Living room
Photo: Getty Images
1. If you touch it every day, it should be beautiful—from your cabinet knobs to your mail tray. My toothbrush holder is a heavy cut-glass tumbler that I got for a couple of bucks at a flea market. It's lovely, and it feels special to me.

2. Brighten your outlook. On your next grocery run, buy some tulips and put them in a vase by the kitchen sink. Doing the dishes won't seem so drab anymore.

3. Be bold. A splash of color or pattern—an end table lacquered in raspberry, a leopard-print throw for the sofa—adds a bit of surprise to any spot in the house.

4. Start collecting. Whether it's first-edition books, English teacups, or ceramic cows, a carefully assembled collection expresses your singular style.

5. Edit, edit, edit. I jam-pack my rooms with all kinds of found objects and accessories—but then I step back and put a few items away. Paring down is what makes a good room great.

6. Don't let the TV take over the living room. Mine hangs amid wall-to-wall bookshelves, so the space looks more like a den than a media room. Alternatively, an antique armoire can double as an entertainment cabinet—when the TV is off, close the doors and watch your family and friends instead.

7. Use the good stuff. Why should your china gather dust in the cupboard until next Thanksgiving? Pull it out for tonight's Chinese-takeout feast and make an ordinary day feel festive.

8. Curate your own gallery—even on a shoestring. Stunning art can come in all different forms (from photography to painting to sculpture) and prices.

9. Sleep in. But if a lazy Saturday morning is impossible to come by, find the next best thing: sheets that make you want to stay in bed all day.

10. Get the picture. I have a million and one photos in my home: family, friends, my dogs, vacations. The fabric of my life is framed and hung on my walls. Photographs can turn a house into a home.