Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


When we decorate and organize our homes, few of us give more than a passing thought to the way our choices will affect our mood and behavior in our home. Most of us simply organize and decorate based on what we like on a whim.

There are, however, entire fields of study devoted to the way our environment affects us (environmental psychology), and ways we can engineer and design our environments to change our moods and behaviors.

If you’ve ever visited a big city like New York you will likely have noticed an example of this firsthand in city parks.

When you sit down on a park bench, you’ll likely find that it isn’t the most comfortable place to sit. There’s more than just a tight budget at play here. Many engineers who plan parks use the idea of “unpleasant design.” They create benches with the intention of dissuading people from lying down  the benches by making them curved or putting arm rests in the middle of them.

In the same way that a city park can be designed to affect your behavior, your home can as well. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can better arrange and decorate your home to have a positive impact on both your mood and behavior.

Organize to your advantage

Many of us think of our homes as the opposite of work--it’s a place we relax after a long day. However, there are a number of chores and tasks you’ll complete at home that can be optimally engineered to save you time.

One simple example is to think about the placement of the items you use in the kitchen. Is your trash can far from the countertop, requiring you to constantly walk away to toss out scraps?

A good way to find out the needless extra work you’re doing around the house is to take note of how you go about your daily routine. This will give you insight into areas where you might better use your time.

Declutter for productivity

Whether you work from home frequently or you just need a quiet place to do taxes or pay bills, a home office can be a good way to avoid distraction. That is, until you fill your home office with distractions.

When organizing your office, think about the content of it. For most people, a decluttered minimalist environment is most conducive to work. Leave out the television, keep your cell phone at bay, and don’t cover your desk in papers that you’ll constantly be rearranging.

Similarly, your computer needs to be tailored to productivity as well. We all know how tempting it is to head over to Facebook or Reddit when we should be focusing on work. A good way to help break this habit is to utilize a time tracking app that lets you know when it’s time for a break. Alternatively, you can use an extension or add-on for your browser that blocks sites like Facebook during the time you specify.

Colors matter more than you think

Each room in your home serves a different purpose. The kitchen is a place of activity and conversation, the bedroom is one of relaxation, and the home office one of focus.

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the colors and brightness of the room we are in and our moods.

So, when you’re decorating a room in your home, think about the type of colors that fit how you would like to feel in that room.


Moving your old apartment furniture into a new home can be awkward and frustrating. The pieces that once filled your small studio are now dwarfed by the size of each room. It seems no matter how you arrange them nothing makes them any bigger.

This also always seems to exasperate feeling that all of your furniture is boring and drab. It’s outdated, cheap looking and not nearly up to parr with your beautiful new house.

I hear you. But this doesn’t mean you need to toss it all out to start completely from scratch. And it’s not the wisest time to seek financing for swanky new pieces after just wrapping up the house buying process. Instead, try these tips:

Start by rearranging which furniture is used in which room. Just because it has always been used in your bedroom does not mean a piece needs to stay there. Simply moving it to fit in with the decor of another room could bring it whole new life. Give it a try! I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Replace and/or remove hardware from existing pieces. This can modernize an old favorite and make a cheaper piece feel more upscale. Look for either antique pulls or some sleek new t-bar handles. You may even want to remove hardware completely to create a sleek, clean look.

Ask family and friends if they have any pieces they are looking to get rid of or swap for a piece you’re tired of but they love. Keep in mind when considering these pieces what changes can be made to them if they aren’t the perfect fit at first glance. Can they be repurposed or given a facelift?

There are few things a coat of black or white paint can’t freshen up. You may also want to consider other neutral tones like grays, browns and navy blues. If the piece has millwork consider painting it two colors to give it a drastic new look.

Give outdated finishes an update with metallic spray paint. Whichever finish you have your heart set on you will be sure to find at your local hardware store. Whether you want a new metallic tone or a bright fun color painting a piece can change it into something that feels entirely new.

Add new smaller pieces that are more affordable to add to your decor. They can distract from the pieces they’re rooming with and create a more modern, updated look. Pick up items you love from your favorite stores and keep an eye out on places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

While browsing used pieces for sale if you find a great deal keep the above tips in mind when considering to make a bid. Many times you just need to flex your imagination to find the perfect decor for you!




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