Have you ever envied the beautiful homes portrayed on the pages of chic decorating magazines? Do you wish your home could be worthy of its own magazine spread? It isn’t that hard to accomplish if you’re willing to make some minor investments of time and possibly money. Here’s a 5-step blueprint to follow – along with some shortcuts you could take if you like.

1.  Say Hello to More Empty Space and Goodbye to Excess Clutter

The homes featured in magazine photos are decorated in every imaginable style and color; some are traditional, some are bohemian, some are modern, some are contemporary and some are eclectic. The one thing they all have in common: You see plenty of empty space if you look around each room. These rooms have all been stripped of their clutter, and they only include elements that enhance the space.

Take a critical look around your home and see if you can spot any “clutter” – basically, unnecessary things that don’t belong in the space if you want it to look its best. Perhaps there are folders stuffed with messy papers overflowing from a desk; if the papers are ones you still need, you could move them into the desk’s drawers. If you don’t need them, it’s time to shred and toss them. Perhaps there’s an extra chair that really doesn’t harmonise well with the rest of your furnishings. You could sell or donate it; or, alternatively, you could move it to a spot where it won’t look cluttered.

Decluttering is the first and arguably most essential step in the process of making your home look magazine worthy.

Shortcut: Sorry, there is no shortcut for this step. If you try to delegate your decluttering to someone else, you will probably regret it; they’re likely to get rid of things that are truly important to you.

2.  Get Out Your Cleaning Products and Tidy Up

Have you ever seen magazine photos where the windows are streaked or the carpet has muddy footprints? No? It’s likely that the magazine’s editorial team subjected each room to a thorough cleaning before the photographer was allowed to enter. Cleaning is an essential step in the process if you hope to mimic that magazine-worthy look in your own home.

Shortcut: Let Australia’s top-rated home cleaners help you with this step.

3.  Bathe Each Room in Glorious Light

There are very few dark, gloomy homes that are ever featured on the pages of decorating magazines. Most of these rooms are bright, with abundant lighting.

The truth is, the magazine photographers probably did cheat a bit by adding some artificial lighting to each space before photographing it. You could do the same if you like; but ideally, if it is possible to let in more natural light, doing so is likely to make a huge improvement in how you perceive the space.

So open up your shades, and switch out any dark, heavy draperies for lighter sheers. If possible, consider adding skylights. If that isn’t possible, perhaps you could add some additional layers of lighting to brighten the room’s appearance.

Shortcut: It’s ideal to get help with this if your home requires more than just a simple change of window shades to create sufficient lighting for the space. You could hire an interior designer to advise you on how to best go about lighting the space. A professional has studied a variety of interior design courses; and, since lighting is one of the most important elements of successful interior design, these courses typically devote significant time to lighting design.

4.  Create a Single, Eye-Catching Focal Point for Each Room

Interior photographers have mastered the art of creating a focal point for each photograph they present for publication in those beautiful, glossy decorating magazines. This is one of the secret reasons magazine pages look so compelling; when you look at each page, your eyes find satisfaction in lingering on these artistically-defined focal points.

Successful interior design also incorporates focal points. Each room ideally will have its own. In the dining room, a stylish table or a dramatic chandelier could make an ideal focal point. It could also be possible to create a focal point using another fabulous piece of furniture such as a hutch filled with artistic vintage china.

In each bedroom, the likeliest focal point is the bedhead, although there are other possibilities. You could place a stunning painting above the bedhead to make an even more compelling focal point. Or if you have a prominent window or fireplace, either of those architectural details could become the bedroom’s focal point.

In some cases, you may be able to create a focal point without buying anything new; you can just rearrange pieces you already have in a way that is more pleasing to the eye. In some cases, though, you may wish to make a small investment in a piece of artwork, a mirror or some other eye-catching detail that would make a spectacular focal point.

Shortcut: This is another step that a talented interior designer could easily help you accomplish.

5.  Place Fresh Plants and Flowers in Prominent Places

Room layouts featured in magazines almost universally include either fresh flowers or fresh greenery. It’s easy to mimic this look in your own home by placing your own colorful flowers and plants in your space.

Shortcut: Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune at the florist’s to accomplish this step. You can buy potted plants quite inexpensively at local nurseries and stores. If you prefer to use cut flower arrangements, you can simply buy a vase and cut your own flowers from bushes or plants that are growing in your own garden. Even if you aren’t skilled at flower arranging, you can’t really mess it up. There isn’t any such thing as an unattractive grouping of flowers.

For some people, taking the above steps will reveal a lovely, magazine-worthy interior space; but for others, more work will be needed – perhaps some additional effort made in color coordination or updating of furnishings. If you start with these initial 5 steps, you then have a basis for evaluating whether you want to make additional investments in creating your ideal interior design.