As the days get shorter and chillier, your spirits may begin to droop. Trading sunny summer months spent out in the fresh air for a long winter indoors can be depressing. To give yourself a well-deserved little lift, you'd like to inject your home with note of comfort, something practical yet pretty, and definitely an item that won't blow your budget. Time for a bit of affordable luxury! Here are some relatively inexpensive inspirations to appeal to every one of your senses. (PS. If you're the super organized type who's already getting together your Christmas shopping list, any of these would make a great gift idea for your nearest and dearest as well as for yourself.)
Soft and light as can be, a luscious hand woven shawl will appeal to your sense of touch in more than one way. You'll enjoy its delightfully gentle wooly caress on your skin, while its warmth will be welcome on crisp autumn evenings. Drape a shawl fashionably over your shoulders or snuggle with it (and a sweetie?) on the couch while you watch TV. Should you prefer to wrap yourself in a different kind of tactile luxury, bring home a thick, deep pile cotton towel to have on hand when you emerge from a steamy bubble bath.
When you're aiming to please your sense of taste, direct your thoughts to the very very small yet over-the-top delicious. One single haute quality chocolate or mouthwatering macaron, savored infinitely slowly at the dining room table, can have a tremendous impact on your taste buds. (A fringe benefit is the relatively small impact on your waistline.) Or treat yourself to a hardbound cookbook featuring tapas, mezze, or other small plates so that you can cook up your own elegant bite-size snacks. Proof positive that enough is as good as a feast.
Pamper your sense of sight by framing one or two of your favorite art posters, whether European classics like Van Gogh's Starry Night or ultra modern contemporary painting by Los Angeles artists. Substitute sentimental vacation photo blowups or children's drawings, if you wish. For a visual surprise, suspend an interestingly shaped, multi-hued mobile from the ceiling. Rev up a boring bed or sofa with a scattering of bright pillows that will make the room pop with vigorous color.
To aurally enrich your residence, hang a charming set of wind chimes outside a window, on your screened porch, or in your garden. More than just "ear candy," tinkling chimes made of materials like wood, bamboo, metal, porcelain, or clay are used in Chinese feng shui as a popular cure for what ails you. Unblock stuck energy and enhance your home with the sounds of serenity.
Scented candles (the all-natural soy or beeswax variety, with no VOCs, if you please!) will sweetly stimulate your sense of smell, as well as greeting guests to your home with a fragrant first impression. More subtly aromatic but longer lasting, a pot of perennial flowers, such as a miniature rosebush, can lightly perfume the indoor air for weeks to come.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.