This post is sponsored by Minted, but as always, all opinions are my own.

How do you feel when you walk into your home? Do you feel happy? Or overwhelmed? Or maybe a mix of both? With all the stressors in today’s world, it’s more important than ever for our homes to be our “happy” place- the place we can recharge and feel at peace regardless of what’s going on outside of our walls! In fact, according to interior designer and conscious living expert, Christa O’Leary, “Your home either nurtures and supports you or it depletes your energy and leaves you exhausted.”

This statement is true for everyone, but especially for those of us who are sensitive, introverted homebodies. Those of us who spend loads of time at home should make even more of a conscious effort to make it a place that improves our mental health instead of worsening it. Fortunately, there are simple ways this can be done- even for those of us who are on a budget or don’t consider ourselves savvy interior decorators. It’s the little things that make all the difference!

1. Take advantage of natural lighting.

As some of you might already know, one of the main reasons my husband and I recently moved from our dreary basement apartment into our current apartment was because of the lighting. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But having a lot of natural lighting in the home is actually beneficial for productivity and overall happiness.

In a study conducted on employees working in windowless offices vs. natural light-filled offices, researchers found that those who worked in windowless offices had, “lower scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality. They also had poorer outcomes in measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances and daytime dysfunction.”

So, basically what I’m saying is… OPEN UP YOUR WINDOWS AND LET THAT SUNLIGHT IN! If you are stuck in a basement apartment or live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you can buy a light like this one to improve your mood. Also, make sure you get out and take walks as much as possible to get the amount of Vitamin D your body needs!

2. Put up inspiring prints.

While doing my research on how to improve the overall atmosphere of my home, I kept coming across the term feng shui- a term I’d heard of but never taken the time to understand. Apparently, it’s an ancient Chinese art that uses, “design elements to foster happiness and improve your mood, health, wellbeing, finances, and balance.”

Some of the main tips for making your home feng shui are to fill it with houseplants, enhance the lighting, and give your space a personal touch with family photographs and inspiring art prints.

If you’ve looked into buying prints, you’ve probably realized that most of the nicer ones are really expensive (I’m talking hundreds of dollars). Fortunately, I found an online shop called Minted that’s full of the best prints for a fraction of the cost. It was really hard to choose between all of the great prints on there, but I eventually chose the beautiful print shown below and the cactus print shown in the other pictures.

I also love that each print on Minted has been created by an independent artist. I love supporting independent artists and business owners, so it was just another reason to feel good about my purchases!

While sifting through each print trying to decide which ones to purchase, I kept asking myself, How does this print make me feel? and Does it bring me peace and happiness? I went with the French building print because it reminded me of my amazing travels to Europe and the cactus print because it reminds me of my hometown, San Diego. There’s sure to be at least a few prints on there that will stir up positive emotions in you!

PRO TIP: Minted prints are extremely affordable but the frames are little more pricey. Their frames look great, but if you can’t afford to have your prints framed by Minted, you can grab a frame from Home Goods, Ross, etc.

3. Decorate with colors that bring you peace and comfort.

Colors contribute to your feelings of peace, happiness, and comfort. While you’ve most likely already heard about that, oddly enough very few of us actually take colors and their psychological effects into consideration when decorating.

While browsing through the prints on Minted, I tried my best to keep colors in mind. Colors shouldn’t just be kept in mind for art prints, though. They should be kept in mind when choosing wall colors, furniture, and decorations! What kind of feelings do you want to have when you step into your home or into a certain room?

It’s important to note that the shades of each color also invoke different emotions/feelings. But generally, including shades of blue will help create a feeling of refreshing calm. Green shades give off a nature “vibe”, which will produce a feeling of calm, relaxation, and harmony. Yellow promotes a feeling of happiness. The list goes on- you get the point! The fun part is that you get to decide what kind of feeling you want in your home and decorate accordingly!

4. It’s all about positive vibes.

I feel odd listing “positive vibes” as one of my tips (especially since it’s the quote on my 13-year-old sister’s phone case) but this way oversaid cliche is actually extremely important. Including items in your home that remind you of positive experiences you’ve had or simply bring a smile to your face will literally give your space, “positive vibes”- the positive feelings you get from someone or something.

For example, I like having this large photo from our wedding next to my Minted prints because it reminds me of one of the happiest days of our lives. Displaying something you bought on a trip that you have fond memories from or a picture that reminds you of a positive experience are great ways you could increase the “positive vibes” in your home!

5. Do the dishes the night before.

Seeing a sink full of dishes is the leading cause for bad moods in my house- well, at least for me. My husband doesn’t mind dirty dishes in the sink quite as much as I do. But for me, waking up to a sink full of dishes starts my day off on a negative foot! It means that in the midst of a million other things on my “to-do” list, taking the time to wash the dishes is added to the list. And it always stays in the back of mind until it’s done.

Have you ever noticed that you’re not quite as bothered by your house being a total mess, as long as the dishes are done? Getting those dishes washed the night before will alleviate some of that morning stress. You’ll feel at least a little bit ahead of schedule just by having them already done. And it having those dirty dishes out of the sink will definitely improve the overall atmosphere of your home!

6. Decrease clutter.

According to this article, there are a lot of costs to clutter. Clutter contributes to lost time (because you spend more time searching for things) and lost money (because you’re more prone to losing bills, checks, etc.). But the worst toll clutter takes in our lives is increasing our stress levels.

If you’re wanting your home to feel calm and peaceful, having clutter is going to create the opposite effect. Clutter increases feelings of overwhelm, frustration, exhaustion, and overall stress. If those feelings aren’t what you’re striving for (uh, and I’d hope they’re not!), I highly recommend taking some time to declutter and organize. The simple act of organizing can also decrease stress, so you’ll be getting a two-for-one stress-relief deal!