The concept of luxury at its core is what brings you comfort.
A space, piece or item that brings ease, calm and perhaps a sigh of letting go and being able to fully relax and savor the present moment. In 2013 I shared a list full of ideas exemplifying what true luxury is; the items on that list are worth exploring as we become more in tune withwhat luxurious living is. It is important to note that a fundamental element of what constitutes something as being luxurious is the effort and dedicated intention to bring your idea to fruition. In other words, you have taken the time, expended the effort, energy, investment, so that when whatever it is that has been reached (tangible or intangible), you appreciate it and will by no means toss it aside blithely for the next ‘new’ or ‘better’ model, version, trend, etc.
When it comes to decorating our homes to create luxurious living spaces, while most certainly, luxury when it comes to interior design can be expensive, it need not always be that way, and it is important to note that size – a grand, large abode doesn’t guarantee the space will be luxurious if the details are not tended to well.
To walk into a luxurious space, small or large in scale is only part of being truly luxurious; it is when you engage with the space, live in it, sit down in the chairs, sleep in the beds, pour yourself a hot cuppa, that you then discover whether or not the home is truly luxurious.
In today’s episode/post I want to tend to those simple ideas that when you tend to them can elevate the luxury in a room immediately upon a guest or yourself living in the space.
Three years ago, I began this series with a post sharing 10 Simple, Significant Decor Ideas to Add Luxurious Touches to the Home inspired by interior designer Cathy Kincaid’s new book at the time, The Well Adorned Home. And as you will discover in that list, while the simple touches may be investment decisions, they significantly elevate the luxurious presence of the room, beckoning the inhabitants to relax and stay awhile.
Part Une, 10 Simple, Significant Decor Ideas to Add Luxurious Touches to the Home, episode #260
In part two (deux) of this series, I am sharing 13 ideas that while simple are also quite affordable and don’t require a contractor or even the expert eye of an interior designer (all except #12). There is something almost impossible to describe with words but felt by our nervous system when we step into a decorated space that to our eye is luxurious, as well as to our other senses. Immediately there is a noticeable decrease in our stress levels, dopamine may even be released, and we let our guard down and sigh, exhaling a deep breath as though we are ‘home’, we are safe, comforted, we have found a place to unwind and be rejuvenated.
Let’s take a look at the list . . .
1.Start where you sleep – linen sheets
Sheets that breathe, that feel good on your skin, that enable your body to remain at a proper body temperature to hold you in a deep sleep whether it is summer or winter, say hello to linen sheets procured from flax from Belgium or northern France. Up front the price is a bit steeper than cotton, but if made well, they will last for decades. Learn more about the reasons for linen as a fabric to welcome into your bedroom here.
2. Proper Teacups & Saucers or Beautiful Coffee Mugs
Sitting and slowing down is often not part of the American lexicon of a ‘good life’, but I disagree wholeheartedly. In fact, it is partially because you are choosing to use quality coffee mugs or teacups & saucers that encourage you to slow down and savor, but as it pertains to adding a touch of luxury to your home, because a cuppa beckons to be sipped and savored, when it is using a beautiful piece of tableware, we see for ourselves the power of luxury to create more comfort in our lives. Even for your morning cup of coffee, welcome into your regular use of teacups and mugs quality and beautiful pieces. Purchase a tray that fits your decor – small or large – and use it even if, as it is often for me, just of you.
3. High quality bars of soap for the guest bathroom (and your own)
Tending to all of our senses in our homes, as shared in detail in this post, can deepen how luxurious our home feels. High quality bars of soap set next to the sink on a delicate small bone china plate creates not only a luxurious visual, but adds a subtle scent that freshens the room and serves the function of cleansing but not drying out the hands when washed.
During this past year’s Annual French Week (and the Petit Plaisir in episode #321), one of the giveaways was the classic Marseilles cubes of soap that are time-tested for a reason. The only soap I use in my bathrooms for their sustainability, style and moisturizing and cleansing qualities, Savon de Marseille soaps are inexpensive as well. Click here to learn more about where to buy them.
4. Say Yes to Monogramming
While you definitely don’t want to go overboard on this one, when thoughtfully placed in more intimate rooms or spaces in the home, monogramming elevates the intentionally of the room, communicating a space that is not accidentally thrown together, and conveys an ownership and desire to stay a while. Whether you choose to monogram your pillow shams in the primary bedroom, a robe, totes, stationery, notebooks, luggage, really anything can be monogrammed, make sure it is necessary and not garish, and this subtle detail will reveal a touch of luxury.
5. Adorn Vignettes with Candlesticks
During a recent power outage that left us in the dark for over two hours one evening, I became ever more appreciative of my candle cupboard and many candles. As well, I had candlesticks and candle holders, and when the power did return, I made a note to more thoughtfully add candlesticks to my decor. I had a few, but made sure to include at least either a candlestick or a candle holder in each room. Not wanting them to look plopped down into the decor, I did my best to incorporate them into a vignette either on a side table or a tray or on top of a table or mantle.
