A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house when the doorbell rang. She wasn't expecting anyone until she opened the door and remembered. It was the photographer from AirBnB, and he was there to take pictures of her space to post on the website. We had, literally, 5 minutes while he unpacked his equipment to take her home from chaos to calm. I pulled out my favorite trick and went to work.
Using color, I created visual calm and her home immediately looked inviting.
In the bathroom: Apart from the fixtures, which you may have no control over, towels are the biggest decor choice you make in your bathroom. I quickly assessed her towel collection and pulled out all the towels that went together. Swapping out the mismatched towels for ones that went together quickly transformed the room.
How to work this in your home: Whether you choose a color from the tiles, go with all white or indulge in stripes, pick an idea and stick with it for all your towels.
Result: A bathroom that always looks like it's ready for its closeup; a linen closet that feels the same.
In the bedroom: I stripped the bed and remade it, choosing all the white sheets. Though the bed wasn't perfectly made, the pile of white looked like an inviting place to crash.
How to work this in your home: Like towels, your sheets, pillowcases and duvet cover are the visual focal point in this room. I'm an all white person and while some of my sheets have a pattern woven into them and some are plain, they all go together.
Result: A calmer and more inviting bedroom that looks that way even when the bed isn't made. If your home has more than one bedroom, consider picking a color or color palette for each room. That way you won't start making the bed with what you thought were the sheets for your queen bed only to open them up and discover that they're the twin sheets for your kid's room.
In the kitchen: No way was I going to have time to pull out all the dishware visible through the glass doors of the cabinets and rearrange it. Choosing white (because I knew that's the color of dishes my friend has the most of), I pulled out all the colored pottery. Though the dishes were piled in haphazardly, the piles of cups off kilter, and there were even dishes in the sink, it looked deliberate.
How to work this in your home: Picking one color or color scheme has other benefits beyond cutting down on the visual clutter. Whether you chose high end china or crackled pottery, the mix of texture will look deliberate. Throw in a few colored plates for fun.
Result: Grandma's stoneware works with your Ikea, your fine china with your chunky mugs.
(Image: Emily Johnson Anderton from Raina & Robert's Modern Farmhouse)