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10 Aesthetics of Joy | How to Create a Joyful Home

If you have followed me for a while, you know my love for the book Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee. I passionately believe that everyone should live in a home that gives them energy every day and brings them joy. This book has helped me to understand how simple design choices can brighten our moods.

Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee | Building Bluebird
Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

In the book, the author researches what brings us joy in life and came up with 10 different aesthetics. I am sharing these 10 aesthetics today and included examples of how each one can be used in your own home.

Our world becomes layered. It contains joy that can be seen and others that lie just below the surface of everyday life; and with each joy we uncover, we are reminded that we are the architects of our own delight, the makers of our own luck.

Ingrid Fetell Lee

10 Aesthetics of Joy


Color gives us energy. Adding pops of color and light into your home will make it feel more vibrant and lively. I love learning about this aesthetic because color can be scary! We often go the safe route and choose neutral colors like whites and grays. Adding a punch of color can draw energy into your space.

Designing for joy by adding bright colors | Building Bluebird
Source :: Studio DIY

I love the bright colors that Clark + Aldine used in their boy’s bedroom. Children’s bedrooms are a great place to try out bold colors on the wall or ceiling.

Bright colors bring energy and joy into a space | Building BLuebird
Source :: Clark + Aldine
Shavandas bright and colorful kitchen is full of energy | Building Bluebird
Source :: S Gardner Style via Instagram
Carmeon Hamilton uses bright colors to bring energy to a space | Building Bluebird
Source :: Carmeon Hamilton via Instagram


Have you ever noticed that adding a few textures into a room can make it feel better? A room without pattern or texture can feel boring and bland. If you have a space that feels bare, try adding a repeating pattern with pillows or a throw blanket. The variety of textures and patterns is naturally stimulating and adds joy when done correctly.

I love the unique pattern of this backsplash! Construction 2 Style did a fantastic job of creating a pattern with lots of variation in this backsplash.

Varying textures and patterns bring us joy | Building Bluebird
Source :: Construction 2 Style

This is definitely a more bold approach for abundance but it totally works!

Varying textures and patterns are a part of the abundance aesthetic | Building Bluebird
Source :: Rowans Rainbow
Mixing and matching patterns and colors creates a sense of abundance in design | Building Bluebird
Source :: Speaking of DIY via Instagram


I see the aesthetic everywhere right now! Spending time outdoors is imperative for our happiness. It is no surprise that bringing the outdoors in will bring us joy. If your space has a lot of natural light from windows, showcase that view and bring the light in!

Wendys sunroom let's the light in and the plants create a sense of freedom | Building Bluebird
Source :: The K Wendy Home
Hilton Carter adds plants and floor to ceiling windows in his sunroom | Building Bluebird
Source :: Hilton Carter via Instagram

Adding in natural elements and colors found outdoors will bring joy to your design. In a more extreme case, if your space is windowless and dark, add in bright light (look for 2,700-3,000 kelvin LED light bulbs), pull in natural colors and plans from the outdoors, and don’t fill the room with too many things.

Mandy from Vintage Revivals is the plant queen and creates designs that reflect the freedom aesthetic well.

Bringing the outdoors in will make us happier | Building Bluebird
Source :: Vintage Revivals


Everyone loves a little surprise! Consider adding something unexpected into your design to delight your guests or yourself every day! Adding a bold and unexpected wallpaper to a bathroom is a fun way to incorporate this element into your home. Another idea is adding a fun design to a closet with wallpaper or bright paint color.

I absolutely love this bold half bathroom designed by Studio Laloc.

Lauren adds bold wallpaper and paint to her half bathroom | Building Bluebird
Source :: Studio Laloc

This yellow bathroom is another great example.

Ciara adds a bold pop of color to her bathroom | Building Bluebird
Source :: Ciara Kenaston

And this unexpected pop of color on the Renovation Husbands beehive!

The Renovation Husbands painted their beehive bright colors for a fun element of surprise | Building Bluebird
Source :: Renovation Husbands

The half bathroom in our new home is covered in quirky wallpaper from the 1960s. We will keep it for a while because it adds a fun element of surprise when guests are over.


Symmetry and patterns create harmony in a room. Have you ever walked into a room where something like a table is off-center? I am guessing it was distracting and probably bothered you. We feel happier when a room feels balanced and everything is in its place.

The repeating striped pattern in this half bathroom creates harmony.

Victorias repeating patterns in the bathroom create harmony | Building Bluebird
Source :: Prepford Wife

There is something about Heidi Caillier’s designs that draw me in every time. Her design and photography by Haris Kenjar always have harmony. Everything in the shot feels just right.

Heidi Cailliers designs have perfect harmony in a room | Building Bluebird
Source :: Heidi Caillier | Photography by Haris Kenjar

In our dining room, the chandelier was centered in the room but was off-center from the door opening. Because the table would be placed in the center of the walkway, I moved the chandelier to be centered above the table instead of the room. This made the room feel much more balanced.

