G and I moved in together in 2008 and though we never had a formal sit-down to discuss any house rules, over time we established certain philosophies that we still follow to this day. Here are the ten things we live by that make our home comfortable, functional and inviting.
1.Nothing is too precious or irreplaceable. I've always loved the idea of certain household items that feel particularly luxe: a white couch, upholstered dining room chairs and a luxurious vintage rug come to mind. But they're just not realistic for the way we live. I want our friends to be able to pile on the sofa (with red wine in hand!) to watch movies and not care if someone tracks in a bit of mud when they enter. It's not to say that we don't have some nice things in our home, but nothing's too precious or irreplaceable that I'd be absolutely devastated if they were ruined. I'm thankful that we've always lived like this since we didn't have to make any dramatic changes when the baby arrived.
2. Always keep a bottle of champagne chilled. I'm a big believer in keeping things on hand that can either turn into a quick celebration or rescue a really bad day. Even if I don't open a particular bottle for a while, there's something kind of fun and reassuring about sneaking a peek anytime I go into the fridge. It's a reminder that the next exciting thing is on the horizon or that even if things aren't working in your favor, there's an easy fix.
3.Do at least one nice thing for the other person each day. This one only applies if you live with someone else, whether it's a significant other or a roommate, but G and I adhere to the idea that you should do at least one kind gesture each day. This can be as simple as making the other person's coffee, coming home with a sweet treat or making the bed, but it creates a nice environment where little things are done to show appreciation.
4.Choose what to invest in. We prioritize what we spend on based on how often we use certain things. For us, that means high quality towels, bedding and knives. They might seem insignificant, but since they're things we reach for daily, they make a big difference.
5.Create time limits for messes. It goes without saying that our place inevitably gets messy from time to time, but we keep tabs on specific problem areas so that they never stay like that for too long. If we have a dinner party and don't get to the dishes that night, we'll make sure to get to get to them in the morning. The same rule applies for clean laundry that's waiting the be folded or the DIY project that I've yet to clean up. It also helps each person be accountable for their messes so that things never get out of hand.
6.Make small changes every once in a while. When you live and work from home, things can start to feel stagnant rather quickly. Whether or not your office is in your house, I think it's important to switch things up every once in a while. Whether that's swapping out a lampshade, getting new throw pillows or rearranging furniture, it helps keep things feeling fresh and new.
7.Fix things that bother you. In our last home, we had our TV mounted above our mantle, which was aesthetically pleasing, but meant that our necks were strained any time we were on the couch. We both knew it was a problem the night it was installed, but didn't want to deal with the inconvenience of having it switched, so we kept it that way for months. Not only was it ergonomically irresponsible, but we rarely used that room because of how uncomfortable it was. As soon as we finally had it moved, we vowed to never stall on anything that truly bothered us about our place.
8.Keep your house 10 minutes away from being guest-ready. I've mentioned this rule before and it's one I live by. Even though most friends don't unexpectedly call us up let us know they're en route to our place, we have enough visitors to keep the place in close-to-clean shape at all times.
9.Simple is best. We believe less is more, which creates a calm, uncluttered vibe in our house. Whenever I come across something that I like, I always try to envision exactly where it would live in our home. Beyond making sure everything has a place, we try to edit what we do have roughly twice a year, just to ensure that we're only surrounded by things we truly love.
10.Create a vibe in your home. For us, this means lots of fresh air, candles burning and music playing. It's a nice way to set an overall tone with things that make you happy, so that anytime you're in your place, it feels like home.
P.S. You can also check out my post on the rules of the bedroom.