How many times have you walked into your space and felt like it was so blank, no life to it. ( or let's be honest this might be the reason you never have anyone over. I am a total nester, the type who re decorated my room growing up constantly (much to my mother's dismay) and thought of every detail. I actually put together a coffee bar in my room to feel like I was in an episode of Friends. (dork) Over the years I have ditched the espresso machine in my bedroom but I have put together some key elements that I feel really makes a space feel alive. Whether you live in a studio apartment or mansion in Beverly Hills there are some details you can add to your space to make it feel like home.
Lighting a proper candle seems like the easiest thing in the world until you come home exhausted and can barely feed yourself before crashing on the couch with a glass of wine to watch yet another Netflix series. If you actually light the candle it will transform your space dramatically and make your home feel warm.
We are totally guilty of having no photos around and making our house look like a staged catalogue. But great photos make a space feel so uniquely you, there are so many sites that where you can print your own & get them framed all in one spot. Bedside tables are a great home for these and also a gallery wall is also fabulous ( I have been “planning “ a gallery wall for years and have yet to hang a single one!)
Art & photo books are the ultimate “twofer”. You not only get to enjoy them while snuggled up on the sofa, they can also become a defacto tray, or pop of color in a sad corner. Just be careful because buying these things can get out of hand. Check out my bookcase overhaul where I had to take myself to art book rehab (isn't the first step admitting you have a problem?)
I know you are going to give me some long story about why having cloth napkins is so impractical, I will defend this to the end. Cloth napkins have to be the single most affordable way to show yourself and others that you care about the way you live. It's that extra effort that takes your home from empty and sad to personal and lovely. (I would love to know what you think of this one in the comments down below)
I do not have fresh flowers in my house everyday, however the days I do are wonderful. If I was insanely rich I would have them delivered weekly, nothing crazy just simple fresh flowers tucked here and there. Until that day I will stick to Trader Joe's, the farmers market and the occasional downtown flower market. My favorite spots to have flowers at home are: bedside table, bathroom, coffee table, dining table, home office and a single stem on my coffee tray ( yes I have a coffee tray, it might be time for one now actually)
If you have pets you understand why this one made the list. We have two dogs Baxter & Brighton and they are our babies (trust me they get more medical care and haircuts than I do) and just hearing them rush to the door or drink out of the water bowl makes our house feel alive. If you live in an a place where you cannot have pets or they are just for you I totally get it (they are a huge responsibility and considerable expense) I just had to share.
Giving your home a name is just so fun and can really make your space more personal. I have heard some awful and hilarious ones. We came up with Gingham Cottage after a trip to Big Bear where we made up our ideal lake house, it would have two jet skis wrapped in gingham with saddle brown seats. Since we found this amazing cottage in Laurel Canyon first we used the name for it. When we moved to NY for two years my friend Brian (who is brilliant at coming up with house names) picked out Gingham Place. We have all sorts of names for homes we hope to have someday but the next one is going to be Gingham Sands (Palm Springs!)
Adding house plants is such a nice touch, I never really payed attention to them until I stayed with my sister in Oakland. I realised how much they really changed the space of her rental and made it feel like home. She has reminders on her phone so she remembers to water them. I have been able to keep this pine thing alive since before christmas so please give me a gold star.
When we lived in New York we decided to invest in a Sonos wireless speaker system. It totally changed our experience living there because we would set the ocean waves on while we slept (to drown out the horrible garbage truck noises). Having music all around sets the mood immediately, I do “old lady jazz after 5 (like Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holiday) for cocktail hour. The best part is all you have to do is plug it in so taking the speakers back to LA was a cinch.
Finally we have come to an absolute must have, dimmers. Every single light in the house I don't care if it is the laundry room (if you have a laundry “room” I secretly hate you ) need a dimmer. There are so many options now, you can have wireless light bulbs, plug in dimmers, or legit wired in dimmers. If you are in a rental just see if you can have an electrician come in and install dimmers most landlords don't mind as long as they are licenced.
I do hope that reading this long list has inspired you to try one 2, or all 10 ideas. Now let the floodgates open, what did I miss? (leave a comment, I will read them and respond I promise!)