The 2021 Real Simple Home is here — and it’s packed with organization and design ideas you’ll want to steal

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Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

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

This long, narrow room has two distinct seating areas connected by a wide golden stripe that runs the length of the ceiling. The sophisticated color treatment also separates the living room from the adjoining entrance area.

how we hang

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

Orange bookshelf in the living room

Left: Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Real simple home, kitchen

Credit: Christopher Testani

Designed by: Delia Kenza, Interior designer from Brooklyn

Wood accents, leather seating, and a floating marble pattern add organic warmth to the contemporary closets, creating a comfortable space that family and friends will be drawn to.

A shard of silver

The gray finish of the base cabinets has hints of metallic that pair with the white marble-like countertops and backsplash to make the space feel big and airy — and to set off the dark finishes and appliances.

getting together

The dining table is between the front door and the kitchen. A circular variant is easy to maneuver – as are low, sculptural chairs that slide all the way in. Bonus: They’re upholstered with durable, easy-to-clean fabric.

Credit: Christopher Testani

Unexpected Design Ideas, Real Simple Home 2021

Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

Designed by: Keyanna Bowen and Emily Henderson

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

Credit: Christopher Testani

Real Simple Home 2021, Master Bedroom Bathroom

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Real Simple Home 2021, attic olive color

Photo Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

No fake backgrounds for video calls here! Expand your work-from-home experience with a quiet, quiet office that offers plenty of space — and two desks — for more than one person

Real Simple Home 2021, desk in the attic

Photo Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

Pin Spiration

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

Real Simple Home 2021, basement with green walls and ping pong table

Photo Credit: Photography by Christopher Testani

Designed by: Raili Clasen

A finished basement can often feel like overkill – lots of space but no clear zones. Strategic furniture placement and clever color projects add purpose and playfulness to each area.

game changer

This table tennis table is actually just a sheet of painted plywood resting on sawhorses. It’s easy to set up for tech-free entertainment and folds up just as quickly to save space. The high bar and stools provide seating for spectators who wish to converse with guests in the lounge area as well.

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Designed by: Katie Holdefehr, REALSIMPLE.com editor-in-chief

A awkward little back hallway is transformed into a hardworking mud room with space-saving storage solutions, an easy-to-clean slate floor, and some stylish, double-duty touches.

A modern indoor tree

Behind the door, a wall organizer collects coats and bags. To avoid clutter, enforce a “one jacket per person” rule.

Credit: Christopher Testani

Designed by: Leslie Corona, REALSIMPLE.com Home Editor

When you’re washing mountains of laundry every week, it makes sense to turn that practical nook into a relaxing retreat. Combine decorative accents (greenery and photos) with clever cleaning solutions (built-in baskets and trolleys).

Lots of style

With removable wallpaper, lots of art, and plants galore, this space feels anything but an afterthought. If the room doesn’t get much sunlight – especially if it’s in the basement – opt for artificial flora.

Left: Credit: Vic Wahby

Right: Credit: Vic Wahby

Curb Appeal Real Simple Home 2021 Porch

Credit: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

The days of overly formal canopies may be behind us. All the lounging comforts of the family rooms and back patios have moved to the front where you can socialize with your neighbors while sitting and relaxing.

Design Elements – Despite the elements

Decorative accents are the secret to making a porch feel like a living space — not a passageway. Incorporate weatherproof rugs, cushions, ceramics and baskets.

divide and conquer

When decorating your outdoor space, use the same concepts as indoors. Create zones for lounging, eating, and cooking, and make them all as comfortable as possible.

climb up

Full-width steps create a beautiful, safe transition between the composite deck and the stone patio in the backyard. They also serve as tribune-style seating for larger gatherings.

Credit: Christopher Testani

Everything old is new

Our partner, Gialluisi Custom Homes, has completely modernized this early 1900’s Victorian home in Westfield, NJ

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: EMILY KEHE

Aiming for less obvious micro clutter can help you have more control over your space. These are the spots that, if kept clean and tidy, will make your home buzz.

Small wins

Place guest-appropriate glassware in baskets to make table setting a breeze, pour frozen produce into clear bags, and dedicate a drawer in your closet to repairing tools—where you need to make the repairs.

Left: Credit: Christopher Testani

Right: Credit: Christopher Testani

Left: Credit: Vic Wahby

Right: Credit: Vic Wahby

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