A home bursting with joy is something you can feel the instant you walk in the door. But what is it that makes a home joyful? Certainly the mood we bring with us has a bearing on our experience of home, but the spaces we inhabit also have the power to influence us. If you want to feel more joyful at home, these 10 thoughtful touches may help pave your path to joy. Bold color, fresh flowers and happy puppies straight ahead.

Contemporary Dining Room by Mandeville Canyon Designs
Mandeville Canyon Designs

1. Add a big, bold splash of color. Rich, saturated hues can have a big effect on our mood, from calming blue to heart-thumping red. If joy is what you’re after, you might want to consider a shade of orange — this hue is associated with joy, happiness and social engagement.

Eclectic Sunroom by Lindsay Goudreau
Lindsay Goudreau

2. Get in a vacation state of mind. Channel that easy, breezy summer vacation vibe with a piece of furniture, decor or even a color that reminds you of your favorite travel destination. A hammock (strung up indoors or out), ocean-blue paint or artwork featuring a scene you love make great visual reminders of a beach getaway.

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Midcentury Home Office by deasy/penner&partners

3. Be a kid again. What did you love to do when you were a kid? Whether it was building with Lego, playing pinball or making dollhouse furniture, there’s no reason you can’t pick up where you left off just because you’re all grown up. Or perhaps you’ve picked up a new fun pastime along the way that deserves a bit more space. Embrace your playful spirit with a pool table in the garage, turntables in the dining room or a backyard disc golf course.

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Transitional by Lucy Interior Design
Lucy Interior Design

4. Invite pets into your life. Pets aren’t for everyone. There’s no doubt that they take commitment, care and responsibility, not to mention a certain tolerance for fur-covered surfaces and other cleanup duties. But the rewards of pet ownership are also great: When you have a pet, you have a loyal, devoted friend for life. And they will always be happy you’re home.

If you’re ready to bring home your new companion, consider turning to local animal rescue organizations first — there are many wonderful pets out there just waiting for good homes.

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Farmhouse Shed by Virtual Access Tours
Virtual Access Tours

5. Get quirky. There used to be a cafe I loved with a large outdoor area, and every nook and cranny was filled with funky planters made from bathtubs, sinks and even toilets, all spilling over with blooms. The unusual gardening choices made visitors smile and always proved to be a good conversation starter.

Even if you don’t want to plant flowers in a bathtub, there’s something to be said for including something totally quirky somewhere in your home — it could be garden art, a grouping of family mementos in a shadow box or a found object that you couldn’t resist picking up and bringing home. These interesting details get people talking and make your home really feel like you.

Beach Style Sunroom by Caileen Designs
Caileen Designs

6. Make space for your passion projects. Whether you are working on a book, trying to practice the piano more regularly, sewing a quilt or doing something else, giving your side project a dedicated space is bound to increase your joy. And if the tools you need to practice or create are within sight, you’re more likely to spend time using them. No spare room? Even clearing away one corner to dedicate to your creative practice can be enough, so don’t let a lack of space stop you.

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Traditional Living Room by Anna Auzins Interiors Ltd.
Anna Auzins Interiors Ltd.

7. Rethink your rooms. Often when we move into a house, we automatically start using the rooms in the same way the previous inhabitants did — not because it’s necessarily what works best for us, but because we may not realize we have another option. So if you’re short on space for a passion project (see No. 6), consider whether there might be a room you could repurpose. For example, you could turn a little-used formal dining room into a library or craft room, or clean out the garage to make space for a home music studio.

Even if you’re not looking for space to use for your hobby, swapping rooms can be a fun way to shake things up at home. Swap your living room and dining room so you can dine by the fire, or switch the breakfast table for a comfy reading chair where you can sip your coffee while the morning sunlight streams in.

Eclectic by Hado Photo
Hado Photo

8. Lighten the mood. Sometimes it’s the little things that can really lift our mood. The sign shown here is actually a creative art piece found on Etsy — but imagine how fun it would be to rig up something similar around your real doorbell! Show off your sense of humor by hanging up a funny sign, installing a fairy door on a tree or baseboard, or choosing a unique door knocker.

Farmhouse by Matthew Bolt Graphic Design
Matthew Bolt Graphic Design

9. Indulge in outdoor dining. Something about eating outdoors makes any meal feel celebratory. And it doesn’t need to be grilled oysters and chilled wine — simply carrying your usual dinner plate outdoors can do the trick too. Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a petite patio, include a table and chairs so you can enjoy meals alfresco.


*article originally appeared on Houzz.com 6/7/18