18 Simple Things That'll Make You Happier at Home

Make your home a happy place that boosts your spirits and helps you unwind.

Home is an oasis, a place for us to unwind and let go of any worries or frustration. After a long day at the office or a week of traveling, we crave its myriad comforts: The cable-knit blankets adorning couches, beckoning you to settle in and relax awhile; the Dutch oven sitting regally on the stovetop, ready to be put to use for a comforting dinner; that one favorite nook by the window where the sun casts its warm light each morning.

It's always nice to just take a step back and remember that our home is a sanctuary. When there are times that we are spending more time in our living spaces—whether working from home, staying in more, or having some much-needed downtime—there are things we can do to add joy to our daily lives, and it starts at home.

Here are 18 simple things you can do or add to your home to boost spirits and make your space feel extra cozy.

1. Burn a Candle You Love

Candle in Vintage Vessel
Etsy / FlowerDeBliss

Once you discover your favorite scent (or maybe a different one for every day of the week), buy it in bulk! It isn't called aromatherapy for nothing. Aromatherapy has been in practice for centuries, and according to WebMD, essential oils can be used for relaxation, better sleep, and reducing stress. Aside from candles, a diffuser is another option for infusing your home with mood-boosting aromas—just choose an oil for their properties, from energizing lemon to relaxing lavender.

2. Put Things Away

Clutter Free Home the closet
Laurey W. Glenn

The act of cleaning up and decluttering may not initially excite you, but it can be incredibly cathartic. Creating some new storage spaces to put items away will help with decluttering and in turn make your home a happier, less stressful place to be. If decluttering your whole home is overwhelming, try breaking it down space by space, and tackle each room, one by one, at your own pace.

3. Play Music in the Kitchen

Woman taking food out of fridge
The New Year is a great time to de-clutter, toss the junk (looking at you, half-eaten bag of kettle chips!), and organize your pantry and kitchen to set you up for clean-eating success. An organized kitchen filled with healthy foods can help you reset your diet and stick with it.Here are my must-haves to help you prepare healthy, fast, and flavorful meals this year. (You can find more nutrition tips on my blog, Appetite for Health.). PeopleImages/Getty Images

Or the garage, or office, or wherever you spend a lot of your time. Add some music to your most monotonous of tasks and they won't be dreaded anymore. Listening to podcasts is another option, follow your favorite topic—from cooking to comedy—to learn something new or just for a laugh.

4. Cook a Comforting Meal

au gratin potato casserole
Southern Living

There's no escape quite like the kitchen, and this activity reaps very tangible rewards. And when staying in, comfort food is king. If you can't boil water, or you're just new to cooking, try simpler dishes with fewer ingredients—like five-ingredient pastas or casseroles—because some of the best meals are fast and easy.

5. Take a Bubble Bath

Brunette Woman Taking Bubble Bath
andresr/Getty Images

It's time to put that bottle of lavender-scented bubble bath that's been on your counter for ages to good use by taking a long, luxurious bath. It can be hard to forget our never-ending "To Do" list, but devoting time to pamper yourself is a great way to clear your mind and reset. Taking a bath also has real health benefits, from easing joint and muscle pain, healing wounds, and decreasing stress hormones, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

6. Tend to the Garden

garden tools
GETTY IMAGES

Once you've created a beautiful indoor space, show some love to your favorite outdoor space: the garden. Working in your garden for an hour or two can help you de-stress and create another nook where you feel at peace. If you're not sure where to start, try focusing on one garden project and go from there—container gardening, edible plants, annuals, or perennials.

7. Fill Your Space with Fresh Flowers

Follow these guidelines to make tulips last in arrangements.
Choose blooms with tight petals. Open-petal blooms will have a shorter life.  Trim ½ inch off the bottom of stems, cutting them on a diagonal while underwater. Fill a vase with lukewarm water, mixed with a floral preservative packet. Switch out the water anytime it looks cloudy, or every three to four days. Tulips will lean toward light so rotate your vase every day to keep the flowers from drooping. Getty/ullstein bild

Replenish that drooping vase with your fresh garden blooms to brighten any tablescape or dark corner. To make the most of your flowers, learn how to make seasonal floral arrangements for winter, spring, summer, or fall. To preserve floral arrangements for as long as possible, check out these tips to keep cut flowers fresh, perky, and fragrant.

