5 Expert Tips to Keep Your Home Looking Stylish When You Live With 4-Plus People

entryway with storage

Love & Interiors / Photo by Meghan Caudill 

Keeping your home looking both orderly and chic is never easy—even when you live alone! Add family members or a handful of roommates to the mix, and we totally understand that achieving this balance can pose a challenge. 

However, you deserve to come home to a space that’s equal parts functional and beautiful, no matter how many other individuals live under your roof. We spoke with designers to gather their tips for successfully keeping your space looking stylish, even when there’s always a crowd. 

  • 01 of 05

    Don’t Skimp on Storage

    an entryway/mudroom with built in storage with bins, hooks, and shelving by Melanie Love

    Photo by Vivian Johnson / Design by Melanie Love

    Obviously, ample storage is a necessity when a large number of people are living in close quarters—it’s important for children and adults alike to be able to easily locate their belongings when rushing out the door in the morning. According to New York City designer Isabella Patrick, bins and hooks are an easy solution in the entryway. Her family has also carved out coat closet space for each member. “My husband is the tallest and has the tallest closet rod, my kids share the lowest rod, and I have something in between,” Patrick noted in an email. You’ll also want to consider shoe storage. “Even with the best intentions, a family of four...will want to kick off shoes at the end of a long day,” she said. All of these steps will work wonders in changing your space for the better. After all, Patrick added, “A tidy space is a stylish space.” 

    Then, add some simple touches to the front hallway that make the area nice and inviting, Bay Area designer Melanie Love suggested in an email. “Set the tone of your home’s aesthetic with a beautiful mirror, rug, and decorative light fixture at the entry,” she said. “If you have natural light and enough space, consider adding a live plant.” 

    Of course, the actual storage pieces can be visually appealing on their own, Phoenix designer Lygia Harkins noted in an email. “Lockers and built-ins are always a good idea, but of course we want them to look pretty, too,” she said. “Paint them a fun color that everyone likes for the room or space.” 

  • 02 of 05

    Team Up for the Design

    bathroom with kid-friendly design accents

    House of Chais

    Don’t let any one family member or housemate drive your home’s design scheme, Harkins advised. “It’s important for every member of the household to feel represented in the design, including kids,” she explained. “Look at photos for inspiration and pick a style and a few colors that everyone can agree on.” This will help create a general scheme that is still cohesive, she noted. 

    In today’s world, it’s extremely easy for those of all ages to share ideas with one another through platforms such as Pinterest—gone are the days of tearing pages out of design magazines, though your family may enjoy doing that, too! Make the brainstorming process an enjoyable activity, not one that seems like a chore. Even if it takes awhile to bring your entire organizational concept to fruition, everyone will appreciate having been a part of the planning. 

  • 03 of 05

    Pare Down

    minimal kitchen ware

    Callum Hill / Unsplash

    Roommates should consider sharing certain types of items, such as kitchen tools, rather than each bringing their own gadgets into a group house. “In a kitchen when you’re living with roommates, set a budget for shared tableware and serveware and head to IKEA to pick out a coordinating set,” Patrick suggested. “You don’t need to spend a buck to have a nice table setting and you'll be chuffed to have a coordinating set of dishes when you entertain.” 

    Housemates may also wish to consolidate bulky items such as vacuum cleaners, which can easily be shared—pool your money together to purchase the best option you can afford, and you’ll thank yourselves come cleaning day! 

    And if certain pieces can’t be stored easily, perhaps this is a sign! “In a multi-functional area, keeping the space clutter free is key,” Erin Hardy, the national manager of design at California Closets said in an email. “If it doesn’t fit in the designated shelf or bin, then it doesn’t belong in the space.” 

  • 04 of 05

    Get in the Zone

    Living room arrangement with a large sofa and reading nook

    Becca Interiors

    “Consider a zoned furniture arrangement where there are groupings of furniture for larger gatherings, and a single or pair of chairs that can work as a quiet nook for reading or listening to music away from other family members,” Philadelphia designer Nicole Cole stated in an email. A place for everyone, and everyone in their place! 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Make a Match

    shared sibling bedroom

    Blake Woolwine / Unsplash

    If two people, such as siblings or college roommates, are sharing a bedroom, embrace the fun that comes with being matchy-matchy. “Get matching headboards and sconces and coordinating bedding,” Patrick suggested. These upgrades will add instant style to any bedroom and prevent the setup looking too busy or chaotic.