How to be Happier at Home photo by DTTSP Recently, I read the book, Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin.  A project based on the pursuit of happiness, I wondered what insights the author might have on what really makes people happy at home.  "To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition" Dr. Johnson via Happier at Home.  Home is the place that you should be most comfortable, most in your element, most you.

What you choose for your home should be a natural reflection of you and your lifestyle, but this should not be an added stressor like Mrs. Rubin pointsout, "What did my choice of throw pillows reflect about my character?  Was I the kind of person who would paint a room purple?  What was my real taste?  I had no idea. My anxiety to do things 'right' sometimes made me forget what really mattered to me."

My number one thing I tell clients is to not overthink. By analyzing thousands of choices (like paint colors) and reviewing the merits of each option it often puts clients in a paralyzed position unable to move forward and make decisions.

"In a world so full of choices, when we choose deliberately among alternatives, we expend mental energy that then can't be used for other tasks." states Rubin.  "But while I'd stopped fretting about making the authentic choice of coffee table, I nevertheless recognized that a true home must suit the people who live there, by incorporating the elements important to them."

When designing a project, asking clients how they want their home to feel, what they like about their home, or what the loved about their childhood home often helps get to the core of what is important to them.  Are you a person who likes a little chaos or needs everything in its place?  Do you love the mornings or shun them in favor of the wee hours of night?  By knowing yourself better and speaking with your designer about what is important to you will bring a wonderful design experience.

The goal being not to fill your home with unwanted andpossessions, but to find objects and furniture that enrich your life and make your home your favorite place on earth.  According to research quoted in Happier at Home, "It's not goal attainment, but the process of striving after goals - that is, growth - that brings happiness."  So your home should never feel finished so much so that you can't move the furniture around, change your slipcovers seasonally, or incorporate the vintage rug you brought home from Turkey.

Rubin unearthed a thrilling discovery, "When I felt engaged with my possessions, I felt enlivened by them, and when I felt disengaged from them I felt burdened.  Because I had stuff I didn't want or need, it felt like I'd be happier with less, but it wasn't the amount of stuff, it was the engagement with that stuff."  Meaning that the items she loved and had meaning made her happier than the neglected possessions that made her guilty and overwhelmed.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, in the comments below, tell me what possessions with which you are not engaging.