Top 5 Mood Boosting Home Decor Tips (Gift Ideas Included!)

Hello, my joyful Plante Lifers!

Heading into the holiday season can make you feel a little manic. Your gift-giving lists are as long as your to-do lists, and in between parties and dinners, you still have to fit in your regular commitments like work, family, exercise, brushing your teeth, taking a shower…you get the picture!

So if you come home from a long day to a dark, over-cluttered or, on the flip side, a totally sterile home—that environment can have a negative psychological effect on your subconscious mind. How we organize and decorate our homes plays a big role in our sense of well-being and our emotions.

In fact, it’s even a science — neuro-architecture. Neuro-architecture is how the design of buildings, our homes, and the things in our homes affect our central nervous system.

If you’ve ever wondered why a spa lounge feels so much more relaxing and incredibly inviting than when you chill on your own couch in a bathrobe, now you know there is a method behind all the new age music, soft lighting, cucumber water and tabletop fountains.

This week, I’m serving up my Top 5 easy suggestions for creating a home environment that makes you feel happy, relaxed and ready to take on the holidays. Plus, I’m sharing some mood-boosting gift ideas.

Now, there are five areas of your noggin’ that are affected by your home environment:

  1. Sensation & Perception – What do you see, hear, smell, and touch in your home on a regular basis?

  2. Learning & Memory – How do you process and recall sensory information?

  3. Decision Making

  4. Emotion

  5. Movement – How do you navigate through your space?


Sensation & Perception

Lighting in your home is the first order of business to boost your mood. I’ve spoken before about evening rituals, like softening the lighting as your evening winds down as a great way to adapt your body to the natural flow from day to night. Try removing harsh light sources all together. Install dimmer switches for your overhead lighting. Incorporate candles or anything that will provide a soft light for your home.

This includes your smartphone. If you’re a late night texter, at least get rid of that bright blue light that interrupts your body’s nocturnal functions and keeps you awake way past your bedtime.Try using Apple’s Night Shift filter for iPhones or apps like Twilight if you have an Android phone. These apps and features automatically dim and filter your phone screen after a certain hour.

And since the holidays are also about all the holiday smells, like fresh baked cookies, pine trees, a crackling fire — make sure the scent of your home is inviting with scented candles or an oil diffuser. Then crank up the feel-good tunes as you enjoy some hot cocoa!

Gift Ideas: Candles or oil diffuser, small lamps that cast a soft glow.


Learning and Memory

I bet you didn’t know that the items in your home can affect how you store and recall sensory experience, huh? Well, according to Wimdu, a University of California study found that rounded decor encourages more brain activity compared to rooms with boxy furniture and hard lines. Curves encourage contentment, so pass on the sharp edges for softer geometry when you select key furniture pieces, like couches, headboards, desks, etc. I have a ton of plush circular cushions around my house, and it makes the atmosphere feel relaxed and clear, so it’s easier for me to focus.

Gift Ideas: Brightly colored pillows with soft fabric; vases and bowls with soft angles and smooth textures, beautiful fun colored containers.


Decision Making

You’ve probably heard of decision-fatigue — when you have to make so many choices that your brain defaults to the easiest options, like ordering takeout instead of cooking or skipping the gym to catch up on Hulu. The best way to prevent this in your home is to eliminate clutter. The more you have to look at (or look through!), the more fatigued you’ll feel.

Make things easier on yourself. Remove clutter from where you first enter your home, your desk, your kitchen counters, etc. If you’re not jazzed about cleaning, implement a weekly schedule for yourself. That way you don’t have to decide when things are too messy and what to tackle first. Plus, it will make the job feel faster by breaking it into smaller tasks over time. If my house is messy, I don’t sleep well, so I love a good Sunday cleaning round, blocking off an hour to deal with decluttering to start the week off fresh.

Don’t forget about your kitchen. You want to stock those pantry shelves neatly, so you can find what you need quickly when working on a dish (and not get sidetracked by the idea of pizza delivery). And use simple, easy kitchen tools that encourage you to cook, like a nice iron skillet. I leave mine out on my stovetop to make a home-cooked meal an easy choice at the end of a long day. I just sauté some kale and an egg and top with avocado for a quick and delicious dinner.

Gift Ideas: Iron skillet; Brightly colored mixing bowls.



What you see around your house doesn’t just affect your thoughts, it can trigger your emotions too. Humans experience a deep connection to nature and other living things, so why not bring the calming inspiration of the outdoors, indoors?

Click here for a NASA-approved list of the Nine Air-Cleaning Houseplants. (Good news for all you black thumbs, these are almost impossible to kill.) If you don’t have a room with a view, hang some posters of beautiful landscapes to reduce your stress and improve your concentration levels.

Then examine what is the focus point of your main room. Is it a TV, a fireplace, a softly lit sitting area? My TV is hidden away in an armoire, but above it, I have my surfboard, a beautiful piece of art and a Buddhist statue. So, if I am just sitting in my living room, the first thing I see sn’t my TV, but something that makes me feel really happy.

Gift ideas: Terrariums, aloe plant, photographs or beautiful wall art.



Dopamine in our brain is stimulated by how we organize our surroundings, triggering our pleasure centers and natural motivation to get $h!t done. So every so often, it’s smart to rearrange your furniture. Just keep in mind the foot traffic and how people navigate through your home. Create reachable places for people to set their drinks down when seated, with end tables or drink holders.

If you don’t have the space to rearrange, consider painting a wall a new color. Yellow is friendly. Red is passionate. Green creates a natural calm. White makes a room feel more open. If you rent, switch out your rugs or coffee table with a vibrant update instead.

Gift ideas: Feng Shui consultation

Is there something in your home that just makes you feel happy or strong or relaxed? Have you re-arranged or purged your home lately? Let me know in the comments below!

LOVE + a happy holiday home!

Moniqua is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Real Food | Real Life Expert. As the Owner and Founder of The Plante Life, she helps women (and a few good men) get their groove on through real food, self care and radical self love so they can live the kick ass, healthy, energetic lives they're meant to live.


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