The idea of beauty, and how to fill our lives with more of it, can be intimidating. When we think of luxurious surroundings, we think expensive, something reserved for the fortunate few. We might think the only way to improve the quality of our days with beautiful sights is to spend money, and a lot of it.
But you don't need a Sotheby's account and a collection of Old Masters paintings (although, my, that would be lovely) to make your everyday life more beautiful. The small things, the so-called pedestrian things we might take for granted—vegetables, fruits, cups—all of these things are more than adequate for enriching the beauty of our homes.
Here's a few simple ideas using what you probably already have on hand, or can find in a thrift store for a few dollars, to make life more beautiful.
1. Toss the grocery store plastic sleeve. Store fresh herbs in a pretty jar.
Plastic bags don't make us feel pretty. Opening your refrigerator to see a heap of them, as opposed to seeing the appealing vegetables within them, is not inspiring. Storing herbs in a pretty jar will make you smile every time you open those refrigerator doors, and it'll keep the herbs fresh. How nice to just reach in and pick what you need as you're cooking; your very own little herb garden at your fingertips.
Wash and dry the herbs. Fill the jar or pitcher with water, and place the herbs inside. Magic.
2. Display root vegetables on your counter or island.
Fruit is a likely suspect on the island or kitchen counter, but placing your onions (or better yet, the very European shallot) in a nice bowl will give a rustic, old-world feel. This peacock tray is from Anthropologie, admittedly a bit pricer than a thrift store find, but you can find old copper pots and trays or worn wooden bowls at just about any antique or vintage shop. Even placing the shallots in one of your everyday serving ware bowls will make you smile.
Bonus—onions have a fairly long shelf life, so even if you don't cook often, they should last for a while out on the counter, barring your kitchen isn't too warm.
3. Elevate your cupware.
Even if you're not interested in buying a variety of vintage tableware like plates and bowls, etc., splurging on a few cups, morning coffee or espresso cups in particular, is a great way to start the day off in a classy, inspired way. The vintage demitasse cup and saucer above was picked up for a small price at an antique shop, and the copper one below at William Sonoma (I bought two, not an entire set, allowing me to splurge without breaking the bank). Both make me very happy when I drink espresso out of them in the morning.
Side note—consider skipping the K-Cups and Nespresso pods of the world to make your coffee in a more slow-drip manner, such as using a moka pot or a french press. Slow down and smell the coffee beans!