10 Decorating Tips for New (and Not-So-New) Home Owners

Cleaning how-tos, furniture arrangements, and color questions were just a few of the decorating tips you searched for in the past year.

This year, much of our time was spent at home, and lingering motivations to make our spaces more comfortable, liveable, and functional stuck around from 2020. But there were some topics our readers wanted to learn about most when it came to decorating their homes.

Cleaning how-tos, including items like leather and wood furniture, as well as common decorating and furniture arranging mistakes were some of the most-searched topics on our site. Many also looked for ways to create a polished, uncluttered look. Here, we dive into the top 10 decorating lessons you clicked on most in 2021 so you can achieve a home you love.

10. How to Clean Leather Furniture and Apparel

Caring for leather furniture can seem intimidating but there are benefits to choosing this tricky material for your home. Leather is long-lasting, easy to care for, highly durable, and has a steady temperature throughout the year. When cleaning leather, it's important to test on a hidden area first to see how the leather will react. From there, clean up spills as soon as they happen. If a persistent stain remains, consult with a leather specialist to help prevent any further damage.

white kitchen green tile backsplash open shelves wooden floors
Adam Albright

9. How to Incorporate Design Trends into Your Home

The past year prompted many of us to reinvent our homes. Several design trends began to blossom, including dedicated activity spaces and nods to nature as people began to move the outdoors indoors throughout the pandemic. Flexible designs also became essential as more time was spent inside. Incorporating popular design ideas doesn't have to be difficult or expensive; learn more about the top 2021 decorating trends and how to use them in your home.

8. How to Make Your Home Look Pulled Together

There are four common decorating mistakes that prevent your home from appearing pulled together, according to interior designers. Taking the time to measure your space and your furniture (sometimes twice) is an essential first step. If the furniture doesn't fit the room, your space will look cluttered. Making rooms feel cohesive and personal also helps turn a house into a home. But don't be afraid to show off your personal style consistently throughout your home.

7. How to Style Awkward Spaces

Those tight corners and odd-shaped spaces in your home require you to embrace quirks and think creatively. But functionality is possible in even the most awkward areas with the right furniture, accessories, and vision. A shallow spare closet or a long entryway can easily be updated when given a purpose. Here's how to bring stylish solutions to hidden corners and overlooked spaces.

coral hanging shelf and round mirror in entryway
Maria-Carla Atencio

6. How to Safely Hang a Heavy Mirror

Mirrors can easily trick the eye into making a room look larger and brighter. But properly hanging a heavy mirror is key, even if the task seems daunting. First, determine if you have drywall or plaster walls; this will help you gather the correct tools. Determining the mirror weight and where the wall studs are located will also make the process easier. Remember to use a level to make sure your mirror is balanced and use a pencil to mark your measurements.

5. How to Clean Wood Furniture

Wood furniture will never go out of style, whether from a thrift store or passed down as a family heirloom. However, wood furniture can be difficult to keep clean. Dusting wood furniture with a classic feather duster or lint-free cloth is the first step to maintaining wood furniture. Next, try a homemade recipe of equal parts olive oil, denatured alcohol, gum turpentine, and strained lemon juice. Apply the homemade cleaner with a soft cloth, then use a clean cloth to buff the wood furniture.

living room gray couch black table
Brie Williams

4. How to Style a Gray Sofa

When it comes to furnishing your living room, a gray sofa is a timeless piece that looks great with every design aesthetic. The neutral fabric allows you to experiment with colors elsewhere in your space, and gray sofas go well with mustard yellow, blush pink, metallic finishes, an array of whites, and more. Pair bold colors with your gray couch to create a statement or decorate with cool neutrals for a contemporary look. Here are more ways to flawlessly style a gray sofa.

3. How to Arrange Your Furniture

Arranging furniture is a perennial concern among homeowners, and how to properly position furniture depends on the shape, size, and function of your room. However, these 27 no-fail arranging tricks can help you organize your items to fashion a liveable space. With ideas for small spaces, open floor plans, and awkwardly shaped rooms, these furniture arrangements take the hard work out of this home decorating duty.

warm rustic living room with poufs and fireplace
Dane Tashima

2. How to Fix Your Room's Traffic Flow

Arranging furniture in the optimal layout isn't always easy. Common furniture mistakes can sabotage your room and make it feel unbalanced or overcrowded. Using too much furniture, placing your rug in the wrong spot, and ignoring traffic flow are a few oversights that can impede the function of even the prettiest rooms. These 20 furniture arranging mistakes are easily avoidable and simple to fix, so don't fret.

1. How to Make Your Home Look Less Messy

A messy home (and how to combat it) was your top concern in 2021. Maintaining a tidy home is a top priority, but simple decorating mistakes can make your home look cluttered and messy. For a polished look, less can often be more. Avoid using too many colors, piling on accent pillows, solely relying on open storage, and placing too many accessories on surfaces. These quick fixes will transform your messy space into a put-together room.

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