How to Design Your Home to Boost Your Mood and Curb Stress

After hunkering down in your home for the last year, the importance of creating a happy retreat has never been more clear.

a person standing in a room: RyanJLane/Gettty

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“Our surroundings affect our mood, emotions, and behavior, often in ways that are below our level of awareness,” says Toby Israel, Ph.D., a design psychologist, the author of Some Place Like Home, and an expert on environments that encourage positive thinking. “The decor of spaces sends us messages — and we want those messages to be uplifting.”

Based on her research, Israel shares home design ideas that will cultivate a sense of comfort, excite optimism, and dial down the stress in your humble abode. (While you’re re-designing your home, don’t forget to craft a kitchen that encourages healthy eating.)

Create Both Solo and Social Zones

“For a healthy, happy home, you need to satisfy the range of human needs,” says Israel. On one end of the spectrum, there’s serenity and quiet; on the other end, the energy that comes from gathering with others. Building a calm, private space can simply entail a loungy floor pillow (Buy It, $37, in a cozy corner, a reading nook, or a hammock

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