Centering items in a space brings harmony to the room | Building Bluebird
Dining Room Makeover

Grouping like items together creates a sense of harmony. Ashley from At Home with Ashley groups together plates on a wall to create harmony. The placement of these plates outside fits the surprise aesthetic as well.

Ashley's plate collection creates harmony on the wall | Building Bluebird
Source :: At Home with Ashley via Instagram

Here is another example of different mirrors grouped together to create harmony.

Gwens mirror collection creates harmony when they are grouped together | Building Bluebird
Source :: The Makerista


Have you ever wondered why we are so attracted to vaulted ceilings and open entryways? Everything that draws our eyes up will bring us joy. We reference this with our speech when we say phrases like, “being on cloud 9” and “things are looking up”.

Sherry and John of Young House Love painted their living room ceiling blue.

Young House Love paints their ceiling blue to draw your eyes upward | Building Bluebird
Source :: Young House Love

When we speak negatively it is often reflected downward with phrases like “she fell ill” and “I was feeling down”. Think about how you may be able to draw the eyes up with light fixtures, beams, or even wallpaper on the ceiling.

Designing for joy with vaulted ceilings | Building Bluebird
Source :: Chris Loves Julia
Designing for joy with vaulted ceilings | Building Bluebird
Source :: Studio McGee
Jewel Marlow draws your eye up with wallpaper on the ceiling | Building Bluebird
Source :: Jeweled Interiors


The aesthetic of magic is similar to surprise but it focuses more on reflective materials. For my married ladies out there, have you ever been going about your business and then this sparkly pattern of light catches your attention? When light hits a diamond ring, it creates a pattern of light confetti on a wall and it is always a fun and unexpected surprise.

Some people will put a disco ball in the path of the sun to get this reflective pattern in a room or they will hang a prism in the window to get a rainbow light beam.

At Charlottes house uses reflections, bright colors and collections to create a joyful space | Building Bluebird
Source :: At Charlottes House
Reflecting light brings joy with the feeling of magic | Building Bluebird
Source :: Arrows and Bow

There is an amazing exhibit happening at our local museum right now and it is all the rage. The Fireflies on Water exhibit is a magical experience. Guests enter a dark room with mirrors and thousands of tiny hanging lights.

Fireflies on the Water art exhibit | Building Bluebird #magic
Toledo Museum Exhibit: Yayoi Kusama: Fireflies on the Water


If your home is feeling lonely and dull, add some celebration elements into the design! Shapes that mimic starbursts and fireworks remind you of celebrations and fun. Designing a room with a party and celebration in mind will unconsciously remind you that others would enjoy this space as well.

Starburst and firework shapes create a celebratory feel with design | Building Bluebird
Source :: Rivers Spencer via Instagram
Starburst shapes create a celebratory feel with design | Building Bluebird #jeanstofferdesign
Source :: Jean Stoffer Design via Instagram


If you want to add some life to your design, try incorporating flowers into the design.

Blossoms and curved shapes bring joy to the design of this space | Building Bluebird #avalanchedesignco
Source :: Avalanche Design Co via Instagram

Blossoming shapes and curved designs suggest growth and renewal.

Blossoms and curved shapes bring joy to the design of this space | Building Bluebird
Source :: Sheffield Interiors via Instagram

I love the floral design trends right now, like the image below. The bedroom has many curves and soft shapes in the room that help to set the mood in the room.

Blossoms and curved shapes bring joy to the design of this space | Building Bluebird
Source :: Ellie Cashman Design


If you want to add play to your design, think like a child! I seeing rock-climbing walls and swings in a design. These elements are fun and often unexpected.

Add playful elements to your home design through colorful murals and spherical objects | Building Bluebird
Source :: Construction 2 Style

Rachel from Banyan Bridges is the queen of playful design! Her murals never disappoint and always leave a smile on your face.

Include wall murals in your design to bring joy to your home | Building Bluebird #banyanbridges
Source :: Banyan Bridges via Instagram

If you want this element to be a little more subtle, adding rounded furnishings and spherical designs can help to achieve this aesthetic.

Creating a joyful home with the 10 aesthetics of Joy | Building Bluebird #design #jhinteriors
Source :: JH Interiors

Ashley from Arrows and Bow brings in many different aesthetics of joy with her designs. The swings bring in play, the disco ball reflection is magic, the high ceilings is transcendence. Her designs are always very joyful and you can see she falls into multiple categories with all of her images!

Creating a joyful home with the 10 aesthetics of Joy | Building Bluebird #design #arrowsandbow
Source :: Arrows and Bow via Instagram

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How to use the 10 aesthetics of joy to design a more joyful home | Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee recap
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