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5 ways to make your home the key to a balanced life

A balanced approach to mental well-being helps us get the most out of life, and we believe that starts at home.

A home space for our headspace

When we spoke to thousands of people for our annual IKEA Life at Home Report, many of them told us their homes are not currently meeting their needs.

So, we shared the report findings with two of our IKEA experts – Monica Keaney, one of our sustainability managers, and Sietske Gerla, an interior design specialist – and asked them for their tips on achieving balance in five key areas of home life.

1. Rediscover the importance of meaningful relationships

One in five people around the world have seen friendships suffer over the past year. How can we start rebuilding our relationships, especially the casual ones that may have got left behind during the pandemic?

Sietske thinks it’s time for a little home refresh. “We have all been living in our own bubbles for so long. Maybe it’s time to change things up a bit, so we’re happy and proud to invite friends back in. It doesn’t have to be drastic - just small touches, like fresh flowers or new guest towels for the bathroom.”

2. Cultivate your relationship with nature at home

Our research revealed that nature can give people a powerful sense of belonging. But what about those who have limited outdoor space and lack the time to go exploring?

Monica loves the idea of bringing nature into our homes. “I encourage people to ‘rewild’ their homes, whether it’s by growing herbs on windowsills or creating bee-friendly backyards. Not only is it a great way to reduce stress levels but it also helps you feel like you’re part of something bigger – protecting the biodiversity of the world around you.”

The natural things you bring into your home don’t have to be living. Materials that have a strong connection to nature like wood or textiles can also have a big impact on your mental well-being.
Sietske GerlaInterior design specialist

3. Declutter your space to achieve comfort and calm

93% of people say it is important that their home provides them with a sense of comfort. What more can we do to ensure our space meets those needs? Decluttering is one simple step we can all take. But, as our experts insist, that doesn’t have to mean throwing everything out.

Sietske says: “Decluttering can be more about finding the right balance between open and closed storage. The things you enjoy looking at can be kept out in the open. Everything else can be hidden away.”

We’re all beginning to realise that simply buying more stuff is not the route to happiness. At the same time, you don’t have to get rid of everything you no longer need. Finding a new purpose for an old household object can be very rewarding.
Monica KeaneySustainability manager

4. Establish good daily routines for relaxing at home

In most countries, sleep and relaxation are seen as the two most important activities for achieving well-being. But creating time and space for them is not always easy.

Sietske thinks that making small changes to the home environment can help us reinforce our positive daily rituals. “We’re used to dressing differently for work and relaxation. So why not ‘dress’ your home differently too? Switch to mood lighting. Turn your desk into a dining table. Anything that separates relaxation from work.”

Rituals are great for helping you wind down before sleep, whether it’s listening to calming music or doing breathing exercises. So it’s important to get the conditions right for your positive daily habits. For example, make sure you have a lamp that allows you to read in bed without disturbing your partner.
Sietske GerlaInterior design specialist

5. Create the perfect conditions for self-improvement

A quarter of the people we spoke to want to spend more time exercising at home and a third want to spend more time doing personal projects and hobbies. How can we make sure we turn our good intentions into positive habits?

Sietske thinks we should be kind to ourselves and invest in home solutions that help us do what we want to do. “If you want to cook healthily,” she explains, “you need to have healthy ingredients. Likewise, if you want to get into cycling, it’s worth investing in proper storage for your bike. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to start good habits and stick to them.” The solutions do not have to be large or expensive. Think of a yoga mat to start with rather than a multipurpose home gym.

The main thing is not to bite off more than you can chew. Whether you want to do something differently at home or in your community, the key is to start small… but stay ambitious.
Monica KeaneySustainability manager

Balance restored?

We connected with more than 34,000 people around the world to learn how they felt about home and mental well-being. Read our full report for more stories and insights on achieving a balanced life at home.

Explore the IKEA Life at Home Report

Read more about life at home

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