You’ve spent a better part of your Saturday cleaning the house from top to bottom but still it doesn’t look like those model homes you see in magazines or online.
Let’s face it; they are called model homes for a reason – they are fresh and new, color coordinated, very nice matching furniture, fresh flowers, no dogs, no cats – they are staged to make a photo look 100 times better.
They are so appealing we want the same thing for our house but can we really have our homes looking like a model home?
I believe if we are diligent, then yes, we can have our homes just as nice as a model home. It’s not as hard as you might think. Below are some tips to add that extra sparkle into your home.
Cleaning and Decluttering Rooms
Cleaning is more than just getting rid of the dirt, to have your house looking like those you see in the magazines; it will require some additional work.
Toss Out the Old
I know we rarely see what’s inside cabinets when looking at model homes but personally, when I change the arrangement of my home and do a good cleaning, I feel better knowing I’ve covered all the bases.
Go through kitchen cabinets, the pantry, bathroom closets and cabinets, bedroom closets, etc. Get rid of all outdated foods, throw out ratty torn dishtowels, and if you save all the plastic containers (with lids) that food items come in, I’m betting some of these can be recycled.
Throw away old medications and crusty razors; do away with old clothes and items that don’t fit and so on.
The more stuff we have laying around, the messier our homes look. It doesn’t matter in which room you’re in – too much stuff left sitting out makes a space look cluttered.
I know there are family things you have an emotional attachment to, if it’s an heirloom I understand, if it’s something passed down to you that you don’t like, do you really need to keep it? Can you pass it on to another family member?
If you’re like me and you save some of your kids projects; instead of having them hanging willy nilly on the walls or the refrigerator, keep a scrapbook of the artwork they’ve done. It’s fun to walk down memory lane and to flip the pages with your kids. You can also frame a special piece and add it to a feature wall (and change out the picture as they grow).
In the Kitchen
Take the kitchen, for instance, try and only keep items out you use daily. Do you make waffles every morning before sending the kids off to school or leaving for work? If the answer is no, keep the waffle iron in a cabinet or in the pantry. A good rule of thumb, only keep out what you use on a daily basis, like the coffee machine.
It doesn’t take long to fill the dishwasher, before bedtime collect dirty cups and plates instead of leaving them out all night and run a cycle if the dishwasher is full.
In living areas, instead of keeping a host of books, magazines and movies scattered on tabletops and shelves, hide them in an ottoman, better yet, toss the old and keep the new (which these can be neatly stacked on a coffee table). I love holding books and magazines but nowadays, most information can easily be searched for on the internet and pictures are everywhere, so there isn’t much need to hang on to these for life.
Keep knickknacks to a minimum – you don’t see many of these in model homes. Pictures don’t need to adorn every square inch of every wall. A feature wall is nice (maybe the wall going up the stairs), a picture over the fireplace or a picture over the couch.
Before lights out – spend a few minutes throwing dirty clothes in the hamper, putting toys in the toy box, hanging clothes up, etc.
To help keep things organized and clutter free use matching baskets, nice decorative storage boxes on shelves, clear plastic containers for under bed and closet storage. There are so many options and colors I’m sure you’ll find something suitable for your home.
Living Room/Family Room
If you can, try moving the furniture away from the wall. This can make the room look more comfortable, cozy and inviting. When it’s time to turn the lights out, pick up remotes and tidy the room a little before you retire for the night.
If you don’t have an office and pay bills in the kitchen; set aside a drawer where you can keep bills, calculator, pens, sticky notes, and other office supplies. If you need a file cabinet, this can be placed in the coat closet. If you have an office keep papers filed and new mail in a letter tray or something similar, keep a few pens and pencils in a holder and just the necessities on the desktop.
In the bathtub/shower area, use a caddy of some sort for shampoo, conditioner, face wash, shavers, and soaps. Only keep items on the counter that are necessary, take a look at under the sink or drawer storage options for personal accessories such as: hair pins, hair bands, jewelry and other personal care products to help keep the bathroom clutter free.
Mud Room/Laundry Room
If you enter the house through the garage and have space in the mud room or laundry room create a cubby space for each member of the family where coats, shoes, school bags, purses and other personal items can be left when you get home. The same can be done at the front entrance except maybe use a bench with coat hangers and cubbies below the seat for shoes.
A great way to make over a room is with paint. A fresh coat of paint can transform any room, small or large and make it feel welcoming and cozy. Pick a color that compliments existing furniture and/or accessories. There’s really no limit to the colors you can use.
If you’re not sure about paint colors and if the room you are painting is small, pick a light color, this can help the room appear more light, airy and spacious. If the room is larger you can choose darker colors to make the room feel cozy.
Take a trip to your local Home Depot; Lowes, etc. pick up some color samples. There’s enough color to totally inspire you.
The Little Things Matter
It doesn’t take much to keep your home looking great; sometimes it’s the little things we can easily do that will make all the difference.
- Open the curtains to let the sunshine in.
- Fluff the pillows on the couch.
- Splurge a little and buy colorful fresh flowers for the living and dining rooms.
- Fold throw blankets and put them away at the end of the night.
- Our Moms were right – a bedroom looks amazing when you make the bed. Take a few minutes before leaving the house to make the bed and pick up clothes.
Vacuum, clean baseboards and mop floors regularly, keep windows clean and clear so all rooms are bright and cheery. Dust with a product like the Swiffer Duster.
It doesn’t have to take long to make your house look better. Cleaning as you move around the house will soon become a regular habit and you can get the whole family in the routine too!