whether it’s a reading corner or a real yoga/meditation area, find a calming center for your home that allows you to check in with yourself and take a break from social media, work, all the demands of life. Center yourself with breathing exercises or whatever motivates you so you can go through your day (or night) mentally stronger.

Photo: Courtesy of Jill Croka

Display artwork that makes you feel good.

“Art is really the final element that brings the space together and makes the house feel lived in, while providing a unique experience,” says Croka. Find art that brings you a sense of calm and/or joy. Nature-inspired prints that remind you of your happy place, typographic sentiments that inspire you, abstract prints that give you hope. “Art should be a reflection of you and your space and can be uplifting and inspiring,” says Croka.

Photo: Estee Janssens for Unsplash

DIY a vision board.

Use your home to help you set goals. Create a vision board which represents the life you want, from the career you want to build to the relationships you want to foster in your life. Having this positive view of your future can help you organize your thoughts into clear, achievable goals and maintain a sense of purpose, ultimately giving you the daily mood boost you need to feel better at home.

Find more decor inspiration on our Pinterest page!

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