How satisfied are people with their home? We asked 1,000 people to find out.
As homes became offices, classrooms, restaurants and entertainment centers during the pandemic, creating a happy home became a top priority. Home improvement projects became the answer to boredom and imperfections highlighted by isolation. From changing the color of walls to knocking them down to create more space, the pandemic helped people identify what makes them happy in their home and gave them extra time to make these changes.
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So, what exactly makes people content in their home? Does design outweigh cleanliness, or is temperature the key to comfort? We surveyed more than 1,000 people, asking about their home satisfaction and the factors that contribute to it. Keep reading to learn the secret to happiness at home – it may not be what you expect.
Home Is Where the Happy Is
From clutter and paint colors to layout and location, homes significantly impacted mental health, even before the pandemic. Fortunately, being stuck inside didn’t hurt home satisfaction much: Nearly 90% of respondents said they were happy with their home, with baby boomers the most likely to report as much. However, younger generations were still pretty satisfied. Eighty-eight percent of millennials said they were satisfied with their homes, while 87.8% of Gen Xers said the same.
Across all elements, a home that felt secure and safe was the most significant factor contributing to satisfaction. Over half of our respondents also named the location of their home and having a place in their home where they can relax as contributors to their home satisfaction. On the flip-side, noise level was the top contributor to dissatisfaction, followed by their home’s size and proximity to neighbors or other homes.
Designing a Happy Home
While everyone has different tastes and dream designs for their home, most happy homeowners decorated using matching colors and patterns throughout. Mixing too many colors or patterns may be distracting or detrimental to happiness, but that doesn’t mean a white wall is the answer. In fact, interior designers warn against all-white homes and instead recommend using a hint of color to increase practicality. Still, white was the most popular color used to decorate happy homes, with 46.8% of respondents opting for it. Fortunately, neutral colors, blue and gray were also popular and likely used in conjunction with white.
Decorating happy homes doesn’t stop at the color of walls, though. Over 65% of respondents also used plants to enhance their homes while 78.8% displayed photos of friends and family. On top of personal displays, artwork was also a common addition to happy homes: 65.2% of respondents displayed artwork they either bought or were gifted, while 28.1% displayed artwork they made themselves. However, regardless of plants, artwork or family photos, the word used to describe happy homes was overwhelmingly cozy. Homes described as rustic and minimalistic were significantly less likely to be happy.
Some may associate home renovations or improvements with a hefty bill, but the price of happiness is not much more than the alternative. On average, happy homeowners and renters spent $4,475 on repairs, while dissatisfied people spent around $500 less. Similarly, people who were happy with their home spent an average of $698 on decorations, whereas those who were dissatisfied spent $338.
Finding Your Happy Place
Throughout the pandemic, cleanliness has been emphasized in terms of protecting health. But keeping rooms and homes neat and tidy are scientifically proven to also boost happiness. However, according to our findings, the number one habit of people satisfied with their home was cooking homemade meals, followed by tidying up and adhering to a daily routine. Making the bed and spending time with pets were also common habits of those satisfied with their home, while letting in fresh air and temporarily unplugging from technology were less impactful.
Considering that feeling secure and safe in their home was the most significant contributor to satisfaction, how does smart tech’s addition impact home happiness? Video doorbells may help homeowners feel safer about opening their door or help them catch porch pirates, but smart TV’s were surprisingly the device most strongly linked to home satisfaction. While 58.5% of those satisfied with their residence owned a smart home device, 52.6% had a smart TV. In contrast, 38.4% had an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, Apple TV or Chromecast, while just 29.6% reported having a smart doorbell.
Despite nearly 80% of respondents claiming their home has become happier since introducing smart devices, 63.1% of people without smart home devices said they don’t own any because they don’t need them. Just under 40% strayed from smart devices because they were too expensive, 30.1% were worried about data leaks, and 24.5% were concerned about being spied on. Of course, the pros and cons of smart technology need to be weighed against personal opinion: While additional eyes on their property may calm some homeowners, others are more worried about those extra eyes turning inward.
Happy to Help
They say home is where the heart is, but in order to make a house a home, it has to be happy. Whether it’s color choice and homemade meals or daily routines and smart devices, every homeowner defines their happiness differently. For those who aren’t sure how to personally make a happy home, our findings point to matching colors and patterns, family photos, and cooking at home as a good place to start. Keeping your home clean and clear of clutter and adding useful smart tech may also increase home satisfaction.
Whether you’re looking to make small changes or undergoing an entire renovation, Sears Home Services is here to help you create a happy home. Our experts are ready to take on any repair your home may need or help you find the improvements that will take your satisfaction to the next level. Start with a free in-home consultation or browse our other offerings by visiting us online today.
Methodology and Limitations
This study uses data from a survey of 1,010 people located in the U.S. who are financially independent, meaning they are able to pay for their bills, rent, and mortgage without outside help. Survey respondents were gathered through the Amazon Mechanical Turk survey platform where they were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 54.8% of respondents identified as male, while 45.2% identified as female. The average age of respondents was 40 years old, with a standard deviation of 11 years. Any participant incorrectly answering any attention check-question had their answers disqualified.
Please note that survey responses are self-reported and are subject to issues, such as exaggeration, recency bias, and telescoping.
Fair Use Statement
Everyone deserves to live in a home that makes them happy, especially during a pandemic. If you know someone who could benefit from our findings, feel free to share this study with them for noncommercial purposes. All we ask is that you include a link back to this page so our contributors receive proper credit.