What makes a house a home? And what makes that home a happy one? These are the questions the Happiness Research Institute answered in the The GoodHome Report 2019. I’ve read the report (all 40 pages) and included some of the bits that interested me the most here, if you want to read it for yourself and look into home happiness in more detail then please click here.
“73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in general, our home happiness goes hand in hand with our overall happiness as humans.“
Thousands of ordinary people people from 10 different countries were questioned, interviewed and anaylsed to figure out real peoples emotional connection to their homes and how their homes make them feel. The relationship between how happy we are with our homes and how happy we are in our lives hasnt been explored before on such a large scale and some of the results are fascinating.
“15% of our overall happiness is down to our home happiness. The third biggest percentage behind physical health and mental health, interestingly nearly 3 times more important to our overall happiness than our income.“
The research narrowed down the many feelings we have about our homes into 5 core emotions. Pride, comfort, identity, safety and control. While all five core emotions are vital to understanding how happy we feel with our home, pride was worth 44%.
“Investing time and energy into your home, to make it suit your preferences and requirements, through home improvements played a huge part in increasing peoples pride and happiness.”
Across all 10 countries , they found that 20% are unhappy with the lack of space, 9% suffer from poor air quality, 13% do not have access to green spaces, 14% report poor humidity,16% are unsatisfied with the temprature (probably 100% of the UK in this stat) and lastly 5% are subject to poor sanitation facilties.
The report goes into talking about these areas in more detail but one point that shocked me was that 72% of all children in Denmark have too much CO2 in their rooms while they sleep. Not because of high pollution, but because Denmark has focused on buildings homes with excellent insulation to bring down energy bills. Resulting in a lack of fresh air streaming through the home that is becoming a health hazard.
“50 is the magic number”
The report showed that the happiest at home were the over 50’s. First an foremost at 50 we are (on average) more likely to have found the place we want to call home for good. This ensures the feeling of settling down, which is important for a happy home. Secondly at the 50 year mark the average amount of home improvements increases significantly, this could be because the children have left home and we have more time and money to dedicate to improving our homes and at 50 you are still physically capable of doing most home improvements yourself.
Contrary to popular belief the analysis proved that life as a renter can be just as good as a home owner, as long as the rental market is well regulated. UK renters were the unhappiest of the lot, with nearly all renters aspiring to buy, compared to Germany where its nearly as common to rent as it is to own your own home.
Another myth busted in the report was the assumption having a larger home will make you happier. When in reality it is how we organise and perceive the space in our home to be much more important than the actual size or number of rooms.
So what can we do to make our homes happier?
The GoodHome report suggests
- Re-arrange space
While the actual size of our home is less important, feeling like we dont have enough space was one of the basic needs found to have the greatest impact on the happy home. Rearranging and imporving your homes to create a greater sense of space could therefore be an easy way for many of us boost happiness levels.
- Make time for change
We found that taking time to improve our homes has a positive impact on home happiness, regardless of whether we enjoy the process or not. This means investing time and energy into updating our homes and adapting them to suit our changing needs is also an investment in our happiness.
- Invite people in
Our homes are happier when we invite people in to share them with us. This increases our pride in our homes, as well as the emotional connection we feel with where we live. Both of these factors are important drivers of home happiness.
- Get green-fingered
No matter where we live, access to green space makes a big difference to our happiness levels: we found we’re significantly unhappier without it. Even if we dont have a garden or balcony, brining some greenery into our homes will improve overall wellbeing.
- Put your own stamp on it
Whether we rent or own, what matters is we identfy with our homes and feel settles there. Finding ways to add personality to where we live will create a home we feel happier with. Whether we choose a new colour wall or hang up photos of our loved ones or do a complete make-over is a personal preference, It’s all about feeling that our home expresses who we are.
If you are now feeling inspired to get out a paintbrush, replace that old sofa you hate, change your home accessories to refresh the space then visit our website www.reynoldsfurniture.co.uk and take advantage of our Autumn Event. Everything in store and online has been reduced. Or better yet visit us at 27-31 High Street, Bognor Regis