10 Ways to be Happy at Home

by hookedonhouses on March 3, 2009

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends.” -Samuel Johnson

It’s  easy to feel dissatisfied with our homes, isn’t it? To concentrate on their flaws and fantasize about the picture-perfect places we’d rather live. Today I was thinking about ways I have found over the years to be happy at home, even when it was far from ideal.

Here are 10 ways to be happy at home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any–crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your ideas!

UPDATE: Check out my follow-up post with some of my favorite reader responses: 20 MORE WAYS TO BE HAPPY AT HOME.

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The BLAH BLAH BLAHger March 3, 2009 at 11:42 pm

I love candlelight dinners!!! I also love to have fancy dinners even if no one is coming over…having a nice meal in a clean house makes my little condo feel like a real home!

The BLAH BLAH BLAHger’s last blog post..Turning Store Bought Curtains into Custom Beauties!

Ms.Tee March 3, 2009 at 11:45 pm

What a great list! I especially love #8 and #9. And candlelight is the best. :-)

Ms.Tee’s last blog post..Winter Wonderland!

Kim @ Forever Wherever March 3, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Great list of ideas Julia! I love the one about “happy colors!” Having a lot of color around me makes me feel so much better!

Heathahlee March 4, 2009 at 12:01 am

Julia, I needed this list! I need to go back and revisit why I fell in love with this house all over again! Thank you!

Heathahlee’s last blog post..More snow pictures

ida March 4, 2009 at 1:16 am

well that is the truth. a home is more then where you put you feet up and do the laundry. its where you come together like a cave and love one another threw the good times and the bad. its your ark in the middle of the sea.

julia@lookiloos.com March 4, 2009 at 1:17 am

Two words:Chaise Lounge. I have a plastic one from Walgreens, $12.99. For that one hour a year when I feel I have the time to lie down in the California sunshine with a book — now that’s nirvana!

julia@lookiloos.com’s last blog post..Chase Those Chilly Blues Away

Linda@Lime in the Coconut March 4, 2009 at 4:44 am

always have a great candle ready to burn. Not good…but great.

And fresh herbs in little pots or antique creamware…and scissors to USE them.

Lovely list!

Linda@Lime in the Coconut’s last blog post..pain meds and islands…

duchess March 4, 2009 at 7:33 am

Great advice. I think adding a cleaning lady to that list would be wonderful but that’s not in my budget so I guess it’s just me.

duchess’s last blog post..Winter’s Last Blast (I hope)

Emily@remodelingthislife March 4, 2009 at 8:01 am

I love the happy colors one! That’s my house :)

Thanks for this, Julia

Emily@remodelingthislife’s last blog post..Link Love: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Edition

Dagny @ Beautiful Living March 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

Moldings are a great tips! Great list :) I don’t know if there’s much to add, colors are on the top of my list together with moldings. Take a good bath at least once a week, and read a good book.

Dagny @ Beautiful Living’s last blog post..DIY: Eklektisk lysekrone for barnerommet (før og etter) / DIY: Eclectic chandelier for the nursery (before and after)

Denise March 4, 2009 at 8:31 am

Given the economic downturn with the housing market, many homeowners are putting aside their “more is better” aspirations. There’s creative motivation to seek ways to live “better” and more comfortably in the homes we already own. Often, it’s the simple things that make a huge difference.

Denise’s last blog post..The Geek Squad hits Seattle

Lisa March 4, 2009 at 8:39 am

We do most all of the things on the list! I even do candlelight breakfasts on the weekends. Music is a big part of our family, so that is always playing! Living in an older home (built in 1879) I am lucky enough to have all the little details like crown moldings, wood floors and all the dings and bumps from former owners (which would be considered character right? lol). I LOVE my home!

christy March 4, 2009 at 8:40 am

Ooh I love this list. I am in the process of de-cluttering now, and it feels so wonderful. We also have music on at home all day – and only turn on the tv after dinner (or during dinner if the baby is in bed already!). Great ideas. I would add – make every room in your usable. I don’t see the point of having a ‘fancy room’ – we actually use every room in our house all the time. Even the guest room – Fiona and I play in there sometimes, just for a change of scenery. Loved this post, as usual Julia!!

christy’s last blog post..Vegetarians Driving Hummers? Read on to see what I’m talking about!

Lindsay March 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

Good list! I also think that not being afraid to change something about your home is a good one. I know too many times I get scared of a project and I put it off, only later to find out it wasn’t that hard and it made a huge difference.

Lindsay’s last blog post..Teach me Tuesday: How to Buy Thrift Store Furniture

Lazy Mom Leslie March 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

Clear out as much clutter as possible, clean off the kitchen countertops, open the curtains/blinds and let in some light!

Kristin March 4, 2009 at 9:06 am

Every once in a while I buy a piece of furniture or wall accessory that just catches my eye at first sight – whether or not I have a place for it at the time. The things that make me the most happy in my home are these pieces with a great story of my impulse buy!

