Hello February. While Valentine's Day has traditionally only been welcomed by couples and grade schoolers, I've always felt strongly that the definition should be expanded to include everyone. And everything. And that includes your home. Like any good relationship, it needs to be shown a little love, too. Here are some ways to show your home that you truly care.
Buy It Flowers: If you've ever participated in The Home Cure, you know that one of Maxwell's tenets is the suggestion to buy weekly flowers for the home. Although it may seem like a chore or the use of money that's badly needed elsewhere, a few blooms can bring cheer into the house like nothing else. Pick up a bunch at the grocery store (the Trader Joe's near me is my go-to resource). Even those mixed supermarket bouquets work if you know how to use them (check out this post for thoughts on deconstructing one.). Vases can be anything from used food jars and bottles to drinking glasses. I love to have flowers on my landing strip where I can see them as I walk in and out the door (Tiny landing strip? Try these vases) that stick on the wall, a few by the bed (flowers by the bed is a great way to start the day), and a couple in the kitchen and the bathroom. And it doesn't have to be extravagant. A single bunch of flowers can be broken up into single posy arrangements.
Or Perfume: whether it's wonderful smelling organic cleansers, a great candle, a bowl of lemons or cloves bubbling away in a pot of water on the stove, a little scent can perk up your home and add that subtle extra layer that makes your home smell, well, homey. Painting your walls? A little vanilla extract mixed into your paint masks that new paint smell some people don't like and imparts a lovely aroma to your home. You can also dab a little vanilla on cotton balls and place them around the house.
Cook It Dinner: Speaking of smells, one of the best and most inviting smells in a home is the smell of food cooking. I used to have a friend who couldn't cook at all. She only served take out. But her friends didn't know for ages because one thing she could do was fry onions. She'd toss the cartons, heat up the food, arrange everything on plates, fry up some onions, sometimes toss in a little wine, and you'd walk in to her home and it was filled with this wonderful aroma. Better yet, learn some easy dishes. Cooking is one of the best ways to bring love and life into your home, especially if you share it with other people. Try this, this, this and this to get you started. Oh, and don't forget dessert. The smell of baking is another wonderful perfume for the home.
Play It Some Music: Create some playlists that you can click on when you come home. Relaxing music, music to clean by (Vacuuming is a great time to perfect your karaoke power ballad.), music to get you going in the morning. Not good at playlists? I'm a Pandora convert; all you need is few songs and it goes on for hours.
A Warm Bath: Deep cleaning your home is a wonderful way to really get to know its nooks and crannies. I'm not suggesting giving up multiple weekends, but there can be something very satisfying in focusing in on one area at a time: really clean all the windows, perhaps, or oiling your butcher block or wood furniture, shampooing your rug. It can also be great therapy for solving a problem, breaking through a creative block or meditative.
A Little Jewelry Never Hurts: Get your home something frivolous and extravagant. The key is "pretty" instead of "useful". I love a tiny balsam or lavendar pillow for the bed (and it's a great help for those toss-and-turn nights), a tiny vase, one really big coffee cup, even some pretty rocks or crystals to scatter on the coffee table.
Or a Sense of Humor: Let your playful side show in your home. I've got kids toys in places around my house where I will come upon them unexpectedly: a toy car in the medicine chest, a plastic figure in the freezer or the refrigerator, a stuffed animal helping to hold up a row of books.
Image: Bethany Nauert from Tomas & Eric's Downtown DaVinci Loft