The Little Things

What makes life feel luxurious? I’ve been mulling this over lately and trying to distill some formula for elevating the mundane into the marvelous.

I traveled for work recently and had the good fortune to have a beautiful room all to myself for a couple days. Despite its simplicity–the room only housed a bed, a desk, two nightstands, a television, and a couple chairs on either side of a small table–everything in the room was well-appointed. Each morning I found myself wishing I could linger a few hours longer in the plush, cozy bed, wrapped in a cocoon of soft linens and fluffy pillows. Evenings found me reading in one of the chairs, completely relaxed in its not-too-firm-but-not-too-soft goldilocks comfort. The contentment I felt in that room is a rare feeling for me outside of my own home, but I can’t say that I was surprised. The hotel got right what so many others get wrong: the details, all the little things that elevate the quality of an experience.

Attention to these little details can make the difference between a nice bed and one that is less so, between a collection of ingredients and a proper meal, between a house and a home. Granted, I wouldn’t say attention to little details is necessary in all aspects of all things for all people–Zen Buddhists, feel free to chime in and disagree here–but I do think that taking care in certain domestic matters can bring a bit more joy to our lives, both when you do things for yourself and when you do things for others.

Pooh Mug
Ceramic markers turn a plain white mug ($2 at Home Goods!) into a lovely reminder of childhood days to enjoy with every cup of tea or coffee.
$4 in ramen and veg become a feast fit for a Friday with some TLC, a few frozen shrimp from the back of the freezer, and a bottle of wine.
A couple dollars in ramen and veg become a feast fit for a Friday with some TLC, a few frozen shrimp from the back of the freezer, and a bottle of wine.

Again, I wouldn’t advise going all out to touch up the little details of everything you make and do–goodness, can you imagine the exhaustion?–but why not try to brighten up one or two places or habits in your life that mean a lot to you? If you love spending time in your home office or bedroom, make them the epitome of your idea of luxury. (Whether that means plush blankets and fine linens, or cool colors and art on the walls, is totally up to you!) If you love some daily relaxation outside on your patio or in your yard, perhaps add some plants or decorations to accentuate all the things about the space that makes you happy. Adding little touches like these can make all the difference in how you perceive your surroundings, even on the most painful of days:

The remedy for a rough night is a bit more cheerful with a few moments’ extra preparation!
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