5 Surprising Factors That Make Happier Homes

A realtor.com® article recently highlighted several new studies that reveal ways to increase happiness based on where you buy, how you renovate, and other characteristics on what makes a home happy. Among the recent findings to unlocking true happiness with home ownership:

1. Green or yellow walls: Could the color of your walls have the power to change your mood? A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam found that yellow and green walls brought about the most feelings of happiness. “Green gives a feeling of comfort and serenity, so it’s an ideal choice for a bedroom, while yellow brings out creativity and playfulness, so you might consider that tone for a playroom,” Victoria Shtainer, a real estate broker for Compass, told realtor.com®.

Read more: Serving Clients: Focus on Details (and Happiness)

2. Short commutes: Home owners prefer a shorter drive to work while long commutes have been shown to hamper contentment levels with home ownership. A study from the Office for National Statistics shows that commutes under 15 minutes make happier home owners, while over 15 minutes, commuters start to get anxious. For commutes that stretch over an hour, home owners say they’re depressed.

3. Cleanliness: Clutter creates stress, according to the UCLS Center on Everyday Lives and Families. Its study found that a “higher density” of objects in a home caused women especially to see increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Men, on the other hand, in the study did not tend to show any physical reactions from clutter. “Clutter definitely costs you both emotionally and financially,” says Dana Korey, a professional organizer. “If your rent is $2,000 a month and half of your home is filled with nonusable space, then it is effectively costing you $1,000 a month. One short-term solution is to pack this stuff into boxes and pay to have them put into storage. That way when you see the actual dollar amount every month that the clutter is costing you, you are likely to take action and unload.”

4. Pay off more of your home. Paying down a home loan can also increase home owners’ moods. Home owners without mortgages have the happiest homes, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report.

5. Get friendly with the neighbors. “Relationships with neighbors” also creates a sense of well-being with home ownership, according to the Halifax Happiest Home Report. “I’d recommend that people make it part of their routine to cultivate a sense of neighborhood,” says Grant Brenner, co-author of “Irrelationship: How We Use Dysfunctional Relationships to Hide From Intimacy.” “This is missing nowadays, especially in large urban centers where people tend to isolate from one another.”

Source: “The Scientific Secrets of What Makes a Happy Home,” realtor.com® (Nov. 19, 2015)

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