Belfast Telegraph

How to create a happy home

Does your home make you happy? Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau knows a thing or two about that.

She's just written a book on the topic – Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colourful Life (£25, Jacqui Small). She shares some of her excellent cheap-as-chips tips for lifting your pad's mood here – just what we need as we will the last of winter away…

Searching questions

"Moving house forces you to refocus," says Guéniau, "but if you stay in the same home, make sure it still works well for you." She suggests asking questions such as: does it allow you to be you? Does it give space for your family? Is anything bothering your eye? Does it match your life at the moment?

Go figure

"Colour can put a smile on your face," she says, "but so can mixing kitsch souvenirs or your children's clay figurines or plastic toys with beautiful heirloom pieces and things with a story. If you have a more traditional style, stick to one or two items – arrange them in little tableaux or place singly around your house."

Out of focus

This tactic, adds Guéniau, "will also divert attention from other areas. Which is sometimes a good thing."

The nature of the beast

"Animals always inspire affection: include them as prints on fabrics and as small ornaments."

Blanket expression

"A tired old sofa can shine in a few new quilts and blankets packed neatly around the seats and back."

Think twig

"Look for branches in the shape of letters when you go for a walk in the woods," suggests Guéniau. "Then fix them to the wall to spell out nice messages."

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at

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