The holiday season can be a good time to reflect on our blessings, and at my house, this spirit of appreciation starts during Thanksgiving, when everyone around the table says what he or she is thankful for. Often, people say family, friends and, of course, the good food we are about to eat. Beyond those good things, this year my mind is turning to what I’m thankful for about my home.
As someone who helps people improve their homes — and ultimately, their lives — I thought about several small changes I made to my home this year that made everyday living a bit more enjoyable. From practical necessities to comfortable indulgences, here are 10 things around my house that I’m thankful for this year.
1. Delicious-Smelling Hand Soap
When I was younger and had the luxury of time, I enjoyed choosing the perfect-smelling hand soap for my home from a local apothecary. Now I struggle to find the time even to order something all-natural and antibacterial online.
But this year I decided to reinstate my previous indulgence, albeit in a way that works for my life now: I started ordering the yummy-smelling hand soaps I used to love. I may not have the time to go to the local soap shop, but I can certainly still have delightfully fragrant soap. I now look forward to washing my hands, and the lingering, beautiful scent is once again a pleasure for me.
2. Plush White Towels
A year ago I decided that all my towels had to be white. It was a practical decision. White towels, for the most part, match any bathroom or powder room decor. And when all my towels (hand, bath, washcloth) are the same color, they’re easier to coordinate, especially when I switch out one of the towels before laundry day. I also invested in thicker towels this year. So yep, I’m definitely grateful for my plush white towels!
3. An Organized Linen Closet
Earlier this year I had a battle with my linen closet, in which it seemed to be hiding the matching pillowcase for one of my sheet sets. In fact, this was a recurring frustration. I finally put an end to the irritation by purchasing several storage baskets and placing each bed ensemble in its own basket. Now every time I open my linen closet, it’s a peaceful encounter. Thank you, storage baskets!
4. A Comfortable Bed
Since I was a little girl, I have taken pride in my neat, pretty and comfortable bed. Not much has changed. On a daily basis I look forward to crawling between my crisp sheets and laying my head on the soft pillows. It’s something we might take for granted, but after a long day, having a comfortable bed to rest in makes any challenge I’ve faced a bit easier and helps me recharge for the next day. It’s one of the most cherished places in my home that I’m consistently thankful for.
5. A Dark Charcoal Wall
A dark charcoal wall can make a beautiful statement in any room. It’s a signature color I use as a designer in many of my clients’ rooms, and that I also love in my own home. This year my family and I painted one of our kitchen walls in Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal. I added white marble shelves and styled each shelf with glass and gold accents. It’s inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen and even get a little more creative with my cooking — something my family is definitely grateful for.
6. Soft Throw Pillows
I think the right throw pillow can make a huge difference in a room from a design perspective, but for me the perfect throw pillow offers softness and comfort. This year we brought new life to our well-loved sofa pillows by giving them comfy down-like inserts. What a difference! My tired head and back thank me daily for this simple creature comfort.
7. Clear Plastic Storage Boxes
This year I was drowning in my grandson’s action figures and Lego pieces, and it drove me crazy every day to try to tidy these toys up. So one day I bought 20 different-size clear plastic boxes and invested an hour in sorting and labeling. This solution has been a lifesaver. Now the Star Wars guys have a home — and I have my living room back.
8. A Set of Pretty Drinking Glasses
Like many people, I’ve gone through multiple sets of drinking glasses, as eventually glasses break, leaving you with a hodgepodge of different styles. This year we replenished our drinking glasses with multiple coordinating sets — our backup plan for when some break. The glasses weren’t expensive, but this little upgrade is something the whole family is still appreciating months later.
9. A Beautiful Floor Mirror
An empty wall in my home was begging for a piece of art. My family and I looked and looked, but nothing spoke to us. One day, I decided to place a floor mirror against the wall temporarily, just until we found the right piece. To my surprise, it became my 3-year-old granddaughters favorite spot. From making funny faces to admiring her copious superhero costumes to playing with hand shadows, she finds endless entertainment at the mirror. Needless to say, we stopped looking for that piece of art.
10. Photographs of Loved Ones
I took the time this year to curate my credenza display of family photos. It took months, because each frame had to be different, and then I had to choose the photos to go in each frame. But the effort was worthwhile. Every time I walk by, the framed photos put a smile on my face. They remind me of the people I’m most thankful for in this world.