• Fresh flowers. Nothing brightens or changes the mood more than fresh flowers. Usually I'll buy one or two bouquets and spread them around the house in my own arrangements.
Every Other Week:
• Cleaning service. I never really considered cleaning help, but a year ago I did a tiny bit of research and found a service that we could afford. It makes a world of difference to have someone help out with deep cleaning tasks on a regular basis. We have kids and a dog and so we started off with a weekly service, but found that every other week was sufficient.
• Nice hand soap at the bathroom and kitchen sink. When I was growing up, one of my aunts always had the prettiest most wonderfully smelling soaps in her bathroom, and I always associated her home with luxury. Looking back, I realize that she lived in a modest little townhouse in the suburbs, but little details went a long way in making it feel luxe.
Yearly (or Every Few Years):
• New towels and sheets. Depending on what kind you buy, these items may last a lot longer than a year, but changing them before they become threadbare makes a huge difference in your daily routine. Wrapping up in a plush towel after a warm shower or falling into a bed with crisp linens can make your home feel like a vacation spot.
• A good mattress. We've had our mattress for six years, and it's still the best investment we've made. It wasn't high end, but when we bought it as students it was a splurge. However, it's totally spoiled us in terms of sleeping anywhere else. Even getaways in wonderful hotels don't have the same appeal!
• A good shower head. I honestly don't know why we waited so long to replace our ridiculously low-pressure, drippy shower head. Switching it out makes everyday start off a little better.
So that's my short list. Ideally, what's yours?
Image: Living Etc.