When you have a cluttered home, decorating your space may be the farthest thing from your mind. With too many knick-knacks on display and a generally mismatched and overwhelmed aesthetic, your home may feel stressful and anxiety-inducing. Still, take heart: even if you don’t have time right now to fully declutter your home, there are ways you can decorate your space to encourage clarity and enjoy a more restful vibe.
Less is More
As you begin your decorating journey, remember that less is more. This is nearly always true in design, but is particularly essential when you are already dealing with a cluttered space. Aim for simple patterns and colors that match what you already have (or match as much of it as possible). Avoid busy paintings, curtains with zigzags, and striking accent chairs.
If you have a knick-knack shelf, now is the time to clear it. Put back only those trinkets you really care about. If you are having a hard time deciding, don’t feel the need to KonMari your entire space right now. Instead, try rotating the items seasonally, so each treasured item gets displayed. This minor act of letting go will allow you a bit less clutter in sight at any given time.
Any knick-knacks that have functions of their own should be removed from service as mere display objects and returned to their job. That beautiful bud vase from your grandmother? Stash it where you keep gardening supplies and pull it out when you have fresh-cut flowers. No need to leave it sitting empty on your mantel at all times.
Stick to Design Schemes
If you simply can’t part with any of your clutter at this particular juncture, try organizing it to create a more unified look. For instance, perhaps you have a collection of antique books. Rather than keep them all on display in one place, sort them by color. Place all the red books in one room where they match the décor, and situate the purple books elsewhere where they will make an impact.
You can create similar design schemes throughout your home. By grouping like items together, your brain more easily views them as a unit, yielding a calming effect. Try pairing items by color, pattern, size, or type.
You should also give the classic triangle décor layout a try. Group like items and then display them on shelves in a triangle layout, so that three similarly sized, colored, or textured patterns form a triangle when you view the area from a distance. Continue creating triangles for a visually appealing design scheme.
Use Clever Storage
The world of storage has become chock full of options—colors, sizes, patterns, and textures galore are available. Take advantage of these choices when decorating your cluttered home. Choose a tan woven basket to tame all of your throw pillows. It makes a statement in the corner of your living room, while minimizing the distraction a variety of pillows might cause.
For smaller trinkets, use vases or jars to corral and store. Place your candles, seashells, or thimbles in an elegant container and allow it to become a focal point of its own. This technique works well if your home’s clutter includes small storage containers, since you can declutter by using items you already own.
Other ways to declutter your home while decorating include choosing pieces that do double duty. For instance, a good storage ottoman with clean lines works wonders in a messy living room. An elegant sideboard with hidden drawers or cabinets makes a congested dining room feel much more sophisticated. In a bedroom, a hope chest or even under-bed storage can be pleasing to the eye while also allowing you to stash belongings you aren’t yet ready to part with.
Use the Power of Vertical Lines
When organizing a cluttered home, let height work to your advantage. Floating shelves can display your entire knick-knack collection as high on your wall as you like. Tall bookshelves, especially corner units, allow you to corral all of your trinkets without a large footprint.
In a crowded kitchen, create visual interest with above-cabinet storage or even a pot rack over your island or stove. This lends a rustic aesthetic that can be appealing if done properly. However, you should avoid simply stashing unwanted kitchen junk in places that are highly visible. Doing so in a highly trafficked room can create a great deal of visual stress.