Kristin’s last blog post..Powder Room Inspiration

hookedonhouses March 4, 2009 at 9:13 am

I’m loving all of your ideas! I should’ve had you guys write my post for me! -Julia :-)

Heather March 4, 2009 at 9:20 am

I love folk art. I have a gigantic PEACHES sign from an old farm stand that makes me smile every time I look at it, and a four foot tall “girl” that hangs on the wall. She was the mascot (can’t remember the right word) for the Tomboy grocery store chain in St. Louis. She will be with me forever, that was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. For me, things like that I can’t live without.

Heather’s last blog post..Making new friends take a lot of time

Ramona March 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

Fantastic list! I listen to classical music all day…I call it my “house cleaning music”. When ever I hear classical tunes I feel like cleaning and organizing and all the while appreciating all I have to clean and organize! I love the fresh flowers idea…you can also snip some budding branches and bring them indoors…I think some Vivaldi and Pine~sol are in my near future…love it!


Ramona’s last blog post..Spring

Misti @ Studio M Designs March 4, 2009 at 9:49 am

I like to “borrow” things from my parents’ house. That way I have memories to grow on with my own family.

Misti @ Studio M Designs’s last blog post..Orange Floral Arrangement: Ready for Spring

We are THAT family March 4, 2009 at 10:21 am

What a great post! I’d add, Don’t follow decorating rules if it goes against following your own instinct.

We are THAT family’s last blog post..Just Send Me Your Therapy Bills

Angela March 4, 2009 at 10:48 am

Great list!! Not sure if I could add anything to that or not!

Angela’s last blog post..Poetry

AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage March 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

Love this!…especially #10. I’d only add one thing, and you really already touched on it, surround yourself with things you love – things that make you feel good.

AnNicole@OurSuburbanCottage’s last blog post..CREATING A COZY ROOM WITH VAULTED CEILINGS

SoBella Creations March 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

Love your list! I think making memories in a home makes it more pleasing. And therefore more satisfying for your everyday life.

SoBella Creations’s last blog post..Mammalicious Finds Shopping Directory

Blakely March 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

I keep on thinking I should use my wedding china just for a regular dinner one night. Just so I can say that’s not just for special occasions.

Blakely’s last blog post..Just My Luck

Suzy March 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Great list! I think I abide by almost all those rules, except for possibly the candlelight dinner. With alot of children running around it makes it hard. I might add, “paint will refresh a spaces and make you feel delightful”. I wish I could paint everyroom a new color every 18 months or so. I love hanging out in the paint chip aisle.

Suzy’s last blog post..When will Spring Come?….

sandra/tx March 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm

That’s a great list. It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s in style right now and translate that into what we don’t like about our own homes. I think we’re all going to have to be in a happy place about our homes till this economy turns around, and that’s not a bad place to be at all. :-)

sandra/tx’s last blog post..Home of the Week — Foothills Terrace

melissa March 4, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I love your list, Julia! I would say display things that have meaning to you instead of keeping them in your cedar chest. And eat on paper plates tonight so you can quickly clear it and play UNO until bedtime :)

melissa’s last blog post..tidy totes

songbirdtiff March 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

These are all wonderful reminders! I always struggle with contentment, but when I focus on the stuff I love, all the other stuff gets less noticeable.


Gennaro March 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

It’s great to also create a home that’s a living space. A place that’s functional. Not just visually pleasing. To that, I’d add a room or space that is for relaxation. A place to go to escape work or studies. A breathing room of sorts.

Gennaro’s last blog post..8 Best Chocolate Shops In NYC

Pat March 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I don’t think I would add a thing to your list Julia. It looks like you have it covered very well!!

Great post!

Pat’s last blog post..~Birds & Bees~

Jackie Whitley March 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I’m working on #2. We’ve lived here 1.5 decades & stuff happens !

Started with my closet. Didn’t realize how many pairs of black sandals I own.

desiree March 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Great post Julia. It’s so easy to get “caught up” in everything. We all need to step back and be thankful for what our homes are. I’ve got a long list of things I gotta do, and for that I’m thankful. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

desiree’s last blog post..Chase Those Chilly Blues Away

jeweledrabbit March 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Make sure to take the time every morning to enjoy your favorite hot beverage before starting your day.

Kathy :) March 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Great list Julia, my Grandmother always said anyone can have a house but it’s the little touches that make it a home, I so agree. I love a welcome mat at the front door and a pretty seasonal decoration for the front. Such an inexpensive thing to do is move things from one room into another…in difffernt spots they look like new pieces…

Loved this post,
Kathy :)

Eileen March 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Julia…great list…gratitude is everything.

Eileen’s last blog post..Favorite Weekly Quote

Shelia March 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm

Hi, and I’ve loved your list! I always love to have a scented candle burning in my entry and love some cherished memories around! I’ve been decluttering and it’s amazing how much calmer I feel in these rooms. Even where no one else can see – behind cabinet doors – but I know, and I love it!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :)

Shelia’s last blog post..My Mommy’s Absent Today

susan March 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I have found I am much happier if I work at wanting what I have rather than having what I want. I love your pictures and look forward to your posts!!

susan’s last blog post..Sweet Tea

Sonya March 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I am really enjoying that list, good reminders that we all need at times. And it WAS timely, for me, at least!

