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.
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.
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.
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.
This is definitely a more bold approach for abundance but it totally works!
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!
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.
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.
This yellow bathroom is another great example.
And this unexpected pop of color on the Renovation Husbands beehive!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is another example of different mirrors grouped together to create harmony.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want to add some life to your design, try incorporating flowers into the design.
Blossoming shapes and curved designs suggest growth and renewal.
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.
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.
Rachel from Banyan Bridges is the queen of playful design! Her murals never disappoint and always leave a smile on your face.
If you want this element to be a little more subtle, adding rounded furnishings and spherical designs can help to achieve this aesthetic.
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!
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