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How to be Happier in Your Home

How to be Happier in Your Home

My friend Jen recently sent me a blog post by Gretchen Rubin, a writer who penned Happier at Home, a book about the steps she took to make her home a place she really loves.  She did things like “spotlight” her family’s treasured possessions and throw out a dud toaster.

The post was titled, Thirteen tips for being happy in your new home.  I love this idea (and I think this applies to any house, whether it’s new or old!).  I don’t know about you, but when I’m home all I can think about is what isn’t done yet, what doesn’t look right.  I don’t take the time to celebrate what does work in our space and all that I’ve accomplished so far.


Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects

A client’s pretty sunroom


I half blame my addiction to love for sites like Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV – I mean, I love these resources and I find some of my best ideas there.  But they can also lead us to expect perfection in our own homes.


Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projectsA client’s living room (Piles of toys are hiding behind the sofa.  Just kidding.)


Isn’t it so true that the “decorating situation” in our homes is so much more complicated and messier than the staged photos would lead you to believe?


Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projectsMy family room.  Which hasn’t looked this good since the photo shoot!


Okay, here are Gretchen Rubin’s 13 tips for being happy in your home.  New home or old, these are great tips to try:

Remember to take advantage of the features that you drew you to your home. Take time to light a fire in the fireplace, have coffee on the patio, take a bath in the beautiful tub.

Make your bed.

Be a tourist without leaving home. A tourist reads and studies, a tourist shows up, a tourist looks at things with fresh eyes.

Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.

Enjoy the good smells of home. Take a moment to appreciate the fragrance of a grapefruit or freshly laundered towels.

If something’s important to you, make a space for it in your home. Build a shrine to music, to arts and crafts, to family.

Moving to a new home is a rare opportunity to build good habits and break bad habits. Start going for a walk every morning, or quit smoking, as part of your new routine.

Always put your wallet and keys away in the same place.

Except for holiday decorations, seasonal items, and hand-me-downs that will be used in the next few years, be very wary of “storing” things. If you plan to store it away in an inaccessible place, why are you keeping it?

Every room should include something purple.

Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, ask yourself: Do we need this thing? Do we love this thing? Do we use this thing? If not, consider tossing, recycling, or donating it.

No one regrets replacing a burned-out light-bulb.

Give a warm greeting or farewell every time someone comes or goes from your home.


I have something to add to this list!  I would add “light a candle and put on some tunes”.  Just this past Saturday, as the sky grew dark outside, we made pizzas with the kids in our kitchen.  I lit a “Cinnamon Autumn” candle and my husband turned on some music.  It helped make our space so cozy and lovely, and it added up to be a memorable evening.

Don’t you think we could all use a reminder of the good things about our homes and what a good job we’ve done so far?  What would you add to this list?

Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects

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