The Mom in me gets it – you can barely keep the house clean let alone put any “designer” touches on it or keep up with the latest home trends! Backpacks, mail, papers, toys, and stuff pile up and soon takeover your living spaces. Just keeping up with dishes and laundry is worth a pat on the back – who has time to actually organize or decorate!?
As a professional Interior Designer and a busy Mom of two boys, I am here to tell you that you CAN DO IT! Your home can be clean, organized, and stylish – with minimal effort! Here are my favorite tips for a stylish yet family friendly home:
Baskets are a mom’s best friend. I LOVE baskets! Or boxes, crates, trays, etc… I use them to corral items and give them a “home”. Use a metal crate to hold magazines or books, use a pretty platter on your kitchen counter to hold spices & oils, or try a decorative tray on your bathroom vanity with a small lamp, tissues, jars of cotton balls, and other toiletries. Containing items in a pretty container makes them seem more organized, like they belong, and they serve a purpose.
Curate a collection. Look around… do you have several items that are in the same category located in various spots throughout the house? Maybe you have a bunch of crystal vases from your grandmother, trinkets from your travels, or even artwork or sculptures your kids made. Grouping these items together makes them feel like a curated collection, rather than a bunch of random things cluttering up your home. Take a stroll around your house and look for items that are similar, grouping them by type, material, or color. Maybe you find that you have several vases or dishes that are all a shade of blue, or maybe you find a collection of clay pots your kids have painted over the years, even a collection of pretty cookbooks would work!
Fresh is best. Nothing says Designer like a fresh bouquet of flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. Fresh flowers, real plants, and real fruit are so accessible, affordable, and timeless. You can get fresh flowers from the grocery store, farmers market, or even your own yard! Even just a bunch of branches and greens is pretty in a vase! Add a small bunch of fresh cut stems to your bathroom vanity or bedroom nightstand for little pizzazz. Try a bowl of green apples or bright yellow lemons on your kitchen counter for a pop of color. For an extra designer bonus – try slicing up fresh fruit and placing it in the vase with your fresh cut flowers!
Switch it up. Walk around your house and go on a little “shopping spree” for free! This is one of my favorite things to do when decorating a client’s home. Before we go out and buy anything new, we walk around their house and see what goodies & treasures they already have! Think outside the box and get creative. Just because you bought a piece of furniture or an accessory for a particular spot, doesn’t mean that is where it has to live forever and ever. Swap out your living room toss pillows with some pillows from another room, try hanging the artwork from your dining room in another spot, move table lamps around, rearrange the furniture – you get the idea. You’d be amazed how different your house can look simply by using items you already own!
Throw a cleaning party. Every weekend my husband, myself and our two boys have a “cleaning party”. We set a timer for 15-30 minutes (depending on how bad the house is and how much energy we have), crank up some fun music, and we all clean our butts off until the timer goes off. Get your kiddos involved and assign them tasks that they enjoy doing and are appropriate for their age. My younger son loves to use his little dusting mitt to dust things, and he loves to Swiffer the floors. My older son really enjoys vacuuming and emptying the trash cans. We dance and sing while we clean, making it an enjoyable experience rather than a dreaded chore.
These are simple, easy, and free tips that you can try in your homes right now! But I also want to remind you that nobody is perfect (not even an Interior Designer like myself) and nobody’s house is perfect! Be kind to yourself, and give yourself and your family some grace. Remember that the shoes piled up by the door, the pile of papers on the counter, and the toys all over the floor are signs that your house is a home, and that you have an amazing little family that lives there.