Do Home Improvements Boost Mental Health?

After the initial shock of lockdown I am sure we were not alone in looking round our home and deciding with very little else to do we might as well make some of the home and garden improvements we had failed to complete during our previous busy life.

With the beautiful weather we had we decided to start in the garden. Our lawn has never had so much care, I posted a successful plea for unwanted ceramic garden pots which allowed me to give pot-bound plants a new lease of life.

potted plants

Our severely neglected front garden got a makeover too. A long overdue clearance of a felled tree kept my husbanding his chainsaw busy for quite a while. 

Once complete with our woodshed filled to bursting (looking forward to winter open fires) I sowed a lawn using grass-seed and with help from my youngest son, created a bed which we filled with rhododendrons planted round an old tree stump which is illuminated at night.

child digging

Inspired I created a new bed under our front window and fulfilled a long time ambition of planting honeysuckle at one end and wisteria at the other. The plants are tiny but I will enjoy watching them grow.

With time to potter and water (whilst pacing myself) I recalled how much I used to love gardening before I had seven children and a chronic fatigue condition.  I won't be winning any Chelsea flower show medals any time soon but it's an improvement on what was there before.

A spell of wet and cooler weather turned our sights indoors. My husband finally finished lining and painting the walls of our conservatory which we use as a dining room. We bought a beautiful new tablecloth and placemats in a sale and a new dinner set from a supermarket.

dinner setting

We love eating out  in normal times  and it has been one of the things we have really missed during lockdown. Having a stylish table made dinner feel more of an event and certainly lifted my spirits. I was more motivated to cook nice meals which would look lovely on my new plates and dishes.

There's still more to do inside and out - I'd love to replace our ageing 80's replacement windows with traditional sash windows and I'd also like to install the stable-style door I've always wanted. 

house frontage

We'd also like to get rid of most of our ancient carpets and replace them with  hard flooring

I've also got our dingy bathroom in my sights. I did spruce it up aided by my eldest son who helped me ditch long forgotten bath bombs and almost empty shampoo bottles. Since I've swapped to mostly plastic free or refillable products now my bathroom shelf has much less clutter and the whole room feels more like a haven than a health hazard.

One thing I will take with me from our lockdown experience is the realisation that even just completing small DIY and decluttering chores can improve mental health.