Too much stuff will compromise the look of your home. Find out how to tame the clutter, keep even small rooms looking spacious, and create style you’ll love to boot.
1 Make a place for everything
For an uncluttered home, everything needs somewhere to go. Obvious, right? But take a room-by-room tour and see if all you need to keep there has a home. Objects scattered over flat surfaces, shoes left in passageways, gaudy plastic cleaning sprays on show and so on all suggest that there’s not a dedicated and convenient place for all. Not everything needs closed storage, of course, but for an easy life and an elegant home, it all needs a location.
2 Store where you need things
Which brings us to… where you keep stuff. For clutter-free living, storage needs to be in the most convenient location otherwise at best it’s going to cost you time as you trek to get what you need and, at worst, it’s not going to be used. If shoes end up across the hallway floor, for example, then that’s where you require shoe storage, like the shoe bench shown above. If you need to access paperwork and you work in a living space, it’ll be easier to get out and then tidy safely away if it’s stashed there (and, no, it doesn’t have to spoil the lines of your room. See 6, below).
3 Address the access points
By the front door and/or the back door, depending how you use your home, are always going to be magnets for clutter as family members shed coats, shoes, boots, spare change, mobiles, the dog’s lead etc as they come in. The solution is to provide storage for everything that’s strewn here so it doesn’t block these entrances and exits. But think good looks, too. As the first part of the home you, your family and your guests see, handsome storage here is vital. Benches, console tables, peg rails and shelves will come to the rescue, or design your own solution with our modular units.
4 Pimp your desk
A cluttered desktop gives you less space to spread your work and it just doesn’t look good either. Try a gallery, shown above, for the back that lets you order and tidy. Not enough? Add shelving to one of our modular desks and you’ll get things off your working surface without putting them out of reach
5 Acknowledge the small things
Got drawers full of clutter? Assess whether it’s essential – and we’ll bet lots of it is, but recycle, re-home or bin, if necessary, the rest – and then opt for the drawer dividers or small containers that’ll make it findable and avoid tangles. Bear in mind tip 2, however. Small kitchen things go in the kitchen, but are you keeping objects here that rightly live on your desk? Guilty? See 4, above.
6 Be realistic about paper
Despite claims that everything can be kept in the cloud these days, there are still plenty of paper documents you have to retain – and some of them need safe storage for many years. Take a look at how much paper you need to stash, and give it an ordered home so you can find it speedily on the occasions it’s required. Don’t worry about the storage you choose making rooms look ugly, though. A filing ottoman, shown above, is an appealing piece finished in the fabric of your choice from our huge selection, or opt for painted filing cabinets that will co-ordinate with the rest of your home rather than looking like office cast-offs.
7 Create space for out-of-season stuff
Being able to put winter-only clothes away in summer and vice versa could make it easier to access what you need from your wardrobe or chest of drawers in the morning. Where to put them? Think ottomans, beds with built-in drawers, and benches. Bedding’s another candidate for tidying away until its time of year comes again.
8 Include storage pieces and two-in-one designs
Some of the furniture you need for storage is for that purpose alone. We’re talking shelving, cupboards, cabinets and so on. Some of it, however, can hide its function in plain sight. The latter means you can have, for example, the luxury of a footstool in your living room while it conceals the back issues of your favourite interiors magazine inside. Double-duty pieces like this can also add colour and interest to a decorating scheme. Dedicated storage furniture won’t let the side down, though, with the right choices. Its style, finish and the objects you store there or display will all make it a valuable part of a room scheme.
9 Work slim spaces
Even a small patch of floor can boost storage to help a room stay clutter free by giving a home to plain but necessary items. Try a slim wardrobe to boost clothes storage in a small bedroom; a slender larder in the kitchen; or add a petite cupboard to a utility room to store brooms, mops and cloths.
10 Think hideaway furniture
Pieces that let you shut the doors on what’s being stored can help a room feel clearer, calmer and more spacious. For example, if you work from home but you do it in a living space or bedroom, then hiding screen, keyboard and all that’s associated with them away will stop the blurring of home/work boundaries. Our armoire, shown above, is an all-one-office that won’t give away its function at the end of the working day. Equally, when the living room’s a social space, why contemplate the big black TV screen? Instead, try a media cabinet with doors.
11 Go high and go wide
Don’t be afraid to fit tall storage. That might mean wall cabinets up to ceiling height in the kitchen, as well as shelving, cubbies and cupboards with lofty dimensions in living spaces and bedrooms. Concerned that the storage at the top isn’t useful? Don’t be. There are always items that you need to keep but you don’t use often that can go at the top. There’s a caveat, though. Don’t let this option turn you into a hoarder. And go wide as well as tall. A wall of storage is space-efficient, taking up less space than individual pieces.
12 Corral into baskets
Open shelving is good looking with the right objects stored there, but if it contains a random assortment of things, or unlovely objects, use baskets for the items so your piece still looks smart. The rule? The baskets need to match otherwise you’re back at random assortment.
13 Try a tray or a trug
And while we’re talking random… Trays are your friend when it comes to a collection of objects such as what you need to keep out on the dressing table, or in the bathroom. Place your possessions on a smart painted tray and they’ll be transformed from clutter to coherent group.
14 Get things in proportion
While sufficient storage is important, a piece of larger proportions than you need can encourage hoarding and take more floor space that it needs to. In its place, use a design that is just right for the job. For example, in a guest bedroom, a sizeable wardrobe might not be too much but this French cupboard, shown above, provides just the right amount of space for visitors to unpack. Our modular designs can help here, too. You can combine just the units you need to design your own piece.
15 Conjure storage out of nowhere
OK, not exactly out of nowhere, but a small space that lacks the floor area for extra storage furniture still offers opportunity. Consider wall-hung cupboards, peg rails, shelving and peg shelves and pigeon shelves to tidy rooms without blocking circulation.