How is it that magazines manage to make real homes look so impossibly clean? Besides disinfecting counters, scrubbing grout and mopping floors, there's one more secret photo-ready homes hide — the styling tricks for a neat and tidy look.
These are little details stylists never fail to notice but most of us wouldn't immediately pick up on. Small things like neatly folded towels and carefully arranged throw pillows add to the overall impression that your home is clean, even if they don't actually reflect whether your shelves are dust-free or your counters are germ free.
An added bonus: All of these styling tricks can be achieved in a fraction of the time it takes to actually deep-clean your entire home. Once you've completed your weekly cleaning routine, take an extra 15 minutes to complete these styling tricks. It's amazing what a difference a few folds and fluffs and some fresh flowers can make.
1. Fold your bath towels.
Some of the best clean-home styling tricks are likely to be spotted in your favorite hotel. You know when you walk into a hotel bathroom and are greeted by a pile of clean, fluffy, white towels? You can create that same feeling in your home bathroom. Follow these steps: Fold clean towels lengthwise into thirds. Then fold them in half widthwise and repeat the fold a second time. Position the towels so the rounded side (rather than the folded edge) faces the room.
2. Buy fresh flowers.
Check out any home featured in a magazine, and you'll probably notice one thing they all have in common: fresh flowers. Besides being pretty, there's something about fresh flowers that gives any room the impression that it's clean and thoughtfully cared for. Choose a fragrant variety, like roses or hyacinths, for a floral aroma, only adding to the impression that the room is clean.
3. Fluff the throw pillows.
A clean-looking living room is often more about styling than it is about actually disinfecting. Fluff the throw pillows so that they don't creep into the crevices of your couch. It's a small thing, but position the pillows so that the zipper of the cover or the back seam is facing toward the couch, rather than facing the room. Neatly refold and arrange any throw blankets. If you have extra blankets, stow them away in a basket or bin.
4. Load the dishwasher right away.
The telltale sign of an unclean kitchen? That unsightly pile of dirty dishes collecting in the sink. To avoid this, get in the habit (and have your family do the same) of loading your dishwasher as soon as you use a cup or plate. If you skip the sink entirely, your kitchen will always look cleaner.
5. Curate your decor.
Have you ever heard Coco Chanel's famous styling advice: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off"? Well, this mantra holds true for home decor too. Take a look at the tchotchkes collected on your mantel, bookshelves or side tables, and remove at least one — or, depending upon the clutter, two or three. A more minimalist display gives the items room to breathe and lets more surface area show, which helps the area look clean and curated.
6. Embrace clean lines and right angles.
There's something about a 90-degree angle that our brains automatically associate with order. Go ahead and embrace this by lining up your sofa and side table to create a right angle, or fold your dishcloths into a clean line rather than leaving them crumpled on the counter. The same concept works inside your cabinets: Line up products neatly in your medicine cabinet or pantry, and invest in drawer dividers that make it easier to arrange belongings in tidy rows.
7. Try some trays.
Have a bunch of beauty products hanging out on your bathroom counter? How about olive oil and spice jars on your kitchen table? Invest in a few shallow trays to corral these items and they'll instantly look more organized. If you're stashing frequently used spices and condiments on your kitchen counter, consider a Lazy Susan, which will make it easier to grab what you need quickly.