The role of the home in our level of happiness

Posted: 7th Jun 2019

When we're looking to achieve happiness, it's been found that our homes play a more important part than our jobs or salary, research from Kingfisher, B&Q and the Happiness Research Institute, has revealed

The GoodHome Report revealed that 73 per cent of people who are happy with their homes are also happy in life, which, when you consider our homes make up 15 per cent of our total happiness, becomes less of a surprise. This makes it more important than our general health and fitness (14 per cent), and more crucial than what we earn (6 per cent) or our jobs (3 per cent).

Yet this stat makes the fact that 25 per cent of us are unhappy with our homes quite concerning.

To conduct the study, researchers spoke to 13,000 people from around Europe, as well as international experts in psychology and social science, city planning and architecture, as they looked to understand exactly how our homes and happiness levels linked.

Interestingly, the common wisdom about what makes us happy indoors will often be wrong.

While we might think otherwise, happiness isn't about tenure, how many we share with or whether we live in the city or countryside.

Instead, when it comes down to it, regardless of where we live, there are five core emotional needs driven by our home - pride, identity, comfort, safety and control. If our homes don't meet our needs, they will subsequently have a negative impact on our wellbeing.

The main one is pride - it connects to the time and energy we are willing to put in to make our place feel like a home. This has the biggest impact, accounting for 44 per cent of interior happiness, yet over a third of us think it's out of reach.

We're after a spacious home, and the outdoor space to accompany it if we can - however, this doesn't mean we’re necessarily happier in bigger houses. A study revealed that achieving a feeling of spaciousness is far more important to us than the actual size of the home, how many rooms we have, or how many people we live with. 20 per cent actually said we don't consider our homes to be spacious, without taking the size into account.

Most of us want to climb the housing ladder, but the report found that regardless of whether we own or rent, it will have little impact on our actual happiness levels. Instead, the crucial aspect is a sense of control, which links to being able to make changes if we wanted. Having a good home that can be adapted is subsequently seven times more important than whether we rent or own.

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and best-selling author of The Little Book of Hygge said: "Our research shows that often we look for happiness in the wrong places. Sometimes what we think makes us happy and what really makes us happy are not the same. The report builds on the belief that our homes shape our lives. They are where we find comfort and safety. Where we let our guard down and connect with our loved ones. In a world demanding more and more of our attention, our homes are where we can retreat and seek refuge."