Here's the secret to a home that appears impossibly tidy. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated: May 24, 2019

How is it that magazines manage to make real homes look so impossibly clean? Besides disinfecting the counters, scrubbing the grout, and mopping the floors, there's one more secret photo-ready homes are hiding: the styling tricks that make a home look neat and tidy. These are little details stylists never fail to notice, but that most of us wouldn't immediately pick up on. Small things like neatly folded towels and carefully arranged throw pillows add to the overall impression that your home is clean, even if they don't actually reflect whether your shelves are dust-free or your counters are germ-free. 

An added bonus: all of these styling tricks can be achieved in a fraction of the time it takes to actually deep-clean your entire home. Once you've completed your weekly cleaning routine, take an extra 15 minutes to complete these styling tricks. It's amazing what a difference a few folds, fluffs, and some fresh flowers can make. 

RELATED: 5 Paint Colors That Can Actually Help Your Home Look Cleaner

Fold Your Bath Towels 

Some of the best clean-home styling tricks are likely to be spotted in your favorite hotel. You know when you walk into a hotel bathroom and are greeted by a pile of clean, fluffy white towels? You can create that same feeling in your home bathroom. Follow these steps: fold clean towels lengthwise into thirds. Then fold them in half widthwise and repeat the fold a second time. Position the towels so the rounded side (rather than the folded edge) faces the room. 

Buy Fresh Flowers 

Check out any home featured in a magazine and you'll probably notice one thing they all have in common: fresh flowers. Besides being pretty, there's something about fresh flowers that gives any room the impression that it's clean and thoughtfully cared for. Choose a fragrant variety, like roses or hyacinths, to give the room a floral aroma, only adding to the impression that the room is clean. 

Fluff the Throw Pillows

A clean-looking living room is often more about styling than it is about actually disinfecting. Fluff the throw pillows so that they don't creep into the crevices of your couch and neatly refold and arrange any throw blankets. If you have extra throw blankets, store them away in a basket or bin. 

Load the Dishwasher Right Away

The tell-tale sign of an unclean kitchen? That unsightly pile of dirty dishes collecting in the sink. To avoid this, get in the habit (and have your family do the same) of loading your dishwasher as soon as you use a cup or plate. If you skip the sink entirely, your kitchen will always look cleaner. 

Curate Your Decor

Have you ever heard Coco Chanel's famous styling advice: "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off"? Well, this mantra holds true for home decor, too. Take a look at the tchotchkes collected on your mantel, bookshelves, or side table and remove at least one (or depending upon the clutter, two or three) things. A more minimalist display gives the items room to breathe and lets more surface area show, which helps the area look clean and curated. 

Embrace Clean Lines and Right Angles

There's something about a 90-degree angle that our brains automatically associate with order. Go ahead and embrace this by lining up your sofa and side table to create a right angle, or fold your dish cloths into a clean line rather than leaving them crumbled on the counter. The same concept works inside your cabinets: line up products neatly in your medicine cabinet or pantry, and invest in drawer dividers that make it easier to arrange belongings in tidy rows. 

Invest in Trays 

Have a bunch of beauty products hanging out on your bathroom counter? How about olive oil and spice jars on your kitchen table? Invest in a few shallow trays to corral these items and they'll instantly look more organized. 

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