I saw this beautiful cup and saucer on eBay last week and fell instantly in love with them. They’ll look just right in my kitchen when it’s finished and I can already see the cup filled with a bunch of tiny flowers from the garden or perhaps holding a little candle. If I wanted, I could even use it in my bedroom, filled with some gorgeous scented pot pourri or I might even grow a small plant in it, like a pink African Violet or a baby spider plant.
From a practical point of view, I didn’t need it; it isn’t something that will make my life easier in any way so some would say that if I’m serious about simple living, I shouldn’t have wasted my money on ‘knick knacks’. But aesthetics are important to me. If my surroundings aren’t beautiful then I soon feel depressed, so I could argue that I do indeed need things like this little china teacup.
I'm sure this need to be surrounded by beauty is part of our natural design; we were meant to live surrounded by the beauty of nature and the only way we can satisfy that is by bringing beauty – in whichever form we feel it should take – into our homes.
But having a beautiful home doesn’t have to cost the earth – either figuratively or literally. This little cup and saucer cost just over £3 on eBay, including P&P, and looking at it brings me more pleasure than a £50 designer vase or a Burberry mug ever would (yes, apparently they do mugs, too!). When I see it I think about its origins and the people who may have used and loved it before me. I look at the exquisite detail in the design and think about how beautifully nature’s represented through a simple piece of china. To me, it’s nothing short of perfect. But then I'm a sucker for pretty florals, lace and dainty little things.
This, to me, is what frugal – or simple - décor is about. It isn’t about not having nice things; it’s about finding pleasure in things that don’t have to carry a high price tag or designer label to be of any value and aren’t necessarily the latest ‘in’ thing to have. Whether you're into retro, minimalist, vintage, urban chic or whatever, there are things out there that won't break your budget, aren't being mass produced in third world sweatshops and aren't the same as every other Tom, Dick and Harry have. You just have to look for them.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or
believe to be beautiful. - William Morris