We’d all love our homes to have an inviting, well-put-together look, but there are a few common design mistakes we make that can easily make a room feel messy and cluttered. Clearing clutter away seems an obvious first step towards a more polished look, but there are other simple decorating tricks that will bring order to your space, making it more open, organised and tidy.
Not having a dedicated drop zone
We all have that spot in our homes where we put our keys, our bags, take off our shoes or just drop random things. It’s usually close to the front door or wherever you enter your house from. It’s where you unburden yourself of everything that’s in your hands when you get home. This space can, however, end up being a mess and it makes your house look untidy.
To combat this, allocate the most convenient space to be a drop zone, and put out storage such as baskets and shoe racks. Add a small table or console if there’s space and place pretty little containers on top of the table to hold keys, wallets and even letters.
No cable management
Everyone is guilty of having little to no cable management in certain parts of their home, especially in the living room where there are lots of electronics. Cable management isn’t the most fun thing to do in the world, but if they’re left open and exposed, they can be a massive eye-sore.
Unmanaged cables are a safety hazard in the home. They run the risk of either being tripped over or electrocuting someone, especially when cleaning is going on, or in households with small children.
Cables can be hidden in a number of ways, such as running them along the wall at floor level or through the ceiling or cupboards to keep them out of sight, but it requires expert knowledge to do so. Alen Ribic, co-founder of SweepSouth adds that cable management is best done by a professional as it can require extending cables and drilling holes. Ribic recommends that people find a professional who does this for a living.
Using oversized furniture
Nothing cramps up a space more than furniture that’s too big. You might want that great coffee table, but the truth is that it’s too big. And if you insist on it, it’s just going to make your home look overcrowded and uncomfortable.
If you already have the furniture, consider selling it online and using the money from that to purchase items that fit the room you need it for. Always remember to take measurements before you shop so that you don’t end up buying the incorrect size. Crowding a room with too many bits of furniture can also make it feel disorganised. Cut down on the amount needed by using multi-functional furniture, such as sturdy pouffes that can be used both for seating and as side tables, coffee tables with storage for cables and TV remotes, and mirrors with shelving attached to them.
Overfilling open shelving
Open shelving looks lovely when done right. It’s a common mistake to fill open shelves with books, picture frames and all the other objects you can’t find a home for, but this type of storage actually works best when it’s not overcrowded.
Resist the temptation to fill every inch of shelving, and rather space things out. Edit down what you’d like to display, and leave open space between some of the items. Put your favourite decor items out, but bear in mind that too many decorative pieces will make it look cluttered.
The same rule applies when you’re styling a coffee or dining room tabletop. Give careful thought to what is visible in the room, especially if it’s a small space. Display only what you love, and make sure not to overfill the table. Group small items together in a shallow bowl or on a tray so that the arrangement stays tidy, and keep small objects from looking lost by elevating them on a stack of two or three books.
Not using vertical space
If you’ve ever mounted your TV on the wall, you will know how much of a difference it makes to space to not have your TV sitting on the cabinet or table. Making use of wall space – vertical space – isn’t good just for small areas, it frees up every room in the house. Put up shelves or hang things from your ceiling to get them off your countertops and floors. Don’t crowd the wall with these shelves, the fewer the better and space them out well.
For example, use wall-mounted shelves to arrange books and get rid of the bookshelf taking up some much-needed floor space. They don’t have to be wooden, you can use other types of materials like a canvas to give your house a different feel. Using vertical space makes a huge difference in almost any room.
Grimy floors, dusty shelves and dirty countertops will make even the most beautiful space look messy, so make sure to keep yours sparkly. If you don’t have time to do a clean-up, consider getting a SweepStar in to give your home its best look.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re decorating your space and your home will feel like a clutter-free oasis.