5 Simple Ways to Give Your Home That “Out of a Magazine” Look


A few months ago I was sprucing up a random room in our house, probably the laundry room, and my husband laughed and said, “Babe, not every room in the house has to look like it belongs in a magazine.” I looked at him perplexed and went on about my decorating because he clearly just didn’t understand what he was saying. 

Blame it on my being a realtor or my OCD, but in my mind, my entire house is “staged” at all times. I like to think I have an eye for design (farmhouse decor all day err day), and I truly enjoy rearranging and redecorating spaces. Changing things up now and then gives me inspiration and clarity and rejuvenates my soul a bit. This is not to insinuate that my house is always clean, because let’s be honest, I live with a husband and two small children. I do, however, have a pretty decent system down for how we keep things clean and looking nice the majority of the time.

When I decorate or rearrange a space, I always keep in mind the things I tell sellers before they put their home on the market. First, to showcase the best features of the home and make the home appear as open and functional as possible. If you’re looking to get your house ready to sell, or you just need to revamp your space a bit, here are my tips.

1. Declutter.

I’m fully aware that this is difficult with children, but it can be done. I have a LOT of decorative baskets in the living areas that hold toys. They’re functional and it’s easy for the kids to throw toys in them for clean-up time, and they make great decor in any space.

If you have kids, you’re always going to have toys out. Try to limit the number of toys that are constantly left out in main living areas and put away what you can in cabinets. Leave out things like play kitchens and tables & chairs that can be made to fit in with your decor.

2. Less decor is really more.

This can be difficult if you possess a lot of art or decor you really enjoy, but less is honestly more. When you have multiple items on the walls, space can tend to feel cluttered. I always suggest my clients only leave a few main pieces on the wall and remove most items from bookshelves, spacing out only a few books/small pieces to give the illusion of a larger space. I follow suit in my own home. I used to cover every wall with something, and I’ve slowly started becoming more minimal with wall decor. Having a few statement pieces makes a bigger impression than too many small items.

3. Limit the amount of family photos.

One of the first things a listing agent is likely to tell you is to remove your family photos from main areas to depersonalize the home a bit. This is because it is easier for a family to picture themselves in the home if there aren’t photos of the current family staring at them as they walk through the home.

Seems strange, I know, but it’s really a thing. I definitely have family photos in my house, but only a few, and I have them in areas that if I were to have to remove them to get my house ready to sell, the area wouldn’t look weird blank. 

4. Clear off the countertops.

One thing that bothers me both personally as well as when selling homes, is when someone has all. the. things. out on the countertops. I know it’s handy to leave the toothpaste, hand soap, body wash, razors, retainers, makeup, shaving cream, q-tips, mouthwash, cotton balls, contact solution, essential oils, birth control, you name it – all on the counters for easy use, but it really takes away from the countertops and gives a very cluttered, messy feel. If you don’t have space under the counter for these items, use jars/dishes/organizers of some sort to keep them all in order.

5. Plants.

I was at Target the other day with a friend, and when I threw a bunch of fake plants from the dollar spot in my cart, she said “You have a lot of those, don’t you?” Fake plants are one of my absolute favorite items to decorate with. They can do so much for a space, and are typically pretty inexpensive.

Have a small stack of books on the nightstand? Stick a little plant on top. Have a bookshelf that needs a bit of color and height? Boom. Fake plant. Have a weird corner or large space where furniture won’t fit? Fake tree. You honestly can’t go wrong with fake (or real if that’s your thing) plants. They brighten up a space and give it such a peaceful feel.

I 100% realize that the incessant need for every room in the house to be organized and perfectly decorated isn’t for everyone and sometimes I need to get a life. BUT. These things are important to me, and when my home is clean and decluttered, my mind is clearer so I can better focus on other areas of life. What are some ways you keep a decluttered/functionally decorated home?

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Shelby is a wife and mom of 2 boys, Foster (2016) & Fowler (2018). She recently opened a real estate brokerage and is a work from home Broker who loves documenting her real life Real Estate adventures with babies in tow. She has a love of helping people and putting a smile on their face whenever she can. She never takes life too seriously, and can find humor in just about anything (even if that's cleaning up baby blowouts on her lap in the backseat in between home showings). Formerly a Heritage Hall preschool teacher, she enjoys spending her free time at home doing learning activities with her kids that fill the teacher part of her heart. If she's not playing with her boys or selling homes, you can find her doing home projects with her husband Jacob at their farmhouse in Guthrie!


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