Why Decorating Your Home Is Good for Your Mental Health

Health & Wellness

I was knee-deep in a bin of organized socks when I realized I was doing it again. Rage cleaning.

When I can’t control my worries with meditation or a good SSRI (praise be), I will indulge in a night of rage cleaning—wherein I feverishly tidy every corner of my home hoping to uncover some sort of calm and peace. Sometimes I feel better. Sometimes I feel worse. It’s almost always a sign I’m not managing my stress levels. And now that I’m talking about rage cleaning, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

We all have little quirks we turn to when feeling a little (or a lot) anxious. Mine? Well, rage cleaning became the coping mechanism in my teenage years. Every time a stressor loomed, I would get into organization mode, sometimes taking it upon myself to organize my sibling’s rooms along with my parent’s kitchen. Once, I placed notes on everyone’s bedside tables outlining how we could all do our part in making mornings a little less hectic and chaotic. My parents thought it was cute (mostly because I wasn’t out getting tattoos—still a cardinal sign in their eyes). They saw and appreciated my gusto for self-improvement, but in hindsight, my propensity to improve and control myself and others came from anxiety and battered self-esteem.

It came from the expectations to win another national title; the pressure of maintaining a size zero pant size; the genuine struggles with ADHD I kept hidden from everyone. In trying to improve and control everything around me, I was just looking for an escape from the pressures of looming adulthood. Perhaps my inclination to control my surroundings was the beginning of an itch to “leave the nest,” coupled with a bit of teenage angst. Yet a little over 15 years later, home (for me) needs to be a place where the external stressors of my world are required to wait outside.

I rage clean less today because I found a new way of dealing with the chaos of the world around me, and that is… being slightly obsessed with nesting and ALL things related to interior design.

In many ways, caring for your space is a form of self-care.

Our personal spaces are the ones that set the stage for our lives. They do not require a vision board or even a Pinterest board. And while removing clutter is a huge part of caring for your space, it won’t necessarily reveal the home you NEED, just the one you might think you want. While we can’t control much of anything in this world, we can control what our spaces do for our psyche and our time spent with one another. We don’t need a picture-perfect house or designer furniture to create a haven for ourselves. In fact, if you’re feeling triggered by what you don’t have as it relates to material things, it probably means it is time go inward and explore what you may need emotionally or physically at home to feel more at peace. Easier said than done, but it’s usually what I need when I start comparing my life to someone else’s.

So what does my personal haven from the outside world look like? It’s a place where it is ok to be as messy as I’d like, to cry as loudly as I please, to indulge in frivolity without guilt. It’s the place where my kids feel like they can be 100% themselves, and can also begin to learn their own tactics for self-care—like when they need alone time or a little nook that’s all their own. It’s having that spot on the couch where we have our hard talks and good fights. It’s where everything that really matters happens. And most of it is right within our four walls.

Start with what you cherish about your life that money can’t buy. Then build your home around it.

What I’ve realized as we prepared for our 2019 remodel is this: the care I put into my space is almost always a reflection of the care I needed myself. It’s a reflection of what I’m teaching my kids about advocating for their own needs, and recognizing that my space is their space. In a way, designing my home became a subconscious way to heal during the years I was in therapy, and the way I prepared to become the best mother I could be before the babies arrived. Today, taking care of my space is just another way I show my family I love them. And really, there isn’t one style, design aesthetic, or budget that can make that happen for you. It’s much simpler than that.

And speaking of love and simple pleasures, as I am sitting here writing this—hot coffee in hand and light streaming in from the windows—this song came on:

I’ll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.
Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.
Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is done.
Such a cozy room,
The windows are illuminated by the evening sunshine through them,
Fiery gems for you, only for you.
Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard,
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy ’cause of you and our—
La, la, la

Our House, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Photo by Matt Lien for Wit & Delight

BY Kate Arends - April 5, 2019

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April 5, 2019 4:41 pm

A hippie you are not. W & D is all about consumption. Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell would be horrified by W & D and what it promotes.

April 5, 2019 9:53 pm

Love this Kate!

April 6, 2019 9:35 am

Beautiful way to look at such a mundane thing as decorating one’s home. I agree completely, a nice and comfortable home is the safe haven we all need after a bad day at work and when we feel like we need to hide from the world.

Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

April 6, 2019 11:44 am

I agree, your home should be an extension of your soul, you should feel welcomed into it. It doesnt need to have expensive furniture or extravagant decoration, simple things can create for you a place in which you can feel pleasure, peace and harmony.

April 15, 2019 10:45 pm

This is house I feel about my home, too. So beautifully said.

