Spring is finally here and with it comes the warm sun, balmy breezes, and bright evenings that extend past 9pm. As with any season, the Dutch have adapted to make the most of it and that includes bringing the natural freshness of the outdoors inside. So how exactly do they make their homes feel like an outdoor retreat?
Keep windows open
First things first, open as many windows as you possibly can. This is a simple and obvious method but you want to get as much air in as possible. This means opening every window and not just one. With more windows, you can penetrate the areas of your house that have none. Our shower room is windowless and benefits from the constant flow of air throughout the house. With a window open in the living room and two in the bedroom, the air flow is able to travel all day long. Just make sure to brace the doors with a door stopper if it’s windy. I can’t even tell you the amount of times we’ve had doors slam on us without warning!
Air out everything
Imagine walking through residential Amsterdam. The buildings are towering above you and the rows go on for as far as your eyes can see. Now picture most of these windows with blankets and pillows hanging outside of them. The window frame and a half closed window are the only things holding these sheets in place. Strange to think about isn’t it? Not for the Dutch. When I first saw this in practice I thought it was an eccentric habit of our neighbor. However, the longer I live here, the more often I see it. The Dutch air out their bedding via their windows. The sun and fresh air allow the sheets to smell dryer fresh. Since the Dutch are so eco-friendly, this is a natural alternative to using the dryer between washes.
Organize and minimize
I have yet to see a Dutch house filled to the brim with trinkets. In America, when I used to work for a real estate agent, I had to go into homes and photograph the state of them. More often than not, I found useless items everywhere. The Dutch are super organized and everything has a place. Even the most cluttered spices pantry looks like something that could be photographed in a home magazine. If you keep everything organized (most of the time) it allows you a sense of being clutter-free in your household.
Decorate with purpose
Since the Dutch always keep their windows open, they decorate with symmetry. If there are three windows, they use the same plants and same statues in all three. Many Dutch houses look like dollhouses at first glance because of the attention to detail. Keeping a house looking aesthetically pleasing is no easy task though. It takes skill and an eye for decor. However if you’re able to slowly learn how to do it and maintain it, the idea you’re living in a well decorated home will give you less to worry about. When in doubt, do as the Dutch do. Decorate in pairs and use low priced plants so if they die, you can just replace them (I learned this tidbit from my tutor. Apparently the Dutch use cheaper plants on windowsills just in case)! You’ll also enjoy spending time in a well maintained space!
Keep high energy
One thing I’ve noticed about the Dutch is that they love bright colors. Muted tones are appreciated but a splash of red or yellow can bring life to a room. I’ve seen orange sofas and even red carpets. While such bolds colors are too much of a commitment for most of us, think in smaller terms. Decide on what colors energize you and place samples of that color around your house in well loved areas. It won’t be as overwhelming as owning an orange couch and you’ll always feel excited to see it.