Typically, we design and decorate our homes to fit our sense of style — and then those decor choices dictate our cleaning routines. We dust our open shelving weekly, and wipe down the marble countertop daily. But what if the process was reversed? What if we designed our homes to make them as easy to clean as possible? If your goal is a low-maintenance home that requires very little time spent cleaning, here are the decor choices to make. Go ahead, design your way to a quicker cleaning routine.
1. Opt for elevated furniture.
When shopping for sofas, credenzas, side tables and really all types of furniture, look for those elevated on legs. Even better: cabinets that attach directly to the wall and levitate off the ground. This way, you'll be able to easily vacuum or sweep underneath them. For a hands-free cleaning routine, invest in a robotic vacuum that can do all the cleaning for you.
2. Choose the right paint finish.
If you have messy pets or young kids who are likely to get smudgy fingerprints and errant crayon marks on the walls, avoid matte paint finishes. Instead, opt for the smoothest, shiniest paint finish that will look good—typically eggshell for walls and semi-gloss for trim. On these glossy surfaces, dirt and grime can be more easily wiped away.
3. Select a durable sofa.
When you’re searching for an easy-clean sofa, the upholstery makes all the difference. Leather is easy to wipe clean — just be sure to sop up spills right away and condition it once per year.
If you prefer fabric sofas, look for those with stain-repellent treatments or stain-resistant microfiber. Otherwise, choose a slipcovered sofa, so you can toss the cover in the washing machine whenever it needs a refresh. Consider that darker colors will hide stains better, but it might not be the best option if you have a pet with white fur.
4. Skip the open shelving.
Elegantly styled shelves look enviable on Instagram, but in reality, they require a lot of extra dusting. For a speedier cleaning routine, stick with glass-front cabinets so you can show off your favorite items while keeping them dust-free.
5. Opt for patterned rugs.
That solid-colored rug might look great in the catalog, but lint, pet hair and other everyday messes will be immediately obvious. Go for a brightly patterned, busy floor covering if you want to go a few days between vacuuming it; you’ll know it needs a vacuum, but probably no one else will notice if your muddy pup took a nice long nap on your multicolored rug right before all of your guests arrived.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)