How well does your family’s dwelling work for all its inhabitants? Does everyone feel truly “at home” and comfortable there? Does everyone have his/her own space?
Making sure that every member of your family feels happy at home should be a top priority. Your house is more than four walls and a roof. It’s a place where each family member should feel comfortable, and able to relax after a long day. But if you’ve just moved recently, or had a new baby, you may feel as if you still have a long way to go toward this goal.
Getting to this place has been a long process for our family. If this process is something you’re still working on, take heart. Here is a checklist to work through, step by step, to achieve a home that makes everyone happy. If you can set aside some time and mental space to chip away at it over the weekends, you’ll be well on your way as the new year begins.
This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
How to Achieve a Home that Makes Everyone Happy
1. Tidy up.
The first step to achieving a home that makes everyone happy is tidying up. And that includes getting rid of those things you no longer need.
Not the first piece of advice you were expecting? Think about it: How much time do you and members of your family waste every day when you have to go hunting for the kids’ homework, your own keys or phone, or the pair of shoes that someone has misplaced?
You’d be surprised by the huge difference a little spring cleaning (or summer, autumn, and winter cleaning) can make to the appearance of your home. And the benefits of tidying and decluttering are many:
- By saving everyone the time and frustration of hunting for lost things, everyone will be happier and less stressed. (Trust me on this one.)
- And having neater surroundings has a huge impact on everyone’s spirits, too. Reducing clutter in your surroundings can help reduce the clutter in your mind as well.
- Finally, decluttering and tidying is like lifting a huge weight off your shoulders. I cannot tell you how much lighter I feel every time I take another round of donations to our local thrift store!
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Give it a try. Creating a cleaner home, where everything has its place and you’ve let go of what you no longer need, is the first step to making you and your family happier with your surroundings at home.
2. Convert uninspiring spaces into useful ones.
Now that you’ve tidied up, you should be able to fully appreciate the available space in your house. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should simply fill the rooms with clutter again. This would defeat the purpose of tidying your home in the first place.
But you could create a happier home for the entire family by converting your sub-optimal spaces into something that works better for your family. Maybe you’ve always wanted a place to do crafts. Or your kids could benefit from a new art table or homework station. Or your spouse has always wanted a workshop.
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That spare room, finished basement, and garage are rooms that can do so much more than store excess “stuff.” But only if you let them. If you’ve decluttered thoroughly, then you should have opened up some space in these storage zones.
For example: Now that Kimmie is in fourth grade, she’s started school instrument lessons (clarinet and percussion). So we’ve set aside a nook at one end of our living room for her “music studio.” That way, she has a dedicated space to practice, where we can enjoy her music and I can help her as needed.
The sky’s the limit, though. Maybe having less clutter in your basement would give you space for an indoor playhouse for your kids. Or if they’ve outgrown that stage, perhaps you’d all enjoy a home theater. Having a gathering space like this will not only give your family an opportunity to spend more time together, but it can also be a huge draw for your kids in having their friends over.
It may sound obvious, but a small-scale conversion could go a long way towards making everyone love your home more.
3. Keep comfort in mind.
Most importantly, never forget the comfort factor if you want your family to feel happy in their own home. This is especially true if you have kids. It’s hard to feel as if you’re growing up in a museum, where all the spaces are “off limits” and “do not touch.” If you’re a new parent, this may mean a mental shift in your aesthetic, but it’s definitely worth it for the time when your kids will be small.
As one example: Sure, a leather couch looks stylish and chic. But it’s not the kind of place your little ones will want to curl up on to read a good book. Cozier, softer upholstered options (preferably in dirt-hiding shades and patterns, so you’re not afraid to let your kiddos sit on them!) is a better bet for the family living space.
Another great option, especially with the holidays coming up, is getting beanbag chairs for your kids. The girls each got one for Christmas two years ago. They LOVE them, and drag them all over the house for wherever they want to curl up.
If you’re considering this, I urge you to look for the kind with shredded memory foam inside, like Comfy Sacks. While Essie’s lavender beanbag has standard beanbag filling, Kimmie’s hot-pink one contains shredded memory foam. As you can see, Kimmie’s memory-foam beanbag is holding up much better than Essie’s. Furthermore, the girls think it’s the more comfortable of the two.
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4. Use lighting more effectively.
If you really want to ensure that your family home makes everyone happy, then use lighting to your advantage. If you think that lighting doesn’t have much to do with the overall aesthetic and comfort level of your family’s home, think again.
Light has a huge impact on our moods. Your home may be beautifully designed, perfectly styled, and laid out with every member’s special needs and spaces in mind. But if it’s poorly-lit, then these efforts will lose their impact.
Think about ways in which better lighting choices could brighten up your abode while increasing its functionality. And this doesn’t have to be all about adding in new fixtures or lamps (though you shouldn’t rule that out if you need them). Consider the role of white and light colors in your decor. Using a lot of white/lighter colors will help to reflect outside light, bringing it into your house.
Likewise, if you have a small space that you want to make seem bigger and lighter, look for a large wall mirror that can reflect light. This will automatically make the room seem bigger, and the space feel more open and less claustrophobic.
5. Once you’re there, work to maintain it!
Once you’ve reached a place where everyone feels comfortable and happy, it’s up to EVERYONE to work together to keep it that way. You probably know this already, but you need to make sure all members of your family are on board with this.
This means several things:
- Try to stay on top of your own clutter first and foremost, especially if this is not your strong suit. This is something I have always struggled with – but I know that if I let things slide, everyone else sees this as a blank check to let their own messes pile up. And pretty soon we’re back to needing to start over at Step #1 on this list!
- If there are particular problem areas where family members disagree, find a compromise that everyone can live with. For example, “horizontal clutter” on countertops drives me nuts, but is my hubby’s preferred mode of clutter. On the other hand, he can’t stand “vertical clutter” (things hanging on walls), whereas I love to tack up new shelves and artwork all the time. We stay in conversation on these things so that we respect each other’s preferences.
- And make sure your kids are doing their part, too! Even preschoolers can help with chores and take ownership for cleaning up their own messes. (They may not WANT to, but they CAN – and should.)
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What’s your top tip for making sure that your family home is a home that makes everyone happy? Let us know in the comments!
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