Sonya’s last blog post..Police Seek Mystery Woman

Pam March 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Great post. I love displaying things from our childhood as well as anything passed down from family members. Pam

Pam’s last blog post..Outdoor Wednesday (Sort of)

Jerri March 5, 2009 at 11:48 am

Great list, and I love the quote.

teresa March 6, 2009 at 7:52 am

I love flowers everywhere-
and it amazing how baking can make your home feel lovely on those days when it’s just not all that. :}
Thanks for you ideas

teresa’s last blog post..Living Open -A Beautiful Life goal-

leigh ann March 6, 2009 at 8:37 am

Great post!! I never turn down free items from my Mom, MIL, or grandparents. Sometimes it’s not really my taste, but the history behind each item usually wins me over, and I’ll use it anyway! And you never know if maybe it just might be the thing your kids will love when they’re adults! I LOVE your blog!!

leigh ann’s last blog post..Tablescape Thursday

Becky K. March 6, 2009 at 8:55 am

This was just the nudge I needed to get me excited about an idea I have been toying with. My Mom gave me a gorgeous burgundy tablecloth for Christmas. I have been hesitant to put it on the table…It will likely get something on it post haste. However, I am going to get it out and set my table with my Grandmother’s China. An inheritance. I can’t wait to see it all put together!

Enjoy your beautiful day!

Becky K.’s last blog post..Living Beautifully

Deidra March 6, 2009 at 10:41 am

Oh so true. I think I will print your list and tape it to my front door!

Charlotte March 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Actually I’m content with my beautful home! I enjoy bringing SPRING inside my home. The abundance of spring bulbs that surprise me everyday are like happy little presents peaking out and jumping up from under the cedar mulch. I’m always finding something pretty in which to decorate nightstands, kitchens, fireplace mantels and my foyer with fresh blooms from my garden. I love your list!

Charlotte’s last blog post..Kitchen Wisdom by Martha & Madge

Jenna @ Newlyweds March 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

So very true!! I need to appreciate what my house has to offer!

Jenna @ Newlyweds’s last blog post..We are home and I am so happy

Debbie March 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Hi Julia, great post and very true. I have turned my tv off and am trying to have fun ‘quickly’ on my one day off. I love that peaceful looking room. Very serene! Hope your day is lovely!

Debbie’s last blog post..Red Checked lamp shade

Rona March 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I love the idea of keeping fresh flowers in the house. Especially during Spring time.

Rona’s last blog post..Store Area Re-Do – Nesting Place Inspiration

Catherine March 10, 2009 at 6:19 am

Hello Julia. Love you blog and especially loved this post – it really rang true with me. So I have wrote about your post on my blog (with a link to this post). Thank you for the inspiration!

Catherine’s last blog post..A happy home

laura @ the shore house March 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Love the list and need to follow your # 2 item more. I am a cluttery mess lately.
Despite multiple donations to Sallie’s Army, too. I am really trying to divest myself of unwanted “stuff” (clothing takes up a LOT of space I could use to store my recent thrifting treasures, LOL!). What would I add…hmmm…is there a tactful way to say, “Do not let crabby neighbors bring you down.”? Maybe not. :-)

laura @ the shore house’s last blog post..I ? junque.

Sandy March 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm

My suggestion is to use your good stuff. I love having friends over and getting out all the china and crystal and other do-dads, no matter that I have to wash it all later. As I always say to people who want to put their brownie on their entree plate, “No, no, no! You’re worth the extra plate!” And on those minor holidays like Valentines, St Patty’s Day, etc, I always use the good stuff and prepare something nice for breakfast for my girls. It reminds people that they’re special.

Laura March 11, 2009 at 8:09 pm

What a lovely list! We decided a few years ago that we might as well use our real silver every darn day. I mean, why not? Sure it is a pain to wash by hand but we’re used to it now. It makes every meal special and does not go unappreciated. The set we use was my husband’s grandmothers so it reminds us of her daily as well.

Laura’s last blog post..Today I’m falling in love…

Angie April 16, 2009 at 11:44 pm

There’s not one thing I could add to the list- it’s perfect! Glad I stumbled across it at a time I needed to see it most! Thank you for posting.

Edwina- HouseAHolic July 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Great list! I’d suggest that when you’re craving change or thinking of spending money on something new to look around first; maybe re-arrange your room, change a few pictures around, dig out some once-loved bed linen. Anything that gives a freshen up but doesn’t involve bringing new things into your home or spending monet.
.-= Edwina- HouseAHolic´s last blog ..The most unusual looking house ever? =-.

Liz November 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm

What good advice for someone about to set up her own home. Yay. (I like the color advice and am feeling good about my Fiestaware choices!)

PrecisionGrace November 14, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I’m addicted to moving furniture around and re-arranging my rooms. That way every few months I feel like I’m in a new house. Sometimes the new arrangement doesn’t work but then at least I’ve tried it and it’s not bugging me any more! lol
Love all the ideas.

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