Decluttering Anyone? How Do You Make Your House "Homey"?

Updated on September 13, 2010
L.D. asks from San Angelo, TX
21 answers

Hello. I have been decluttering for a couple of years. I despise all knicknacks, figurines, etc... I feel our house looks and feels larger and I will do more as I get time. I only regret getting rid of certain toys that a child later asked for(after agreeing to sell or donate them),but we got over that. I ended up having to buy maybe 3 items again over the years(cooking tongs, a tool of my husbands, and a toy). I spend less time cleaning, looking for things, and straightening up. I have more time to relax and live.
My question is how do you make a home look homey and less sterile? I can't have curtains, extra pillows or blankets, dried flowers, and such do to allergies. We have limited wall space as ours is an open floor plan.

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So What Happened?

Our living area has deep blue walls and every bedroom/bathroom has a different color(boys rooms blue, girls room pink, our room deep red). Our couches are dark brown leather and our living room tables are dark brown.
I have had tatouage at other homes, but we have very textured walls here and my husband doesn't really like it.

More Answers



answers from Honolulu on

-Frame pictures/art work of what your children make.... and date it.
-Frame family photos and display it.
-Put flowers in the home, if you are not allergic. Putting herbs, in a vase is also real pretty and smells good too. Basil and lavender is real nice. I do that.
- put out things, that reflect your personality and interests... ie: books, sculpture, colors that you like. "Warm" tones, makes a room more 'cozy' feeling, versus 'cool' colors...
- Put houseplants in your home... not dried flowers.
- use cool looking baskets, to put the toys in, in each room. These are also decorative as well and look nice. And it keeps things all in one place.
- You can still use pillows etc., by using fabrics that do not have much fuzz on it or collect dust. ie: leather, or more sleek looking fabrics...
- use 'homey' looking lighting: lamps, cool looking shades on it etc.

good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

You can do one wall a different color, with a large piece of art on it.

In lieu of curtains, have moldings and chair rail installed around windows. Do a beadboard wall or a board and batten wall... very easy diy project, instructions here:

One of my fav decorators is a minimalist. You can get tons of ideas from her:

Go with large objects instead of lots of little knickknacks... like a large lantern, or urn, or a large ball and finial. It has more design impact, but less clutter and less to dust.

Maybe even one large and fancy apothecary jar with faux moss balls or something.

like here:


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

art!, and photos of the kids, in frames, blown up and otherwise

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Tea light candles :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'm with you--I can't stand junk. I do have my seasonal knicknacks, but once the season is over they are all put in one plastic box and stored away. I love my pergo floors. They are easy to maintain and do not hold in allergens like carpet. I put colorful rugs on them. It makes my home feel clean and homey. I make sure that the rugs I buy are washable. Once it gets worn out, throw it out and replace it--don't save it. I agree with the other posters--put up pictures of your kids, re-paint walls, the less junk the better. Get yourself window treatments like shades or blinds. Verticals are pretty easy to clean. Most shades just require dusting. The one thing that really stands out in my living room is that I have a beautiful flower arrangement that I made myself. I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a vase that matches my furniture/decor and some silk flowers that I change every season. I get many compliments on my flower arrangement. I've also found many beautiful things for my rooms at Pier 1 (they have an awesome selection of decor).


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We sound very similar! I get the shivers from "clutter" and really don't like "dust collectors" around my house. We also have an open floor plan, but have found that finding unusual places to have framed family photos makes it feel thoughtful and welcoming.

In our kitchen, we have about 8" between the top of our cabinets and the ceiling- I have a small rectangular tray that holds large wooden blocks. I change them out with the season and they spell different themes words "hope" "love" "thanks". I have it angled over the corner to add some dimension and to draw the eye up. We also put an ornate wine holder and some framed photos on top of the fridge.

In the other rooms of the house, we have framed art and photos on the walls and made sure to paint the walls warm and neutral. We use a lot of unique and quirky table lamps to add color and texture and have mixed up the ceiling fixtures too. We have wood floors, so we have used large patterned rugs to keep that house from feeling cold and not lived-in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Try burning some non-scented candles. Nothing says, "welcome." like the warm glow of candles.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Picture frames. You can also get a rotating digital picture frame. Framing some of your kids artwork and displaying them in the kitchen. How about instead of dired flowers get a few decorative brightly colored vases. There are tons of antique colored glass out there right now. You would probably hate my house. =)
Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I don't like clutter/knick-nacks either! Personally, I like to paint each room with a color. I don't know if your walls are white or not, but to me it makes a big difference. I think pretty rugs in rich colors, colorful artwork or family photos on the walls, and plants help to make a house look homey. I just looked around our house...some other suggestions are baskets to put things in, and use warm colors (reds, browns, adobe, pumpkin, light yellow light beige etc). Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Maybe some unique wall paint treatments or vinyl wall stickers. They have some really neat wall stickers out - not just words and phrases - but trees, flowers, etc. I am trying to do the same thing as far as de-cluttering in our home, but now it looks a little sterile with the white walls.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Candles! But not just for look at...for lighting! Totally sets the mood!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

