When I walk into the homes of almost all of my friends, I immediately get a sense of who they are. Their spaces are personal, inviting, and joyful, all in ways that are unique to them. I think this is at the core of why we care so much about how our homes feel along with how they look.
I wanted to explore what it is exactly that makes these homes feel so delightful, both to the inhabitants and to visitors like myself. These are some of the design elements I’ve encountered that make a home feel joyful.
A frame in a poppy red. Bright pillows. Contrasting piping on a couch. Colorful homes don’t always mean colorful walls! There’s something about bold colors—even if only inserted in small pops throughout a home—that bring a particularly joyful element to any space.
Even in the most calming spaces, there is pattern. It might be subtle or through natural texture, but it’s there. Even for the minimalist, combining a bold line with a thin grid in contrasting colors brings playfulness to mind!
When it comes to artwork, whatever you pick should delight you or, at the very least, make you feel something. I think that’s the only requirement that matters in the end. Play with scale, consider the context in which you’ll view it at home, and try to avoid picking pieces like they’re solely decoration or wallpaper.
These can be anything, really. Some ideas: handmade clay pots, cool rocks, mementos from traveling, disco balls, paper mache masks, or sculptures. If you like it and wonder whether it makes sense in a room—particularly when the answer of popular opinion may be “no”—keep it there for a while. Over time, you’ll get to know if you want to keep it in the space or try styling it elsewhere in a different way.
Books are a great conversation starter and look lovely in a stack on a side table or coffee table, or thoughtfully arranged on a bookshelf. You can find interesting and cheap coffee table books at estate sales and thrift stores! Pick ones that call to your interests.
This post is the tiniest tip of the iceberg when it comes to the science behind joy and why it matters in design. If you want to dive deeper, I highly recommend reading the book Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee!
BY Kate Arends - December 15, 2022
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.