Because I’ve written this blog for over five years, I’ve been blessed to receive hundreds of emails from readers sharing with me their biggest decorating struggles.
Rooms that feel unfinished.
Wanting a beautiful space, but one that’s still functional for their family.
I think those are common struggles we all share.
While decorating seems like it should be an afterthought to decluttering, furnishing, and organizing, it’s much easier to incorporate every step of the way. Interior styling, when done well, addresses both the aesthetic and functional needs of a room. That’s why styling is one of my favorite decorating topics to teach, because I think it’s the best of both worlds.
My new course Styling Savvy teaches the five essential habits to keep your home stylish and uncluttered. Here’s a brief introduction to each of the habits, along with a quick tip to get you started. If you’re interested, there’s more details about the course at the end.
1. Always Shop Your Home First
Chances are you already have more home decor pieces than you need. Maybe you’ve stashed old frames in a closet. Filled a cupboard in the kitchen with vases. Moved extra pieces to the guest room.
Whenever you want to refresh a room, you should shop your home first. Round up the excess decor you have and see it with new eyes. Could a simple makeover make a piece fit in your space again?
Do a simple accent color change. Gather every piece you have in a certain color palette and bring them together in one room.
You might be surprised and delighted to discover you don’t need to spend any money to redecorate. The next three habits will help you make the most out of the decor pieces you already own.
2. Take a Few Moments to Style Your Decor
Just a little thought about how your decor is arranged can make all the difference.
There’s a science to mixing shapes, sizes, textures, and finishes to create beautiful, stylish displays. And it’s simple once you learn the secrets…
Start with my free video course Home Styling 101 and learn how to arrange your home decor like a pro. You’ll learn my top tips to make all your decor from your mantel to your nightstand look better.
3. Make Everything More Attractive
My favorite way to organize my home and make it look clutter free is functional styling. Cleaning out drawers and closets is great, life-changing magic of tidying up and all, but what really makes your home look neat is the how the everyday stuff (that sits out on the counters, the entry table, the dresser) is arranged.
Just like you can arrange home decor, you can arrange the everyday necessities.
Tidy up the counter with a coffee bar…
Turn your dresser into a valet for your phones, watches, and jewelry.
Make every surface in your home cleaner and more stylish by using functional decor (trays, bowls, jars) to contain and organize smaller items.
4. Don’t Stuff the Bookshelves
I know Bookshelves are meant to hold books, but they are also an opportunity to make a beautiful statement in a room. With a little reorganization and creative book stacking, you can make space for a few special decorative objects. Bonus points if they’re sentimental mementos.
Here’s one simple tip you can try right now: Get a two big baskets or bins. Remove every single paperback book and loose piece of paper clutter from your shelves. Tuck the papers into a basket (magazine holders work well too). File the paperbacks spine up in another basket. Put the baskets back on the bookcase on the lowest shelves. Now just think of the decorative possibilities for the spaces you just opened up.
Although the task of clearing your bookshelves and starting over might feel daunting, the end result will be worth the effort. Plus if you can style Bookshelves, then every other styling challenge in your home will feel like a walk in the park.
5. Put Out Fresh Flowers
When it feels like a room is missing something or you have company coming over and the house isn’t as clean as you want or when you need a pick me up, the answer is always fresh flowers.
But that doesn’t mean you have to go broke at the florist. The best way to bring fresh flowers into your home is to learn to arrange them yourself. Then you can buy inexpensive bundles at the grocery store and arrange them into beautiful bouquets that only look like they cost a fortune.
$10 and 15 minutes is all you need to make this big arrangement…
Or this cheerful centerpiece…
Flowers can instantly perk up any room (and any mood).