That works for yall and more power to ya! But I love my clutter. My house is homey because it is home to me, my people, and my stuff. My things have soul. My things contain a tiny bit of the essence of the person, place, or situation I got them from. They take me back and give me pause to smile and reminisce. I have collected books from differant times, people, and places in my life. I like to stack them with a candle or plant on top, or line some on a book shelf next to a picture of friends or family. I use them to add height to a lamp. I use them to delineate a nook as a reading area. I like to sprinkle a few of my kids childhood faves in between the heavy hitters of religion, philosophy, and science. I have all sorts of statues of Buddha, Ganesh, African talismen, primitive musical instruments, all manor of traditional to modern crosses, classic toys, you name it. If you pick up something in my house, there is always a story to go with it. I walk through my house and feel proud of the life I have been blessed with. When I pass, I want people to be be amazed at the places I've been and the people I've met. Not impressed by how organized and dust free I was!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

- kids artwork on the walls & fridge (framed or unframed)
- tiffany lamps
- candid family photos
- xmas lights (the white ones)
- "hobby" or "passion" stuff. We have musical instruments and books all over the walls and this season's sports stuff in easy reach and the telescope in the bay window, my brother has signed hockey gear - photos and a stick over a doorframe and his wine collection out in view, one of my oldest friends has all of her camera gear on hooks lining the walls. Whatever you and your family love and enjoy... whether it's a chess set that lives on the coffee table, or a skateboard tucked beside the door. Things that you use/do/make you happy.



answers from San Antonio on

Although you have limited wall space, you can have some type of homey wall decoration on what you do have. Also, on tables and things, instead of knickknacks which you don't like anyway, put things like picture frames with your kids' pictures in them. I am not fond of too many knickknacks, but (before our house was on the market) we had pictures of the kids and the family everywhere. To me, a family photo looks less cluttered than a knickknack. People actually stop and look at it; it has a purpose.
Good luck!



answers from Provo on

I agree with Momma L: add some architecture to the walls. And a rug or two on the floor. Make sure you have good lighting. And then paint. Choose colors that feel to you how you want others to feel. Warm tones with do just that to a space: warm it up. Good luck!!



answers from Topeka on

I have thrown out all knick knacks all I have is pictures,Willow Tree figures that represent me & my family wall hangings blinds on my windows.Eveyrthing has a place in my home I know where everything goes and doesn't belong.Having 3 kids I have a place for everthing if it becomes too much in their room I must put some items away in a tote in the attic at a later time they can bring it out again as long as some other toys are put away or donated.I trash or donate everything there isn't a "Junk Pile"from the mail, magazines get read then recycled.My tables must me free & clear.I don't have the perfect home but as long as it is neat & tidy no sticky ickness i'm a happy mom



answers from Austin on

Yay for decluttering! I can't stand knick knacks either. One thing I do to warm a place up is display one interesting sculpture or large piece of vintage pottery. Also large lamps that act as sculpture are great too. If your place is feeling sterile, avoid overhead lighting. Just use lamps at different heights. Check out for lots of minimalist decorating ideas.



answers from Eugene on

We have a really small house, with no play area set aside for my toddler. Her toys, activity table, etc are right in our living room, so I need t work hard to make it still look like adult space. So I try hard to not use any plastic to store my daughters toys. I think plastic makes things look so sterile and institutional. Instead I use nice wicker and fabric baskets to store all her little odds and ends. Also, her little activity table and chairs and other bigger toys are wooden in the same color tone as our furniture, that way they match well and don't stand out. We also got her a little comfy upholstered chair and footstool at TJ Maxx that almost matches ours perfectly, so our sofa and chair and our daughters looks like a set.

We also try to keep as many of her toys inside cupboards to reduce clutter. We have a magazine rack to stash extra mags and books and we try to keep all paperwork stuff in the office instead of the living room where it can get out of hand.

Anyway, try baskets and wood to make everything look more natural. Good luck!



answers from Houston on

What a question! I'll look forward to the responses.

I hate knick-knacky type things. If it does not serve a purpose and cannot be useful, then I don't want it taking up space just for the heck of it. Also, my husband and I fight (not really) often about his need to fill wall space. Whenever we are planning to host an event at our house, he goes out and buys something for the wall, even if he doesn't particularly care for it. He just wants to hang a picture. That is the craziest thing to me. I send him right back to the store to get our money back. I want things to be neat, but otherwise, I really could not care less about what people think of how my house looks, if it looks "complete" or "homey". It's my project, and I plan to be there for a while, so I have time to get what I like. Meanwhile, I don't plan to put off socializigng at home.



answers from Houston on

IKEA has pillow covers for their throw pillows. Those can be easily removed, washed, and replaced. A simple window treatment of a sheer draped over a decorative rod is lovely AND washable as well.

Rugs add punch, as well as a couple of well placed large items. I saw something the other day I would have totally bought for an entry or kitchen or dining room if I wasn't already selling my house. It was a potters shelf and it was simple and charming and could have a dual purpose like collect mail and school work in decorative baskets or used as a sideboard with dishes.

I understand the allergy concern, my husband has asthma so we have to keep things dust free as well.

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