Savoring a good life should start at home, but it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking our homes are not grand enough, clean enough or beautiful enough to celebrate them as they are.
In her recently published book, At Home With Madame Chic, Jennifer L. Scott quotes French style icon Inès de la Fressange:
"A Parisian’s apartment is her château."
These words stopped me in my tracks because they contain such possibility.
Why can’t your home be your château?
Why not do what you can to make daily life a bit grander, more exciting and more elegant?
Try one or all eight of these ideas to start doing just that. Your life—and your home—will be the richer for it.
Throw a dinner party. Pull out the good china, scatter tea lights everywhere and decorate the table with potted orchids. Invite your best friends over, cue up the music, and serve something simple but delicious.
Dishes that take all day to prepare is fabulous if you love to cook and have the time but don’t let extensive cooking keep you from having a fabulous dinner party.
Make the evening feel special by starting with champagne and ending with coffee or tea and a bite of something sweet—your guests will hardly care if the main course was a rotisserie chicken from the local market.
Enjoy art. Take time to peruse your favorite art books, listen to opera while making brunch on a Saturday morning and pencil in visits to local museums and galleries to see what’s new. Instead of going to see the latest blockbuster, see a flick at your local art house instead—or visit another kind of theater and see a play.
Wake up on the right side of the bed every day. Make a point of rising with a spirit of optimism and delight, and you may be surprised at what a difference it makes in your day.
Stretch luxuriously in bed before getting up. Then instead of reaching for your phone, reach for a glass of water with lemon or a sprig of fresh mint, and drink it while looking out the window in your home with the best view.
Make your bed while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew—and set an intention for the day ahead.
Have dessert. Chocolate cake and an apple tart are delicious, bien sur, but ripe, seasonal fruit can be just as lovely—taking the time to savor a little something after dinner can make even a weeknight feel special.
And if it’s a special occasion, stop by a favorite bakery on the way home and surprise your loved ones with a real treat.
Bounce the light around. Light has so much to do with atmosphere. Turn the lights down low in the evenings and light lots of little candles all around the house to create an enchanting mood…placing candles in front of mirrors is even better. One or two good scented candles can be delightful, but make the rest plain or you’ll give yourself a headache.
Take the time to do things just so. From the perfect pour of your morning coffee to the nightly turn-down of sheets in the evening, it often takes only a few extra seconds to make the difference between feeling rushed and feeling content.
In those few seconds (really…seconds!), you can bring your awareness to what you are doing and enjoy the simple pleasure of completing a task well.
Never apologize for your decor. It’s your home, so make it the way you like best and don’t fret about what others may think. Chances are, even if friends or relatives don’t share your taste, they will admire you for having the courage to go with what you love.
Find satisfaction in tidying up. Your home is your château—treat it that way by taking the time to tidy up after yourself throughout the day. If you find yourself resenting cleaning or tidying, try thinking of it as showing your love for this home that shelters and nourishes you.
This story originally appeared on Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. You can find it here.
More from Houzz: