With the obvious exception of Trump, there are a lot of things our American cousins do well. Service is one – that admirable art of being made to feel that you are a valued customer in your local grocery store even if you’re wearing scruffs and only buying a pint of milk. Breakfast is another (don’t get me started on the pancakes).
Another thing they do brilliantly is opulence. Opulence not in the flashy maximalist meaning of the word, but more in the oversized, larger-than-life sense. Americans do “big” with finesse. They make big cars, build big buildings, serve big portions and they sell – my favourite – big homeware. Why have a piddly little sofa when you can have a super-deep one that you can lose yourself in for days? Why have a small, reed-thin mug when you can have one of those fat diner-style mugs that keep your coffee hot for days?
Americans know that big is the byword for comfort
In the States, big is beautiful. It’s no secret that global furniture shop IKEA, which sells the same products in 38 countries worldwide, sells special beds that are bigger just for the American market. It’s not only because land is cheaper and homes are larger – it’s also because Americans know that big is the byword for comfort.
And it is a strategy that I think we could be adopting more across the pond, even if your space is so tiny you can’t swing a cat in it. Take curtains. Think small and you’ll get weedy panels that let in draughts and wake you up at 4am. Think big – double up on the number of panels and make them longer, so they sit on the floor – and you’ll get a much more luxurious look.
Rugs look better if you can save up and get ones that cover more floor area. Giant squishy cushions are more huggable than small bullet-hard squares. Kingsize bed throws and duvets feel infinitely more cosy on a double bed than if you just stick to double sizes. And big doesn’t just have to be about size – oversized prints and chunky textures will up the cosiness factor of a room and put new meaning into the phrase “Go big or go home”.