In this post: Would you believe that luxury living is not out of reach? If you have a taste for the finer things, here’s how to add luxury to your home on any budget.⇒
Luxury is not the same thing as opulence.
You can live in an understated one room apartment with a deep plush sofa, soft cashmere throw, fluffy down pillows and the optimal temperature control and you’ll be living in the lap of luxury.
You don’t need formality or excess to experience luxury living. Nor do you need great wealth or access to lavishness and splendor.
Luxury, instead, connotes the utmost in comfort, convenience and desirable living. It means different things to different people, but the most defining aspect is how much we value a particular thing.
If you love red wine, you might value a smooth rich glass of the finest burgundy. Yet if you hate red wine, the most refined grape in the world will be of no use to you. It may be extravagant, but it won’t be a luxury.
The same can be said for profusion and abundance. Whether you have one bottle or a hundred bottles of the same vintage, it’s only a treasure if it’s something you genuinely prize.
Discerning which things will most enhance your lifestyle is the key to learning how to achieve a luxury lifestyle.
This may seem obvious but consider how many people spend money on things they don’t actually value. The big house in the country when they prefer city life. The two seater sports car when they favor time spent with family. If you’ve ever spent more money than you were honestly comfortable with on an item you thought you needed because everyone else was buying it, you know what I mean.
So what then is a true luxury?
For my purposes here, I’m defining luxury as anything that adds great pleasure, comfort, and convenience to your life and is more expensive or harder to obtain that other options in the same category.
These are the things that are worth our time and effort. They are worth striving for, working for, saving for, and ultimately they are the things worth giving up something else for.
This doesn’t mean they necessarily cost a fortune. (A luxury cup of coffee costs two to three times more than an ordinary cup, yet it’s usually less than $5.00). But it does mean there are similar items available for far less money.
So how do we decide which are the finer things we should make an effort to add to our lives and homes?
1. Define what luxury means to you
As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, I can’t really tell you what you should value, but I can make some suggestions for incorporating the things you do value into your home.
Take some time to really think about it. What matters most to you? Is your home set up to accommodate these things? Do you care about comfort and enjoy soft lush fabrics? Are you uplifted by sunlight that filters into your rooms? Is scent a priority or do music and books inspire you? Do you collect something special or like to be surrounded by certain objects?
Once you determine what matters most, don’t be afraid to indulge your priorities and let other things go. If you’re passionate about cooking but don’t care much for television, invest in the best cookware but forego the large screen TV. Think you can’t afford that sumptuous chaise? Buy an inexpensive dining table for the room you hardly use, then go all out on the piece that you’ll curl up on with your beloved books.
Luxury means opting for the very best when it counts. It doesn’t mean buying the best of everything.
2. Where to Invest
Now, maybe you’re thinking, ‘Ok, that’s obvious. Of course I will save on the things that are less important and spend on the things that mean the most to me.” But is that what you do?
How many people spend a fortune on a dining table or a set of china and then hardly ever use it?
Stick to your plan and then invest in the foundational pieces that support it. If you love entertaining, by all means go for that stunning china. But if the thing you want most is for your home to be a sanctuary for relaxing and refreshing, put your time and money into things that provide that.
For most people these key pieces will include the very best sofa you can reasonably afford. The most comfortable mattress and pillows. Sheets that make you look forward to crawling into bed. Plush towels. A comfy rug underfoot.
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3. Where to Save
So if you’re spending on big pieces, like sofa, bed and rug, where are you saving?
Let me start by saying that if you’re buying things you love for their style and look, anything can fall into the category of luxuries worth spending on.
That said, as I mentioned above, my recommendation is to invest in the pieces you most use that add to your comfort and convenience. This means things that *feel* luxurious and add a sense of pleasure to your lifestyle. The quality of your day won’t be changed by a high-end chest of drawers like it will by a good night’s sleep on a luxury mattress.
I’d save on things like bookcases, desks, dressers and the like, which can usually be approximated by a decent reproduction. Likewise, anything seasonal, trendy, or otherwise temporary.
When it comes to decorative pieces like accessories and art, it depends once again on where your passions lie. If you’re an art collector, for instance, quality pieces will be an expense and a priority. But perhaps you won’t mind if the lamps are mid-tier.
4. Punctuate with little luxuries
My favorite category of items and the place you can really ramp up the luxury, is with things I like to call the little pleasures. These finer things make a pointed difference in your day, yet at the same time, they’re often quite inexpensive.
This is where I’d include items like scented soaps, refined hand creams, aromatic candles, fine stationery, vintage perfume bottles, French linens, imported tea and porcelain teacups, and the most luxurious of them all, fresh flowers!
For those willing to spend a little bit more, I’d also include vintage silver, crystal drops, gilded fragments and other collectibles. These should be charming little notions that bring joy to your day!
5. Figure out what you can give up
But what happens if you find it’s a stretch to buy even the luxury soap? Or you find you’re not enjoying enough of the little pleasures to make a difference in your daily living?
Perhaps you have some big things you are paying for that are no longer relevant?
At some point it might be worthwhile evaluating if your current living arrangement is still right for you. Might you be better off downsizing to enjoy more of what you love doing? Or can you update your current home to accommodate your evolving lifestyle better? This is a complicated question that involves a great deal of thought.
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Whether you stay or go, your home should be a haven for the most pleasurable living. And the more luxury you add to your day, the more pleasant it will be. Even the smallest of the finer things can make an impact and all you need to do is prioritize what means the most to you.
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