In the aftermath of the latest royal wedding, I am, once again, wondering how I missed my calling to be a princess. I mean, I don’t have staff…but I am fortunate to have a cleaning service that comes in occasionally because I don’t ever “find the time” to clean my bathrooms as I would rather be cooking and entertaining friends, and I don’t have a gardener, although I do have Tom, the yard guy, who cuts my lawn periodically so I don’t have to wrestle a lawnmower or get any closer to nature than the pots of herbs I plant on my deck. But I suspect I am not alone in the desire to live like a princess, and by living like a princess, I do not mean an attitude of entitlement, but rather the idea of living a lifestyle of graciousness and refinement that seems to come with the job. I’m sure there are downsides…the constant scrutiny of the media, the ever-present lurking security detail, and the general lack of privacy and lack of autonomy in many ways…but I’ve always secretly fantasized about suffering through all that. There are, however, a number of ways in which you can live like royalty without actually having the title.
Here are a few tips for living life graciously:
Keep fresh flowers arranged throughout your home
Many years ago, I read that you should devote 5% of your weekly budget to fresh flowers. That seems like a lot. A lovely ideal but perhaps impractical for some of us. And there are many ways to get fresh flowers or greenery. I mean, if there are branches or flowers blooming in your yard, you can cut them and bring them inside! There is nothing more glorious than a vase full of cherry blossom or lilac branches! Or, if you can keep plants alive (alas I cannot), they are an investment that pays back for a long time as a beautiful, organic accessory. Arrangements from a local florist are lovely, but so are flowers from grocery and warehouse club stores, which often have great cut flowers at an unbeatable price. The flower buckets at Trader Joe’s and BJ’s are favorites of mine, and I enjoy the process of arranging them in a variety of containers from pitchers to vases to teapots!
Set a real table
Use actual plates and silverware. Can you imagine royalty eating with a plastic fork?? It’s a simple way to enjoy a refined state of living. Food looks better and tastes better when you take the time to present it well. Even if you are eating takeout, transfer it to dinnerware and use real utensils! And let’s not even talk about drinking coffee or tea from a Styrofoam cup…it absolutely will taste better in a pretty porcelain mug or china teacup. AND bonus points for not adding Styrofoam to the landfill to sit there for the next 500 years...
Use only beautiful linens and towels
Edit your collection of towels and bed linens, keep only the nicest and donate the rest. You use these every day! Opt for quality over quantity, your linen closet will thank you. Enjoy the luxury of soft, absorbent, generous-sized towels and beautiful bedding. I have a not so secret addiction to beautiful bed linens…I adore my Peacock Alley sheets with the pale aqua scalloped embroidery, my pretty, down-filled throw pillows, and my scalloped matelassé coverlet and shams. Quality linens are a wise investment - with proper care, they last nearly indefinitely and feel wonderful.
Arrange your belongings for beauty, comfort and efficiency.
A house that looks good and works well will elevate your life in ways you didn’t know were possible. Eliminate clutter – to paraphrase William Morris, everything in your home should be beautiful or functional and preferably both! Your surroundings should bring you joy, and that is the essence of living graciously!