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07/23/2014 12:49 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2014

7 Decor Decisions That Make Your Home Look Like A Mess

Try as we might, even the tidiest among us have a hard time keeping our homes clean. There is, after all, life and kids and everything in between. But not all messy homes are a product of messy people. To the contrary, your decor itself may be to blame.

Not sure what we mean? Read on to see how some of our most common design decisions could be making our homes look messier than they actually are.

  • Beige Paint
    Yes to an apartment that comes freshly painted (hello, blank slate); no to it being that drab shade of beige that home improvement stores are selling to landlords in bulk. The problem: It looks dingy no matter how bright and airy your home may be, and if it's a flat finish, fingerprints will forever be a part of your decor.
  • Stark Lighting
    We aren't going to suggest that you dim the lights to hide your mess before house guests arrive (though we have suggested that before), we're just saying that the fixtures you choose can paint your home in a completely different light. Bright and blaring puts your home's imperfections on full display, while warm and strategically placed will keep projects you've been meaning to get to in the shadows until they're ready to shine.
  • Fake Plants
    Faux greenery has come a long way, but while it may look more realistic than it did in the past, no one seems to have devised a way to keep fake plants from collecting loads of dust. Until it happens, just stick with the real deal.
  • Mirrored Surfaces
    Mirrors are a great way to add glamour to a space and make a room feel bigger, but like flat wall paint, they're magnets for fingerprints and show off untidy spots in 3D. Be strategic about where you place them, especially if the area is prone to clutter or grimy hands.
  • Neglecting The Entryway
    You know what they say about first impressions. If you want to win at keeping house, start here and you'll set the tone for what else your guests see.
  • Pillow Overload
    Throw pillows are an easy way to switch up the look of a room. Just make sure that when you bring in a fresh set, you take the old ones out. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking messy and indecisive.
  • Ill-Fitting Slipcovers
    On one hand, you've got an easy fix for outdated furniture; on the other hand, you've got the potential to make your living room look like a far-less tidy than it actually is. Nothing compares to a tightly-upholstered piece of furniture, but if you must slipcover, make sure it fits well.

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