Having this retro detail added to your space means you will now be on a treasure hunt for candlesticks that work with your decor. Have fun searching (I saw this one from Anna + Nina Ocean Glass Candlestick and quite liked it) and in time you will have both a detail that is function and form to elevate the luxury of your home.
6. Speaking of . . . Candles with good scents
In my guest room, which I often keep the door shut at the moment (leaving Nelle fewer options of where to explore), I have on the dresser a tray and the vignette includes a French candle from a Provence candle company Rose et Marius (an item included in one of Sharon Santoni’s My Stylish French Boxes earlier this year), having recently had company, the candle was alight for a couple of hours, and now each time I open the door, the beautiful, gentle scent greets me, and I cannot help but smile.
The key is to find scents from a quality candlemaker. My predilection is for French candles won’t surprise you, and in fact, I wrote a post sharing my 9 favorite French candles, although the list is longer now and I need to update it (to add Trudon).
Rose et Marius’s candles composed inside a porcelain holder that is refillable. Multiple scents, and you can choose which you prefer and the style of the porcelain holder you would like as well. Shop here.
7. Don’t forget the Match Strikers
A handful of years ago I wrote a detailed post about the classic match striker, and while modern ones are made today, if you can snag a vintage match striker, you are in for a special treat (they tend to be a bit more pricey, but worth it). Keeping the necessity of the matches handy – i.e. next to the candle – but looking striking in their design, they complement the space rather than look out of place.
8. Choose a large piece of framed art rather than many small pieces
While it often takes time to first know what piece of art you want to place on an empty wall, saving up for a large scale, one of a kind item, takes time. However, if you can make this purchase, it will elevate the space immediately, look less cluttered, more intentional and immediately draw the eye for all the right reasons.
9. Invest in what you touch
Textures for pillows, throws, upholstered furniture that you sit in regularly, purchase well not only for aesthetics, but for your sense of touch. By mixing and matching textures – a velvet pillow placed in a wooden chair, silk with wool – what you touch, if it brings a feeling of aha, adds luxury.
10. Create vignettes, strike the right balance
A vignette can be found anywhere in your home; however, make sure where you choose to create one, the items fit the space. Whether on a console table, or upholstered ottoman, a side tea table or spare bookshelf, what you create needs to look intentional and not just a bunch of ‘items’ randomly placed together.
A handful of years ago, I wrote a detailed post sharing 8 details to tend to when styling a tray that serves as a vignette. Take these same principles and apply them to any place you want to have a vignette. David Jimenez artfully composes vignettes as showcased in the new décor book Parisian by Design and British interior designers Rita Konig and Ben Pentreath are experts in this as well. (Be sure to tune in to episode #346 as David Jimenez will be a guest on this podcast!)
11. Fresh flowers in an ‘arty’ vase
My first stage of welcoming flowers into my home was simply to use any vase I could find and afford, which left me with glass and white vases. That was absolutely fine because I was able to have fresh flowers in my home and that was a luxury in and of itself. Gradually, over many years I have begun to intentionally go treasure hunting for beautiful vases that fit the type of flowers I tend to have available either in my garden or my local Trader Joe’s, and it is the pairing of fresh blooms with an eye catching vase that creates a beautiful visual that elevates the entire space or focal area.
12. Custom Window Treatments (lose the bland blinds)
As soon as you begin to remove the blinds that while providing the necessary privacy, don’t come with a lot of style, and begin to add what suits your taste, you will immediately feel more comfortable and more relaxed in your home.
This is the one item on today’s list that requires working with an expert (unless you are an interior designer). An interior designer will have access to collections of fabric that can only be purchased wholesale or to tradespeople and not available directly to the public. As well, and more importantly, when you customize your curtains, they will fit like a glove and complement the space that is yours, and uniquely so.
Curtains for a Reading Nook, English Cottage Inspired
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13. Declutter, Layering with Intention
And perhaps the most simple luxurious touch you can add to your home is to declutter. The English cottages and country homes I gravitate toward have mastered the art of layering their homes with items that to the untrained eye may look cluttered, but when you look closely, you realize, everything is intentional, complementary and tells a story of some sort that fits the space. As I continue to be a student of this aesthetic approach, something that makes me feel right at home, the place to begin is to start with bare shelves, walls, etc. And then, begin to gradually add to them, living with each item and pairing or grouping to you have so far before you add more so that you know what you are looking for and you feel confident as to which treasure would fit the space best.
Find the catharsis in the decluttering and enjoy the excitement of the treasure hunt as you gradually create a space that is your unique sanctuary.
Slowly, but steadily our homes become our sanctuaries and that is the fun of it as well, traveling along this journey. Having recently reflected on old photographs prior to my home, Le Papillon’s customization, it is a delight to see the transformation and remember what it felt like in that space and how much more at home and comforted I feel in the space now. But it did take time and is taking time. Along the way, gradually adding the above simple luxurious touches can make powerfully positive changes. I do hope you enjoy the journey of adorning your own home. Thank you for stopping by.
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