Bring the outside in
Whatever the season, bring your outside fruit, flowers and collecting inside. A kitchen island fruit and veg bowl or an informal flower or branch bouquet can add a seasonal splash of fragrance and color.
Clean windows make a home look cared for and let the light into any space. This is key in the Upper Midwest, especially in the darkest days of the northern winter.
Since Marie Kondo came out with her KonMari Method a few years ago, we’ve all felt the need to organize everything. This becomes a burden unto itself in a way. I’ve evolved to a place of comfortable clutter, where I keep favorite items (like books), periodically reorganize and try not to get too worked up about small messes.
Change up your color
Every few years, experiment. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper will do.
I use candles, room and linen sprays, basic good cleaning with natural products, dried herbs and open windows to keep the house smelling fresh. Sand and Fog candles (women-owned!) are among my favorites. They even have a line just for pet odors.
Collect cool art
Do it! Support local artists and buy whatever grabs you. Move it around and change up the walls of your space. Michael’s has the least expensive framing—no excuses!
Gravitate toward the handmade and natural
Wool, cotton, jute, wood, stone and metal fabrics and fixtures just look different and age more organically. Check labels, but you also know them when you see them.
Like Taylor Swift, mix and match your eras and incorporate vintage finds and favorites into your spaces. One of my favorite periods is the 1920s and 30s, filled with botanicals and craftsman style. Also, things that are made well will age well—this is true of all good design. The faux French word for that is “beausage,” or “beauty in use.”
Music is your companion
During the day, I like to have classical or jazz on throughout the house. Evening music might be a variety of things, from indie rock to show tunes. Some days, you only want neighborhood ambiance through open windows. Don’t forget to be intentional about your choice of sound in your environment; it really affects your mood.
Consider a professional consult
If you aren’t happy with your little things, consider getting a feng shui consultation or working with a local designer on bigger things. Nicole Pierson of Nicole Pierson Design has the best eye in Rochester. I love her clean, thoughtful, modern designs that are also very much tied to local homes and landscapes.
Spaces are for living, not just cleaning and maintaining. Yours should reflect you and how secure and happy you are within it. Choose to read, play something on the piano or just curl up on the couch, versus the constant inventory of perfection many of us are carrying. As they say, home is where the heart is . . . and where it can relax and be itself.