Put That Away: 10 Tips for Decorating AND Organizing Your Home
1. Room Dividers / Screens
They can add a great aesthetic component to your home if you choose one that complements your decor. Because of their size and the focal point they create, room dividers can be comparable to choosing your area rug, the color for your room wall or your carpet. Room dividers are great for dividing a very large room into two functions.
Room dividers are terrific for studio apartments where you want to create a liviing space that is separate from the bedrom for example.
Additionally, if the achitecture of your home allows for just one, why not use the room divider to design your space to accommodate both a living room AND a dining room?
While many prefer a large sweeping room where you can walk straight from the living room area to the dining table, many do not. Having a large sofa or armchair (facing the living room) as a boundary that blocks living room from dining room and alternatively filling empty space with a room divider will also achieve the feel of separate rooms when there is no wall.
2. The Center Table
Using the living room/dining room example, now that you have divided your space to accommodate both rooms, you have less space to work with for each. If your living room feels smaller than you would like, you might want to try rearranging things within the living room itself. Very large center tables can often add a crowded feel to the room. Try pushing a center table against a far wall or not having one at all. If you use only side tables for your living room couches/sofas/chairs, you might want to use a beautiful area rug (with nothing covering it) as the center point. This creates great space. A contrasting area rug can be nice against a pale colored carpet or hardwood floor.
3. Area Rugs
Choosing an area rug can set the stage for a lot of your decorating ideas. You may want to choose colors already in the rug and continue to use them in the theme of the room, such as in the throw pillows.
Think about colors, textures, materials. Give consideration to your final area rug selection so that it will be something you are happy with for a long time.
Texture, Color and More
4. Slip Covers
If you would like to revive an older couch but not go to the expense of buying a new one, slip covers are great. They not only protect the upholstery but can update the look. If you would like a new fabric, feel and color for your sofa and loveseat, it is recommended. You might choose a patterned color that complements a solid area rug or a solid color that matches one of the colors in a patterned area rug.
5. The Dining Table
Cover an old table with a table cloth fit to size (i.e.- be sure to get a round cloth for a round table and square or rectangular cloths respectively as needed). You might want to recall one of the colors from your living room decor.
For a table that is not worn and has been maintained with a pristine wood finish for example, I suggest that you allow the wood tabletop to show by not using a table cloth. If concerned about protecting the quality of the wood finish, you can routinely keep place settings of cloth napkins rolled in napkin rings and cloth mats on the table. This makes for a lovely display. Keep additional mats and napkins on hand in a cupboard, including some plastic mats and paper napkins that can be brought out at meal time, especially for kids.
Recommendations for center pieces if desired are a short vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of fruits (i.e.-apples or oranges) or a candle.
If you ever stayed in a luxurious hotel and wanted to bring that feeling home, you can mimic hotel decor by using crisp white linens and a very soft plush comforter with a duvet cover, and lots of pillows.
7. Shelves and Cabinets
A sufficient number of these is recommended to keep your home free of clutter. For bookshelves that you do not access frequently, try piling some books horizontally instead of vertically, to maximize space.
Aside from the books, various items can be places in a bookcase including souvenir trinkets and figurines for display or framed 4x6 pictures. Adding these to some of your shelf space gives a little flair.
Vertical cabinets are nice for storage and using minimal floor space. Some are designed especially for putting into corners. An adequately sized bathroom cabinet for example is a worthy investment. Monitior the height and width of the space you have available before choosing one in addition to what might already be built-in behind the wall mirror or under the sink. It is good to have a place to put all the hair products, lotions, etc. away.
In the kitchen and dining room, open shelving can be an alternative to the traditonal china cabinet for displaying your nicest diningware but be careful about rinsing the dishes before use and not allowing dust to accumulate.
Wicker baskets specifically can add a quaint and cozy feel to your home and are a good alternative to plastic bins or metal filing cabinets. Wicker baskets are functional for storing so many things including knitting yarn, home office papers/file folders or magazines. All it takes is consistency with what type of item each basket is used for. Designating a certain basket for each item is sure to keep you more organized.
The Trash and the Laundry
9. Paper Shredders and Recycling
Trash receptacles always seem to work best when there are separate ones next to each other for paper, plastic and aluminum, and non-recycables respectively. Keeping three such small bins in the kitchen, three in the bathroom and a paper wastebasket in your home office can do the trick. Shred personal documents before recycling. If you are equipped with a backyard, you might want to try composting.
Just as the trash can easily be sorted, laundry can be sorted by keeping whites, darks and colors in separate side by side hampers. You will not have to sort the laundry again when laundry day comes.