How To Make Your Home Look Cleaner Than It Actually Is

It's a natural law of physics that homes get messy. But what can we do about it? As expert Mila Kunst points out in the informative article What's Hiding In Your Cleaning Products?, many common household products such as soaps, stain removers and shampoos contain hidden toxins and chemicals that are dangerous to our health. Fortunately, along with the safer cleaning solutions Kunst recommends, there are plenty of other risk-free ways to ensure a pristine living space. One of which is decorating!

Indeed, the decorating choices we make can also work toward creating a clean aesthetic, promoting a sense of either disorder or calm, depending on how we arrange items and furniture in the space. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to chaos and visual stimulation. Fortunately, Apartment Therapy is here to offer tips and considerations for creating an atmosphere that gives the illusion of less mess.

Fewer Colors 

 (Image credit:  Mike Hetu )

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Figuring out how to combine several different colors, with just enough repetition so as not to overwhelm, is key to creating a room that feels integrated and pulled together, while also appearing lived in. Clashing is never good, but you don't want overly match-y either. If you want to vary the color without going overboard, consider including multiple shades of a single color instead. Subtle variations on a single hue will add depth and richness to the room.

Furniture With Same Scale

 (Image credit:  Breanne Johnsen )

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Chairs with the identical backs create a continuous line, the impression of order and tidiness. On the other hand, a variety of mismatched heights busy the brain as it tries to process the information. If you want to keep your home feeling clean, stick to similar geometrical shapes and sizes.

Consistent Style

 (Image credit:  Claire Bock )

(Image credit: Claire Bock)

Homes that layer in different styles are eclectic and interesting. But too much mixing confuses the eye, and can be somewhat distracting. Unsure where to focus, our vision doesn't know where to land, and ultimately, we wind up feeling unhappy and ill at ease. Like Noah on his ark, keep your styles two by two: give each piece of a certain style at least one companion who shares a color, time period, or finish. Using common characteristics to connect the disparate design elements, you allow the gaze to float through your space smoothly.

Large Statement Art

 (Image credit:  Marie-Lyne Quirion )

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

When decorating an empty wall, hanging multiple varied frames on the wall are a great way to fill a large space. The drawback here is the visual clutter this creates. No matter how artful and well-balanced the gallery wall arrangement may be, to some eyes it might look haphazard and messy. One large piece of artwork gets the job done, and keeps things on the simpler side. Depending on how eye-catching the image is, it can steal the show or balance out the room. Your choice!


 (Image credit:  Kim Lucian )

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

In Feng Shui, harmony stems from symmetry. Just as a crooked picture can make us feel off kilter, a room that's out of balance can have a similar effect. Symmetry is a simple way to achieve visual balance and provide the sense of order and control our minds crave. Adding items in pairs is a natural way to create the sense of order in a space — it will take care of visual balance while simultaneously creating rhythm. On the other hand, decor that doesn't perfectly reflect itself is not only an OCD-sufferers nightmare; it will fail to create the same sense of security, peace, and order for anyone in the room. Remember: While symmetry is attractive in catalogues, perfection can often give a hands-off vibe that doesn't work for a real-life home. So make sure to add evidence of life, such as a woven throw blanket.