Unlock the happiness in your home: We talk to three home improvement rising stars about how to make your pad a feel-good place

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Unlock the happiness in your home: We talk to three home improvement rising stars about how to make your pad a feel-good place



Nothing beats the feeling of making a home your own.
From adding a greenhouse-worth of plants to our windowsills or a fresh coat of paint in the living room, everyone enjoys a sense of pride when you stamp your personality on your own place.
And according to the new GoodHome Report, a major Europe-wide study of over 13,000 people into how our properties impact our wellbeing commissioned by B&Q in partnership with the Happiness Research Institute, it emerged that our homes are significantly more important to our happiness than our income or even our jobs.
However, is this true for millennials? We speak to three home improvers who certainly believe so. In B&Q’s first Home Improvement Rising Star of the Year competition, launched to celebrate the retailer’s 50th anniversary, this trio of room re-vampers worked on creating a space that represented their personal style – and showed off their practical home improvement skills.
So, who won? Our judges – architectural and design historian and broadcaster, Tom Dyckhoff, B&Q Category Director, Surface and Décor, Iain McColgan, and Metro Home Editor, Liz Burcher – had the final say… but which room do you vibe off the most?
Project Manager Karl from Manchester

Finalist Karl Dixon used his practical home improvement skills to create a room inspired by B&Q’s 50th anniversary (pictured above)What was your vision for the competition challenge? 
I wanted to mark B&Q’s 50th anniversary and tried to incorporate 50 into the space. Something or someone hitting 50 years is a massive achievement, so this space is for people to relax in and think about the past 50 years, then also think about what the future 50 years has in store. I feel the area I created was modern, tailored and clean.
What first got you into home improvement?
I bought a derelict house as I wanted a challenge! It was crazy; I had to gut the entire thing. Visually, I am OK with that, but manually, I had never done anything like it before.
So, when I bought this house I was like, ‘What have I done? What have I got myself into?’ Over two years, I learned the skills as I went. I literally had no clue, so just looked at guides and videos on B&Q’s YouTube channel.
How did it feel when you completed your home renovation?
I wanted to take on the challenge and it made me feel proud to know that I’ve basically rebuilt my own house.
It’s so rewarding, especially when people come round and say: “This is lovely.” I’m so proud of it – it’s my dream home and it’s somewhere I can relax and entertain, and it’s where I want to see my family grow up.

Happy home, happy life: GoodHome Report top tip…

Invite people in
Just like Karl, most of us are happier when we invite people over to share our homes with us. The GoodHome Report found that this increases pride in our pads, as well as boosting the emotional connection we feel with where we live.

In his competition room set up, Karl showcased a range of skills from painting to building furniture (final room set up above)Home improvement skills demonstrated:

Primary School Teacher Lisa from Wolverhampton 
 

Primary school teacher Lisa decided to use her love of colour and crafts in her competition room set up, which had a Secret Garden theme (above) (Disclaimer: This image features a mock set design which demonstrates the entrant’s DIY skillset for the purposes of the competition. Readers are advised to consider recommended safety requirements when decorating a nursery)What was your thinking process behind your competition set? 
My inspiration for this baby’s bedroom was not only the symbol of new life, but also the idea of bringing the outdoors in with the Secret Garden. As I chose my products, I wanted to incorporate the beauty of nature and its vivid colour palette. I dreamed of surrounding the baby with symbols of love and joy, such as the hummingbirds, and growth through the plants and flower prints. Ultimately, I intended to construct a room filled with happiness and love, which it was certainly created with!
What makes a great room for you?
It has to be something colourful and uplifting – I like to think that I may live in Wolverhampton, but my lounge feels like it could be anywhere!
I think sometimes people are scared of colour, but I love the idea of colour contrasting – like the quaint holiday streets of Spain or Portugal – and introduced this to my competition set-up.
Do you think a home can boost your personal happiness?
Yes! The way you choose colours can leave such a lasting, positive impact on you. I think the way we decorate our homes has a huge effect on the way we feel. I love the way people feel when they visit my house and I like to have objects around me that make me feel happy.

Lisa’s room featured her own paintings, love of bright colours and a simple backdrop (Disclaimer: This image features a mock set design which demonstrates the entrant’s DIY skillset for the purposes of the competition. Readers are advised to consider recommended safety requirements when decorating a nursery)

Happy home, happy life: GoodHome Report top tip…

Put your own stamp on it
Whether we rent or own, finding ways to add your personality – from painting a wall to hanging a picture of our loved ones just like Lisa has done in her own home and competition set up – will make our homes a little happier (and more interesting!).

Home improvement skills demonstrated:

Student Sumaiyyah from East London

Student Sumaiyyah rocked Scandi-chic in her competition room, combining cool, modernist furniture from B&Q with pops of colourWhat was your vision for the competition?
I decided to use the space assigned to design a living room. I went for my go-to look, which is inspired by Scandinavian interior design; portrayed through its minimalism, functionality and beauty.
The finishing product was a beautiful, open, fresh, inviting living room. Using a combination of the right B&Q products, an eye for detail and a flair for design, I was able to create the perfect living room, whilst staying within a budget and prioritising functionality.
Why is creating your own space so important to you? 
As I still live at home with a large family, having my own space is so important. I actually came back from uni to find my sister had stolen my room! So, my first home improvement experience was changing the spare room into my own oasis.
Do you think it has an impact on your happiness?
Yes! What I really love about interiors and home improvement is that the small changes can make a massive difference.
But what I really think is that your outer space and surroundings have a huge impact on your inner space – your mental and emotional space. So, if you have a clear, fresh room and home, I believe you have a clear, fresh mind.

Happy home, happy life: GoodHome Report top tip…

Make time for change
The GoodHome Report found that investing time and energy into updating where we live and adapting them to our changing needs is an investment in our happiness, the same way Sumaiyyah made an area of her family home her own.

She proved her skills by building flatpack furniture, hanging mirrors and paintings and painting her backdrop – but was it enough to win?Home improvement skills demonstrated:

And the winner of B&Q’s Home Improvement Rising Star of the Year competition is…

… LISA! 

Primary school teacher Lisa has the honour of being named the first ever B&Q Home Improvement Rising Star of the Year.
Here’s what our three judges – architectural and design historian and broadcaster, Tom Dyckhoff, B&Q Category Director, Surface and Décor, Iain McColgan, and Metro Home Editor, Liz Burcher – thought…
Tom: There are a lot of elements in the room, which is great. It’s great to see a kid’s room so joyful and full of colour and interest. I like how Lisa demonstrated some key skills, rather than simply styling a room.
Liz: Whether you own your house or you rent it, it would be possible to use Lisa’s ideas as inspiration. Fabulous – and, for me, an absolute clear winner.
Iain: Loving that the inspirational trigger was in symbolising a new life. A great choice of catalyst to drive anyone to do their very best.
Do you want to unlock the happiness in your home? If you want to feel proud of your personal space like our three finalists, head online to B&Q or read more findings from the GoodHome Report here. Co-authored by Meik Wiking, who wrote best-seller The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, it offers advice and tips on how taking pride in your house can make you happier.
Watch Meik’s video in full HERE or head to B&Q online for further inspiration on how you can put a positive stamp on your pad.

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