7 Decorating Mistakes That Make Your Home Look Messy

organized living area
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Everyone knows that the key to a livable, functioning home is to first keep it clutter-free. But if your cabinets and closets are perfectly organized and your home still feels disheveled, mini design mistakes could be to blame. Adjusting just a few things you may not have previously considered may very well be the key to a settled, visually stunning, and organized home. Small accents, like tabletop décor, art, and your tech gear (and dreaded cables!) all add up to a negative or positive influence on a room. So to help you conquer the nuance and nitty-gritty of organized home design, we've corralled some do's and don'ts, and inspiration photos of particularly beautiful, orderly rooms. For even more ideas and how-to's, check out our small space organizing tips.

01 of 07

Don't Overstuff a Room

organized living area
Laurey W. Glenn

First, of course, are the largest objects in a room: the furniture. The two things to think about here are scale and placement. Furniture that is too large for a room overwhelms it; ensure your furniture is appropriate for your room size and the other pieces in that room. Next, allow some furniture to float. Having all your pieces shoved against walls disallows natural flow through the room.

02 of 07

Do Consider Your Textiles

organized lake house
Nancy Nolan

Next, think about textiles. Ill-fitted slipcovers guarantee a messy look. Neatly fold and smooth out throw blankets. And last but certainly not least, carefully fluff throw pillows. Check out design and style expert Phoebe Howard's guide to arranging sofa pillows.

03 of 07

Don't Neglect the Entry

Entry Way Decorating
Laurey W.Glenn

This is the first space guests will see. It should be inviting, functional, and a representation of your family's home. One of our favorite tips? "My mother always had a red Oriental rug in our front hall to take Virginia's dark red clay soil off your feet," says Bunny Williams. "She'd say, 'Look at the color of your soil, and get a rug with that background.' "

04 of 07

Do Address TVs and Other Technology

organized media center
Laurey W. Glenn

Tech cables, cords, and plugs are the bane of contemporary existence: You can't live with them, and you certainly can't live without them. But you can hide them. Tuck the TV away in an armoire, or arrange a gallery wall around it to keep it from feeling like a black hole in the space.

05 of 07

Don't Skimp on Rug Size

Organized Girls Bedroom
Laurey W.Glenn

An appropriately sized rug can make a room feel polished and sometimes even bigger than it is. While smaller rug sizes can be much cheaper, splurging for the 8x10, 9x12, or the largest size appropriate for your space can save you in the long run. The right size rug, plus thoughtful furniture placement, adds up to a clean, pulled-together room.

06 of 07

Do Choose Wall Decor Wisely

Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam Charleston, SC Home Blue and White Bedroom
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

A gallery wall is a smart move for bringing color and interest to any room in the house. The trick to making it work? Break out the measuring tape and position them in a tidy layout. Hanging your art and photos haphazardly is a quick way to make your collection feel more chaotic than inspiring.

07 of 07

Don't Bring in Too Many Colors

Blue and green have a natural soulmate thing going. “They make a good pair because we’re used to seeing the colors of grass and sky together, and it always feels optimistic, energetic,” Braff says. “Plus, it’s a good combo for going all in on color—famili
Photo: David A. Land; styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty and Rachael Burrow

While we'll always love a home filled with happy hues, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. When considering paint colors and fabrics, pick a mix of shades and patterns that complement each other, rather than ones that compete for your attention.

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