8. Wear Slippers

Mayberry Slippers
Anthropologie

Keep your feet cozy and glide around the house in your favorite pair of slippers. To help pick a pair (or two or three!), check out our 20 favorite comfortable slippers you can wear year-round. Once you put them on, you won't want to take them off.

9. Apply a Face Mask

Ulta Is Having a Major Skincare Sale This Month
Carol Yepes/Getty Images

A little self-care can work wonders on your mood and morale. Try a Southern Living editor-approved sheet mask, an exfoliating mask, or choose the best mask based on your skin type. Heck, make it a spa day, and deep condition your hair while you're at it.

10. Make a Stovetop Potpourri Pot

Christmas Stovetop Potpourri
Southern Living

Throw all of your soon-to-expire spices into a simmering pot that'll fill your home with a bouquet of warm fragrance. For the holidays, get the full Christmas stovetop potpourri tutorial from Southern Living's test kitchen professional Ivy Odom. Enjoy stovetop potpourri year-round, just swap out the mixture with seasonal ingredients, such as citrus and herbs in the spring or pumpkin spices and apples in the fall.

11. Wash Your Sheets

It’s Shocking How Many People Go This Long Without Washing Their Bed Sheets
Tetra Images/Getty Images

There's no feeling quite like tucking yourself into a set of freshly-washed sheets. Break out that bottle of glamorous, luxe detergent—because you're worth it. If it's time to upgrade your bedding, learn what to look for before you shop for sheets, including how to decipher thread count.

12. And While You're at It, Make Your Bed

This St. Augustine, Florida, master bedroom is the picture of romance with its wrought iron canopy bed and pomegranate accents.
Photo: Francesco Lagnese; Stylist: Elizabeth Beeler

Completing even the smallest of tasks will help you feel productive. Simply establish this as part of your routine each morning to keep your space feeling clean and organized. If you want to make your bed even more beautifully, get these pro tips on bed making that doesn't cost a lot of money but will add more polish to your bedroom.

13. Break Out the Pajama Set

Buffalo Plaid Christmas Pajams
Old Navy

Yes, we're talking about that snowflake-covered pajama set that Grandma gifted the entire family for Christmas. Just like sheets, good sleepwear is a bedtime essential, so find a great pair the whole family will love. Matching pajamas make everything better.

14. Pick Up a Book

The Good Pajamas
Getty Images/Sydney Bourne

Now is the time to say no to screen time and yes to a good read. Maybe make a dent in our list of 50 classic books everyone should read in their lifetime. Or try our modern picks of the 50 best books to read from the past 50 years.

15. Cozy Up in a Blanket

Colossal Handknit Throw Blanket
Pottery Barn

Give us all the cable knits and chunky weaves. You can never have too many throw blankets, they instantly make any room cozy and comfortable. Check out some of our favorite throw blankets to snuggle up to.

16. Open a Window

Spring Quotes / Woman sitting on a windowsill, reading a book
Getty Images

Enjoy the start of spring and let the outdoor breeze in. This may sound simple, but it's a great way to keep your space from feeling stale. While the fresh air flows through, try some deep breathing exercises for an instant mood boost, increased focus, and stress reduction. To maintain these benefits, take a few minutes every day to practice breathing exercises, says WebMD's Paige Fowler.

17. Play with Your Pets

Jack Russell with stick
1411 Greenwood StOrlando, FLThis beautiful nature park has special dog area which includes an agility course, lots of green space, doggie bags, water fountains, hoses, and benches. Malcolm MacGregor/Getty Images

There's no better time to start a game of tug-of-war with Fido, who's craving attention and activity just as much as you. And if you have a feline, they enjoy chasing—perhaps a feather on a cat fishing pole—just as much as a pup. Bonding with our pets reduces stress and improves our emotional state, and they will appreciate you even more.

18. Display Sentimental Items

Black and White Photo Gallery Wall Bedroom
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Whether it's hanging family photos or displaying that souvenir you brought back from your last vacation, showcasing decor with personal significance brings more personality into your home. Whenever you see those items, the little reminder of the person or experience they represent will bring you joy. To get started, see our guide on picture hanging and how to create a wall collage to make your walls come alive.

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