It happened again just a few weeks ago. We had a friend over to the house for a pool day. After just a bit of time in the water surrounded by the garden in full bloom, icy-cold beer in hand, and buoyed by a pair of Super Noodles, she said, “If I had this, I’d never leave home!”
And, in fact, we rarely do leave home. We aren’t making a conscious decision to skip trips to the beach resorts and European cities our friends enjoy. It’s just that we don’t feel the need to go. We’ve invested lots of time and energy into making our home a place that’s retreat enough whether it’s a weeknight after work or a full-blown staycation.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Seth Godin and goes like this: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” I’ve been working towards this for years, and I’ve come up with a few ways that you can achieve the same sense of peace and escape right at home – no yucky plane trips, no expensive hotels, and no empty bank account.
Learn to cook. You will be simply amazed at how unimpressed you will become with most restaurant food once you learn to cook your own meals, exactly as you like them, right at home. We have now only a couple of fine restaurants that truly knock our socks off. The rest of the time, we skip eating out all together and have great meals and top-shelf cocktails at a fraction of the cost.
Use linen napkins. Yes, really. I keep a large supply of reusable cloth napkins, like these here, that I’ve collected over the years, and we use them for almost all of our dinners at home. Having cloth napkins instantly elevates even the simplest of dinners to something of an occasion. We can all just stuff our faces with food and be done with it, but only a few of us know how to really dine with style. And it starts with never wiping your face with paper towels at the dinner table. Read more tips for how to create restaurant-style ambiance at home here.
Invest in your surroundings. You don’t have to be an expert home decorator, but you can choose to surround yourself with things you think are beautiful – furnishings, nice lighting, some art for your walls. When you do, your home will become not just a place to flop in between work days, dinners out, and your next vacation. It will become your retreat, full of the beauty that you love, and you’ll be less anxious to leave.
Rescue a pet. If your lifestyle is suitable, save a life by adopting a dog or cat from a local shelter. When you do, you actually save two lives because you save your new pet and you make room in the shelter for another homeless animal. A companion will make your house a home – you’ll look forward to coming home and spending time with your new BFF.
Buy great bed linens. Great resorts create luxury with top-of-the-line bedding that makes you want to snuggle in all morning. You can recreate that feeling at home by investing in the best bed linens you can afford. You’ll never long for a hotel bed again. I discovered sustainable, luxurious linen sheets and, in my opinion, they blow even the highest thread count cotton sheets out of the water with their softness. They get softer every time I wash them and they are super-durable so I shouldn’t have to replace them any time soon.