How to have a tidy home if you like clutter
I think we all know I like clutter. I am totally not in the minimalist interiors camp, with sparse surfaces, fuss free décor and lots of blank space. When it comes to our home, I am a maximalist through and through, and every inch of free space is adorned with vases, candles, plant pots and nick-knacks. Funny word aside, I bloody love a nick-knack.
It takes a great deal of care and attention to create a space filled with clutter that doesn’t look like a junk shop. The trinkets and decorative accessories have to be placed in an orderly fashion and there is endless faffing to be done to make sure they’re in just the right spot and you’re happy with how they look. I find other-halves never understand this and start to lose interest after you’ve asked them 542 times if something looks “okay there?”, or “better there?”, or “here! What about here?”. For the interiors obsessed however, an afternoon spent rearranging objects and lunging back to admire/assess them more often than in a Legs, Bums & Tums exercise class is time well spent.
Shopping can be a problem for the eclectic home owner, especially when in close proximity to a branch of Homesense, and it can be tricky to sometimes fit in all of your home accessories without having to retire a few to the garage/loft/garden shed/spare room of doom.
But readers, there is always a way to fit everything in and make it look pretty. Luckily for you, I’m going to share my five tips for creating a tidy home, if like me, you love a bit of clutter.
UTILISE ALL SURFACES
As mentioned above, I fill all free space with homeware and I really think you can do this without it looking a mess. I find the best thing to do is take everything away from a space, be that a sideboard, mantelpiece, or bar cart, and look at that space with fresh eyes. Ask yourself the following:
How best can I utilise it?
What can I add that creates different heights, shapes and textures?
Am I keeping it within a set colour scheme or using lots of different colour?
Can I add any greenery or flowers?
Think of all surface spaces (other than your kitchen worktops and dining table as you have to admit defeat here and keep some free space to cook and eat) as an opportunity to create individual focal points of interest that represent you and your home.
RUN OUT OF SPACE? USE THE WALLS
Walls are a great opportunity for styling and adding interest without losing any space in your home. Some of my favourite ideas are using picture ledges and wall shelves, adding hanging planters and creating gallery walls.
Ikea do two sizes of picture ledges, costing under £5 or £10 each, and I have lots of them in our house. We’ve used them for spice racks in the kitchen, as bar shelves in the dining room and to display decorative homeware in the living room and bedroom. Want a top tip? Paint them the same colour as your wall (I’ve used both wood paint and normal emulsion on them and either works fine) and they’ll blend in and look a bit more like bespoke shelving.
You can get some stunning wall shelves these days and they don’t just have to be plain wood. Think shelves with brass brackets, black metal industrial shelving, reclaimed wooden boards and cool retro string style. Shelving can add extra storage in the kitchen for pretty plates, oils and spices or as open shelving for jars of pasta etc or you can display books, vinyl or lots of lovely homeware.
Hanging planters are a great invention. If you don’t have space to display loads of plant pots or floor planters, then just hang them from your ceiling! You can get a range of different hooks that simply screw into the plaster of your ceiling to hang your planters and it really is as simple as that. They also look great hanging off shelf brackets.
Creating a gallery wall probably sounds a bit scary but it honestly doesn’t need to be. Everyone will do this differently, but this is how I do it (it probably should be called ‘the lazy girls guide to creating a gallery wall): I just put one print up and then work from there, deciding where to put the next one and then the one after that and so on. I don’t use cardboard cut outs of the frames, try it out on the floor first or measure anything. We recently did this up our staircase and it worked out just fine. Call me reckless.
BOOKS CAN BE USEFUL & DECORATIVE
I don’t keep a lot of books. Once I’ve read a novel, I’ll pass it on or donate it to a charity shop. However, I keep coffee table books about interiors and music and I have many, many cookbooks. I personally think that bookshelves can look a bit messy if they’re not given care and attention and often it’s a place to just shove stuff out of the way, books or not. But if they are used in the right way, bookshelves can look rather lovely.
Colour coordinating your bookshelves is an easy and effective idea and I also think that displaying your books both vertically and horizontally works well to mix things up but still look neat. Adding a few decorative accessories alongside your books always adds a bit of interest and utilises space too.
We’ve used a cheap Ikea wall shelf to create a cookbook shelf in our kitchen and we painted the wall brackets the same colour as our kitchen units and woodwork, so it blends in a bit more. It works really well, and people often comment on how much they like it.
Books are also a good addition when you’re decorating your surfaces as they create height when stacked (three books always work well) and you can then put decorative objects on top of them – thus adding more accessories but gaining more space to display your homeware!
A TRAY CAN BE A VERY USEFUL & PRETTY THING
Oh, I just love a tray. If you feel like your decorative items don’t look right just dotted about on your sideboard, chest of drawers or table, then introduce a pretty tray. Think brass, a bright colour or even a patterned one.
A tray joins them altogether and makes a feature rather than having a collection of items that don’t work on their own. My favourite items for a bit of tray love are a candle or two, a plant (or two if you have a small succulent and a small-medium plant) and a couple of nick-knacks. 3 or 5 items is the magic number here.
Trays can also work well in the kitchen for your oils, dressings and salt and pepper and also in the bathroom for your creams, perfume and body lotions. Another little tip? Always display the prettiest products in the nicest packaging for maximum effect. The others can be utilised in my next tip…
BOXES & BASKETS ARE MORE THAN JUST STORAGE
Aswell as a tray, I also love a basket. A couple of years ago I went to Marrakech and got very excited by all of the pom pom baskets in The Souks, and to this day, still regret not buying more. If you ever go to Marrakech, take an extra suitcase just for the pom pom goodies.
Baskets are a wonderful thing to use in your home. Not only do they look pretty but they are extremely useful. You can hang them on hooks to create a feature and store things in them at the same time or display them on your dressing table to store make-up, toiletries and jewellery. They also look good as plant pots, magazine holders or log baskets.
Boxes are another useful addition and I personally have lots of those flat-pack patterned Ikea boxes that only cost a few quid but are great for storing paperwork, socks and tights and stationary. They fit neatly underneath lots of my furniture too and are both stylish and useful. Suitcases are something which work equally well, and you can get colourful options on the high street or pick-up vintage ones in antique shops that look really cool on top of wardrobes or chest of drawers.