Common Design Culprits That Makes Your House Look Cluttered

You’ve just finished cleaning your house. In fact, you love cleaning your home. But for some inexplicable reason, it still looks cluttered.

‘What could be the problem?’ you wondered, confused.

Interior designers say that there’s only one culprit to this phenomenon – undiagnosed clutter.

Undiagnosed what? Undiagnosed clutter – the kind you’ve become immune to because you see and live with it every day. These are the things that you’ve accumulated over the years, lying all over your house and making it visually untidy.

Whatever happened to the minimalistic Japanese-style home interiors that you dream of? How can you achieve it?

Here are the common design mistakes that make your house look cluttered even after you cleaned it.

V on Shenton. Picture:

You hang your curtains the wrong way

Have you ever noticed that designers have one similar advice when it comes to hanging your curtains?

What was it? Hang your curtains high and wide.

But what does that mean?

A lot of people do not realize that hanging their curtain hardware directly on the trim around the window makes them smaller. This also creates a perspective that the room is smaller and cluttered.

Avoid these mistakes by using floor-length curtains and hanging them as near to the ceiling as possible. Hang the drapes a few inches away from the window frames because it makes the windows appear bigger than their size. It also makes the room look more spacious as well.

What’s on your countertop?


Go to your kitchen and do a quick survey of your countertop? What can you see? Is it full of stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place? Whether you are cleaning your house or staging it for sale, applying minimalist design to your kitchen will have significant effects.

Place as few appliances on your countertops as possible so it won’t look messy. Place the food processor or blender you seldom use in the cupboard. A clutter-free countertop will not only free up space, but it will seem more attractive.

Let the sunshine in

Living room, Emerald Park. Picture: iProperty

Frente’s ‘Let the Sunshine In’ lyrics says to ‘open up your heart and let the sunshine in.’ But in your apartment’s case, open your house and let some light in because having a lot of it makes your room look more spacious.

Place a mirror directly across the window to reflect sunlight. You can also add floor lamps and tables in corners or use pale paint colours. Another trick is using monochromatic furniture as possible.

Do you mistake your cords for snakes?

Appliance cords are meant to be hidden because they are an eyesore. Plus, they add more clutter to your room. Try camouflaging them using the following tricks:

  • String the wires behind your desk using cord clips or cable ties
  • Camouflage your router(s) by placing them in decorative boxes
  • Attach FlatWire on the walls and paint them over to conceal them
  • Keep your cords out of sight with binder cords
  • Hide the cords of your flat screen TV inside shower curtain rods and paint them over

See moreThe Ultimate TV Consoles Ideas for your living room

Don’t push your furniture against the wall.

Master Bedroom, 3 Bedroom Deluxe. JadeScape. Picture: iProperty

This is another common mistake that makes your room cluttered. A lot of homeowners think that by doing so, they have more space. The contrary happens, though because doing so leaves fewer uninterrupted paths and sight lines to look at.

It also creates a dead zone in the middle of the room.

‘My space is small.’ you might complain.

Designers, however, advise that placing your furniture even just a few inches from the walls give it an illusion of spaciousness. The recommended distance should be at one foot from the wall and 3 feet of walking space.

See more: 7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Renovating Your Home

Don’t fill up your space!

Over the years, you most probably have accumulated different knick-knacks, figurines, and decorative pieces. The default is usually to display all of them at once. However, it makes your house look crowded and cluttered.

Experts advise grouping these pieces into three, like the rule of thirds in photography, as it elicits harmony and visual interest. Group these items in varying heights and textures to make it look more appealing. When you place items on a shelf or counter, don’t fill it up with things. Create some space where your eyes can rest.

Pick the right rug

If you are not sure which rug to pick, here are three basic rules that can never go wrong:

  • If you have a large rug, you can put all the legs of your furniture on it. However, you should leave 12-18-inch floor space on all four sides.
  • If you have a small apartment, you can choose a small rug provided you leave all four legs off it. More so, never choose a rug that is too small because it might look like an unnecessary add-on.
  • You can also place two legs of the furniture on the rug to create an ambience of openness.

Wrapping it all up

Design is like photography – negative space is as important as the things that are present. Leaving some parts of your room blank can make the room look less cluttered.

This article was first published in Property Quotient.