This is a completely subjective list of things that I think every house should have:
Everyone’s definition of art is different so no matter what you think art is, you should have some. Maybe you can only afford posters and family pictures, great! Frame them and get them on the wall. I like to think of my walls as a storyboard all about me (narcissist much?). When people come over and look at my gallery walls they are getting a glimpse of who I am as a person by what inspires me or makes me laugh.
2) A plant.
Or two or three. I once read that being able to keep a houseplant alive is a sign of mental wellbeing and since I generally believe everything I read (especially on the internet) I went a bought a plant immediately. I’ve had probably ten over the past few years, some die quickly and others have lasted years only to be killed in a 600 mile drive (RIP Orchid 2006-2008), but regardless they have made my living spaces more beautiful no matter how long they last. I currently have four in varies stages of ‘alive-ness’ but I like the way they look and I think they help indoor air quality (just googled it, they do).
3) Something funny.
Lord Byron said it best, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Have something or many things in your house that make you laugh, even if no one else gets it. Actually, especially if no one else gets it.
4) Something old.
I like old things, not just because they often look cool, but because they have a history. Several of my old pieces are from my Grandpa and I like to think about how he found them and where they lived before they came to me. Being open to the chips and cracks and all the imperfections of old items is a good metaphor for life.
I need to have books wherever I live. Even in my dorm room in college I had a small bookcase just because I needed a few of my favorite books with me (holla Jane Austen!). Bookshelves are sort of like my gallery wall, if people look at my bookshelf they can get a pretty good idea of who I am as a person by what I read. And let’s be honest, you look smarter if you have a lot of books around!