19 Common Decorating Mistakes That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

Written By Babatunde Sanni

Clutter makes your home look smaller and is also associated with negative feelings of anxiety and depression. To rid your home of this mess and keep your space organized and inviting, here are 19 mistakes to stop making.

Neglecting Vertical Space

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Your vertical space gives you more options to store your property; when you ignore it, it’s almost inevitable that your horizontal space suffers. Like Homes & Gardens shares, some of the best ways to utilize vertical space are to install wall-mounted shelves, tall cabinets, and wall-mounted furniture.

Overcrowding with Furniture

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One of the most likely causes of clutter in your home is that you either use too many pieces of furniture or your furniture is too large for your space. To eliminate clutter, especially in a small living room, you must get rid of redundant pieces and use only essential furniture that suits your room’s size.

Unorganized Cables and Wires

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Tangled cables and wires everywhere can disorganize your room and create mental clutter. To avoid this, you could consider using cable management solutions like clips and magnets or even going entirely wireless with devices that support such technology.

Poor Lighting Choices

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A well-lit room appears more spacious and welcoming. Insufficient lighting or a single light source can create a gloomy, cluttered atmosphere, while layered lighting, including ambient, task, and accent lights, brightens the space and highlights different areas. Consider adding floor lamps or sconces to enhance lighting diversity.

Skimping on Storage Furniture

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A lack of functional furniture that can be used for storage can also lead to cluttered surfaces. Some of the best pieces of multifunction furniture include a convertible sofa bed, expandable tables, wall desks, and beds with shelves under them. These adequate storage options help reduce the amount of furniture you need.

Keeping Unnecessary Items

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Holding onto items that are no longer needed also contributes to clutter, as you only accumulate more things to store in your space. Regularly discarding items through seasonal clean-outs, for instance, ensures that your space remains free from unnecessary possessions. If you have a severe hoarding disorder, you should seek professional help, which may involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Excessive Decor Items

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Choose a few meaningful or visually striking pieces to display, as too many decorative items can overwhelm a space. Rotating decorations seasonally or periodically can keep the look fresh without overcrowding surfaces with unnecessary items. Also, you can store off-season decor in labeled boxes to reduce visual noise.

Mismatched Storage Solutions

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Using a variety of mismatched storage bins and baskets can create visual chaos, so it’s always better to opt for cohesive storage solutions that match your décor. Uniform storage containers help maintain a tidy appearance and ensure everything has a designated place, reducing visible clutter. Custom labels can also enhance organization.

Overstuffed Shelves

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Overloading shelves with books, knickknacks, and other items creates a cluttered look. Curate your collections and leave some empty space on each shelf, as this approach highlights individual items and provides visual breathing room. Use decorative boxes to store smaller items and keep shelves orderly.

Lack of a Focal Point

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Avoid placing too many competing elements in one area because rooms without a clear focal point can seem chaotic. Choosing a central piece, like a fireplace, artwork, or a statement piece of furniture, is always good to anchor the room. A defined focal point helps organize the space and distracts attention from clutter.

Disregarding Traffic Flow

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Arrange furniture to allow easy movement through the room since placing furniture in a way that obstructs natural pathways creates a congested feel. This layout enhances functionality and contributes to a more spacious and organized environment. You can start by removing obstacles that hinder access to frequently used areas.

Overuse of Patterns and Colors

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Too many patterns and colors can overwhelm a space and create visual clutter. Stick to a cohesive color palette and limit the number of patterns. A harmonious color scheme and selective use of patterns result in a more polished and less overwhelming appearance. And while doing this, you can accent with neutrals to balance bold patterns, for example.

Forgotten Entryway Organization

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An organized entryway welcomes guests and reduces the risk of clutter spreading to other areas, while a cluttered entryway sets a disorganized tone for the rest of the home. To maintain order, provide ample storage for shoes, coats, and bags, keep surfaces clear, and install hooks and small storage units.

Cluttered Countertops

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Kitchen and bathroom countertops cluttered with appliances and products can cramp the space. Instead, you should store seldom-used items in cabinets and only keep essentials on the countertops. This is especially enticing when you consider that clear surfaces make cleaning easier and create a more open look.

Inconsistent Decor Themes

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Mixing different decor styles without a cohesive plan can also create a chaotic feel. Instead, choose a theme or style and stick to it throughout the room. Consistency in decor themes brings harmony to the space and reduces the visual clutter of mismatched items. Harmonize different styles with common colors and textures.

Neglecting Under-Bed Storage

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Under-bed space often goes unused, leading to clutter in other areas. Utilize storage bins or drawers under the bed to store out-of-season clothing or seldom-used items. This hidden storage solution keeps belongings both organized and out of sight. Vacuum-sealed bags can further maximize this storage area without breaking the bank.

Misusing Display Cabinets

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Display cabinets filled to the brim with items can look cluttered. Select a few key pieces to showcase and leave some space around each item. A well-curated display allows each piece to stand out and avoids the cluttered look of overfilled cabinets. Rotate displayed items to keep the look fresh.

Ignoring Closet Organization

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Use organizers, shelves, and bins to keep closets tidy, as disorganized closets can lead to clutter spilling into the living space. A well-organized closet makes it easier to find items while also preventing the accumulation of clutter outside the closet. You can label shelves and bins to maintain an orderly system.

Overlooked Paperwork

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Stacks of paperwork can quickly and easily clutter a space, so it’s important to establish a filing system and regularly sort through and file important documents. Keeping paperwork organized and out of sight maintains a tidy appearance and makes it easier to find necessary papers. Digitize documents where possible to reduce physical clutter.

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