RS Home 2021

The 2021 Real Simple Home Is Here—and It's Full of Organizing and Design Ideas You'll Want to Steal

This year, we collaborated with Gialluisi Custom Homes on a top-to-bottom renovation of a 1902 Victorian in Westfield, N.J. We’ve got all the usual design tips and organizing tricks to share. Plus, for the first time, we’ve included two beautiful new outdoor spaces.
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Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

living room

Designed by: Natalie Papier, Owner of interior design company Home Ec.

This long, narrow room has two distinct sitting areas, which are connected by a broad golden stripe that runs the length of the ceiling. The clever paint treatment also distinguishes the living space from the adjacent entryway.

How We Hang

When you're putting up art, don't limit yourself to the walls. For an unexpected and modern approach, suspend frames from the edges of shelves. This adds dimension to the display on the wall unit.

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Orange bookcase in living room
Left: Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI
Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

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kitchen and dining room

Designed by: Delia Kenza, Brooklyn-based interior designer

Wooden accents, leather seats, and a swooping marble pattern bring an organic warmth to the modern cabinets and create a comfortable spot that family and friends will gravitate toward.

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A Sliver of Silver

The lower cabinets' gray finish has a touch of metallic that pairs with the white marble like counters and backsplash to make the room feel big and airy—and off set the dark uppers and appliances.

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Gather Round

The dining table sits between the front door and kitchen. A circular option is easy to maneuver around—as are low, sculptural chairs that push all the way in. Bonus: They're upholstered with durable, easy-to-clean fabric.

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Credit: Christopher Testani

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Unexpected Design Ideas, Real Simple Home 2021
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primary suite

Designed by: Keyanna Bowen and Emily Henderson

Even super-traditional elements like wainscoting and floral wallpaper feel fresh thanks to a mix of patterns (like the striped chair and sashiko bedding) and textures (from velvet to rattan).

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RS Home 2021
Credit: Christopher Testani
RS Home 2021
Real Simple Home 2021, Primary Bedroom Bathroom
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Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
Right: Credit: Christopher Testani
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Real Simple Home 2021, Attic olive paint
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

zoom room

Designed by: Ryia Jose

No fake backgrounds for video calls here! Step up your work-from-home game with a calm, quiet office that provides plenty of space—and two desks—for more than one person

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Real Simple Home 2021, Attic Side Desk
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

Pin-spiration

Use a scrap of fabric to DIY a bulletin board. Stretch the fabric over a piece of foamboard and staple it to the back. (The lines of the plaid help you keep it straight.)

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Real Simple Home 2021, Basement with green walls and ping pong table
Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

multipurpose room

Designed by: Raili Clasen

A finished basement can often feel like too much of a good thing—lots of space, but no clear zones. Strategic furniture arrangement and clever paint projects give each area purpose and playfulness.

Game Changer

This Ping-Pong table is actually just a sheet of painted plywood resting on sawhorses. It sets up easily for tech-free entertainment and can be collapsed just as quickly to save space. The high-top bar and stools offer a perch for spectators who also want to chat with guests in the lounge area.

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Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

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Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
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mudroom

Designed by: Katie Holdefehr, REALSIMPLE.com Senior Editor

An awkward little back hallway transforms into a hardworking mudroom with space-saving storage solutions, an easy-to-clean slate floor, and some double-duty stylish touches.

A Modern Hall Tree

Behind the door, a wall-mounted organizer collects coats and bags. To prevent clutter, enforce a "one jacket per person" rule.

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Credit: Christopher Testani

laundry room

Designed by: Leslie Corona, REALSIMPLE.com Home Editor

When you do mountains of laundry each week, it makes sense to turn this utilitarian nook into a relaxing retreat. Mix decorative accents (greenery and photos) with clever cleaning solutions (built-in hampers and rolling carts).

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Credit: Vic Wahby

Loads of Style

With removable wallpaper, plenty of art, and plants galore, this room feels like anything but an afterthought. If the space doesn't get a ton of sunlight—especially if it's in the cellar—go with faux flora.

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Left: Credit: Vic Wahby
Right: Credit: Vic Wahby
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outdoor spaces

Designed by: Eduardo Rodriguez, @thedesignerpad

The days of overly formal front porches may be behind us. All the loungy comfort of family rooms and back patios has migrated out front, where you can be social with your neighbors as you sit and relax.

Design Elements—Despite the Elements

Decorative accents are the secret to making a porch feel like a living space—not a pass-through. Incorporate weatherproof rugs, pillows, ceramics, and baskets.

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Divide and Conquer

When decorating your outdoor area, use the same concepts you would inside. Create zones for lounging, eating, and cooking, and make them all as comfy as possible.

Step It Up

Full-width steps make a nice, safe transition between the composite deck and stone patio in the backyard. They also serve as bleacher-style seating at larger gatherings.

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Credit: Christopher Testani

Everything Old Is New

Our partner, Gialluisi Custom Homes, totally modernized this early 1900s Victorian in Westfield, N.J.

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Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

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Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
Right: Credit: EMILY KEHE

organized spaces

Designed by: Nikki Boyd, @athomewithnikki

Targeting less obvious micro clutter can help you feel more in control of your space. These are the spots that, when neat and tidy, will keep your home humming.

Small Victories

Corral guest-appropriate glassware in baskets to make table setting a cinch, pour frozen produce into see-through bags, and dedicate a drawer to mending tools in your closet—where you need to make the repairs.

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RS Home 2021
RS Home 2021
Left: Credit: Christopher Testani
Right: Credit: Christopher Testani
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RS Home 2021
Left: Credit: Vic Wahby
Right: Credit: Vic Wahby

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