Stop Doing These 10 Things That Are Dragging Your Home’s Sophistication Down

updated Jun 16, 2019
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(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Because we’re not living Pinterest boards and no one gets it right 100 percent of the time, I think we all have certain aspects of home decor and housekeeping that we ace, and other aspects that we struggle to get a handle on. I know I do. Here are 10 common issues that may be diminishing your home’s sophistication along with some easy tweaks to help you self-correct.

(Image credit: The Marlton)

Leaving the bed unmade

Rumpled sheets look, well, rumpled. A neatly made bed instantly pulls together the look of your bedroom (like the delicious cloud above located in The Marlton hotel in New York).

Molly’s Coloring Book Modern Apartment (Image credit: Lindsay Tella)

Not keeping windows clean

Between external dirt and pollution and internal smudges and dust, windows can quickly become dull, which in turn dulls the rest of your interior. But cleaning your windows regularly is a quick and easy way to keep your rooms looking crisp, bright and well-tended.

  • How To Clean Your Windows Like a Pro

Living with bad lighting

Overly bright (especially fluorescent) lighting is harsh on the eyes and doesn’t allow for any dimension in tone or mood. Conversely, not enough light and your rooms won’t feel warm or welcoming. The good news is that lighting issues are easy to correct using a variety of floor and table lamps (and dimmers if possible).

Uncontrolled clutter

The amazing Marie Kondo aside, for a majority of us, to live is to have some clutter. And that is perfectly okay — because having stuff doesn’t have to mean piles of chaos. We can have a plethora of things and still have a sophisticated home. Check out these strategies for keeping the clutter in check or, er, hidden:

Shea’s Stylish Happy Home Office (Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Exposed wires

Ooof, this is a big one for me. Exposed wires are such a part of our lives these days and they just never look good. Luckily, there are practical ways to hide home wires and manage general wire clutter.

  • Quick Home Improvement: How to Manage Your Wires

Not hanging artwork properly

Artwork adds so much beauty to any room, but if it’s hung too high or too low, it can make everything feel off. A good rule of thumb is to follow Maxwell’s pro tip for hanging artwork: hang art 57 inches from the floor. This is the rule generally employed by galleries and museums and is a simple way to get it right every time.

Leaving worn out or ugly hardware on your cabinetry

Small decor details make a big visual difference. Consider changing outdated or unattractive hardware for updated, more sophisticated options like brass or always-classic black hardware.How To Make Over Your Rental Kitchen Cabinets for as Little as $20

  • Kitchen Design Shopping Guide: Black Hardware
  • Kitchen Design Shopping Guide: Copper Hardware
  • Kitchen Design Shopping Guide: Silver Nickel Hardware

Not swapping out cheap window coverings

I’m looking at you vinyl blinds. This is especially an issue for those of us who rent. There are some really lovely and inexpensive alternatives to plastic mini blinds, so never feel stuck with landlord-issued window blandness (hanging curtains with an additional layer of sheers is another quick fix!)

Neglecting your textiles

Old, flimsy pillows and blankets and ill-considered rugs will quickly make an entire room feel lackluster. But a few vibrant and colorful throw pillows, one luxe throw blanket, and a properly sized rug will pay you back tenfold in terms of adding warmth and sophistication.

No greenery

If you feel like your rooms are sterile or you’re looking to add beauty to an unattractive corner, add in house plants. Greenery adds beauty and texture as well, so think about terrariums, orchids, fresh-cut flowers, or even a big bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter. Any form of plant life will add vibrancy and natural elegance to a room.

Re-edited from a post that originally appeared 10.20.16.