Many of us flip through pages of home design magazines or furniture catalogs in awe of the perfect images we see. Beautiful hardwood floors, bowls of fresh flowers, and sparkling crystal look appealing in magazines and on television, but these rooms are staged for photography and do not represent real life.

 

Home décor trends have changed over the years, with comfortable and welcoming rooms replacing museum-like living rooms and fancy formal dining rooms. Homes that look too-perfect don’t look like anyone lives there!

 

Striking the right balance between a beautifully decorated, but lived-in home and one that just looks lived-in is easy to do! Design choices can also keep your house from looking stuffy or being so fancy you won’t be able to use certain rooms for everyday life.

 

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but a large expanse of gleaming floors can be broken up with small rugs for a splash of color and texture. If you are just installing hardwood floors, consider choosing hardwood floors with a wider plank. Many of these wider planks have imperfections such as knot holes and lines, which give the room a cozy, lived-in feel and keep the space from feeling overly formal.

 

Select furniture that is practical and serves your family well. Heavy, dark furniture or crisp white sofas that can’t be used daily may not work well for your family. The same rules apply to a formal dining room or fancy china cabinet, there are no rules that say you must have these spaces or items in your home. Practical and useful does not have to mean ugly or low-quality. Couches and chairs come in a wide range of fabrics to suit your family and dining room tables could be farmhouse-style, very trendy without looking stuffy and also will not show everyday wear and tear as easily as a more formal look.

 

Choose your artwork to match your space and lifestyle. Large oil paintings in heavy metal or dark wood frames may not fit well into your family room or breakfast nook. If artwork such as this is part of your collection, it can still work in a space but try to break it up with photographs or other drawings.

 

Clutter on surfaces or too much memorabilia make a space feel too lived-in, but memorabilia is a part of your family’s history and clutter is part of everyday life. Keep surfaces clean of papers and try to have good systems in place for dealing with clutter that comes into your home. Use books you have read and loved as decoration for an end table or coffee table. Favorite memorabilia from your life like a treasured heirloom or collection doesn’t have to be hidden away in storage. Artfully arranged, items like this authentically represent you and your family’s interests and life.