Make Home Almost Like Heaven

Life is to be enjoyed, and you spend so much of it at home. Here are some tips to make it better.

Sound: Keep your voice down, as in, don't yell at the kids (this is a real challenge for me but I'm making up for it in other ways)--

Play music. This completely changes the mood in the house more than anything else. It adds joy, or melancholy, or whatever mood of the piece you're playing.

Dance in the livingroom, or wherever the tunes are. Enjoy your rhythm with your family and friends spontaneously, whenever you want.

Smells: Buy lilies, which are my personal favorite, because they will last at least a week and often more, and will fill your house with a beautiful smell. There are other options for other noses, but there is nothing like flowers.

Bake bread. Lest you keel over with this seemingly overwhelming idea, I guarantee you that if you read a couple of articles on easy breads like no-knead rustic or quick-rising white, & then experiment a couple of times, you'll be baking in no time. This will not only make your house smell wonderful, but you'll be able to eat it too.

Sight: You don't have to have fancy furniture, or hardly any furniture, to make a house nice. What you do have to have is light, color, air. Let your spirit inform you of what color a room needs to be and then paint it. Don't be afraid of white, or red, or any other color, since it's for you.

If you need something to sit on, an ugly piece covered with a cloth, in a white drape, will go with anything and it can be washed. Or a beanbag chair. It's not about the furniture. If your budget includes that Roche Bobois piece for $10,000 that I've been drooling over for the last 15 years, go for it. Can't hurt.

Remove heavy drapes or window blinds if you possibly can. Replace with obscured glass if you need privacy. Open the windows in the summer and let breezes waft through your rooms, if you have a breeze.

Paintings or art for your wall are personal choices and if they make you happy to look at them, they don't need to be expensive. You can make some yourself. You don't need frames.

Honor your kids by hanging their art in the livingroom.

Stuff: Organize. Okay I'll admit it: this is hard for me. But it really helps to create a wonderful atmosphere when you have a place to put things, and you do actually put things away. It's so much more pleasant when the coats are in the closet and not on the hall floor.

Adult bedrooms are really important. It's where you need the most tranquility. Don't trash it, don't let the kids trash it, don't let anyone trash it. Change the sheets at least once a week or more, make the bed every morning; it's not that hard and takes a second. Don't let the dog (at least my dog) sleep on the bed.

Self: It can be fun to dress up when you're cooking, a la June Cleaver. Pie-baking dresses look good and are funny. Apron collections are cool and practical if they have bib fronts. And there are lots of other costume options too, for other occasions. Glamor girl, for when you go out, perfect mom, for school meetings, etc. Use your


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