The New Year always brings with it a rash of resolutions like losing weight, exercising more, and finally getting organized. After the holidays have ended, you will likely look forward to putting all the decorations away and making your house less cluttered. A less cluttered home is easier to clean and maintain and feels fresh and spacious; it also reduces stress because you aren’t always looking at piles of things that need to be done. Try these tips to create a refreshing de-cluttered look.

Purging and Cleaning

By the time New Year’s Day rolls around, having had holiday decorations out for a month makes even the cleanest of homes feel messy. Take the time to take down and carefully box your decorations for next year and then give the rooms a thorough dusting and vacuuming. If you come across items, you no longer want or need, set them in a box for donation. Over the holidays you may have received gifts that duplicate items you already own; place the older items in the donate box so someone else can use them. This way you’ll enjoy your new gifts even more while freeing up storage space. Now that everything is neat and clean, you’ll feel inspired to do more, and your home will feel more spacious than ever.

Embrace Minimalist Design

The minimalist design style is perfect for those who want a ‘less is more’ approach to decorating, and it may lend a clean, contemporary look to a home. Of course, minimalist doesn’t only exist within contemporary design; it is also embraced by other design styles such as Asian and Zen styles, Scandinavian and Shaker decor styles. Take a look at decor and design magazines to get a feel for a style that appeals to you, then start paring down accents and accessories, rather than buying more. When you start taking items away, you can focus on furniture and accessories that make a real contribution to the room’s design, and you can feature them without competition from unnecessary clutter. You may find that you like the streamlined look of one simple large artwork instead of a collection of wood wall decor or metal wall sculptures, for example.

Once you’ve removed all unnecessary accents like knick-knacks and extraneous furnishings, you may feel like you want to go even further. In this case, think about functionality as well as visual appeal. Search for furniture that adds extra function, such as an ottoman with a lift-up lid for storage or a desk with drawer space instead of one that just offers a table top on four legs. You can gradually replace furniture pieces over time until you create the functional minimalist interior that is ideal for you.

Use Color to Simplify and De-Clutter

Too much or too many colors in a room can make it feel cluttered as well. Switching over to primarily neutral shades or light colors can make a home feel more spacious and open; it also feels inviting, clean and fresh. Using light colors on walls and furnishings also brings more focus to the few decorative pieces you are using because their colors will pop against the light backdrop. For example, in a room with lots of deep shades, you may need a good number of throw pillows for them to have visual impact. Conversely, in a neutral room, just a few boldly colored or patterned pillows will jump to the forefront and be instantly noticed. The beauty of decorating with a neutral backdrop also makes it easy to change accents with the seasons so your home looks eternally fresh.