April 30, 2019 8:11 pm

Wow !! you sound like my wife. She start designing and cleaning up everything because it relieves her anxiety..
My wife is great at designing living spaces .
Thanks for the article..

May 10, 2019 11:42 am

I love this post! I’m very much the same way. I’ve found a lot of feng shui books really interesting because of this concept. The Holistic Home by Laura Benko is one that has really resonated with me, it talks about how certain home or decorating habits are related to specific fears and how we can look to our house for healing etc. Thanks for sharing!

May 10, 2019 8:45 pm

Hey Kate,

Thanks for sharing, it is awesome. In Indian mythology, we say our home is our third skin. It protects us, harness the energy within us, its our reflection.

Megha | CEO Crafts N Chisel

June 8, 2019 4:53 pm

I sooo relate to that!

Thank you for writing this article.

June 8, 2019 4:56 pm

Thanks for sharing !

June 11, 2019 11:42 am

I loved this post. I experienced some issues lately and I couldn’t agree more with what you since I lived it!

June 23, 2019 2:53 pm

I put into my space is almost always a reflection of the care I needed myself.

July 4, 2019 10:25 pm

I was looking for this in years and now I find you. I need this decoration to heal my soul .

July 12, 2019 2:58 am

Thanks for the helpful information you shared with everyone.

September 20, 2019 10:36 am

Such a platform where every need can be solved and with the freedom to think and understand each person according to their needs, it is also a matter of great pleasure in itself. And this happiness has no value in this world.

October 4, 2019 11:37 am

Decorating is also my kind of escape for all the stress that all the stressful situations gives me. Thanks a lot. 🙂

Reynaldo Magill
October 20, 2019 8:37 pm

Hello! By reading this message then you just proved that advertising through contact forms works! We can send your promotional message to people via their contact us form on their website. The best part of this kind of promotion is that messages sent through contact forms are automatically whitelisted. This increases the chances that your advertisement will be read. Never any PPC costs! Pay a one time fee and reach millions of people. For more information please send an email to: william4212sau@gmail.com

October 30, 2019 8:07 pm

I love the push for mental health improvement! And also the design ideas are really great too.. we always try to recommend redesign and fresh decorating to clients as something to look forward to.

November 1, 2019 4:19 am

I also love decorating our home. It relieves me from stress!

Johnny Hudspeth
November 27, 2019 1:13 am

Need to find effective online marketing that isn’t full of BS? I apologize for sending you this message on your contact form but actually that was kinda the point. We can send your ad copy to websites via their contact forms just like you’re receiving this ad right now. You can specify targets by keyword or just go with mass blasts to sites in any country you choose. So let’s assume you would like to send an ad to all the contractors in the USA, we’ll grab websites for just those and post your promo to them. Providing you’re promoting… Read more »

November 27, 2019 2:31 am

I really wanted to send a small word to say thanks to you for the fantastic points you are writing on this site.

December 15, 2019 10:02 pm

Good article.

December 15, 2019 10:03 pm

Nice info sir

Ariel Hoffnung
January 4, 2020 4:00 pm

Are you trying to find powerful advertising that delivers real results? Sorry to bug you on your contact form but actually that was kinda the point. We can send your advertising text to sites via their contact pages just like you’re getting this message right now. You can target by keyword or just do mass blasts to sites in any country you choose. So let’s assume you need to blast an ad to all the interior decorators in the US, we’ll grab websites for only those and post your advertisement to them. As long as you’re promoting some kind of… Read more »

January 15, 2020 12:40 am

This is house I feel about my home, too. So beautifully said.

January 28, 2020 10:50 am

Thanks for this. It really made me think about how I look at my space and figure out why I feel I need to match those Pinteresty/Instagram curated photos. There’s something internal that’s going on and I need to sit and figure out what that is.

March 3, 2020 8:34 pm

The idea that life can be made better by redesigning your home is not new; there’s long been a correlation between health and home.

The idea that life can be made better by redesigning your home is not new; there’s long been a correlation between health and home.

August 12, 2020 4:03 am

That why We usually say home sweet home. If we can live in a beautiful home, we can feel happy easily. great Home decor may help our brain work better and smarter.

reference: https://homeia.com/10-clever-diy-home-office-improvement-tips-to-improve-your-health/

Most-read posts:

Did you know W&D now has a resource library of  Printable Art, Templates, Freebies, and more?

take me there 

Arrow Alone

Get Our Best W&D Resources

for designing a life well-lived


Arrow Alone

the latest

Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

Hi, I'm Kate. Welcome to my happy place.











follow us on instagram @witanddelight_