Cortney Novogratz, one half of Sixx Design (and mother of seven!), runs the New York City based business with her husband, Robert. The Novogratz's are known for their quirky, artsy aesthetic, and have turned many abandoned Manhattan buildings into beautiful living spaces. You can catch the design duo in action on their HGTV show, Home by Novogratz.
Here, Cortney shares her tips for maximizing your living quarters.
"Really clean out your clutter in a big way four times a year. Connect it to the seasons. Get lots of big garbage bags and get rid of things that are broken or are no longer useful," Novogratz says. "Clothes you don’t wear, or your kids have outgrown, toys that nobody plays with, old magazines, etc. For the items that are gently used, pass them along friends or family, the Salvation army, have a garage sale and throw away the rest. The minute you clear out your house, it will automatically feel more spacious and open."
"Have a place for everything! A basket for your newspapers and magazines (or even this "invisible" magazine rack) shelves for your books and toys, bins in kids’ closets so they can put away their belongings. Don’t always go with the obvious—I use a champagne bucket on my vanity that stores all my bracelets. Be creative!"
"Create a little work space or buy a desk for yourself. (Like this one from Ikea. It's both sleek an affordable!) Find an unused spot anywhere in your house, and make it into your portable office. So you can find all your papers and whatever else you need, and won’t have to hunt all over the house for them," Novogratz says.
"I love furniture that does double-duty, like our kitchen table, which has drawers under it. With seven kids, you can never have enough storage, and it makes it easy for kids to help set the table (everything they need is easily available)," Novogratz tells us. "We also keep art supplies there, so the kids can help themselves, and again, everybody knows where to go for what they need. That is key! Personally, I love this West Elm table with hidden drawer space."
"We have an abundance of hooks in our foyer so that coats, hats, school bags, etc. always have a home, and are right by the front door for ease of use on the way out of the house," says Novogratz. "Check out this modern take on the coat rack by Herman Miller for inspiration."
Sarah Richardson is an HGTV fan favorite. Her shows Sarah 101, Sarah's Home and most recently, Sarah's Cottage, have developed a cult following, making her one of the most-watched hosts on the network. Richardson also runs her own firm, Sarah Richardson Design Inc, and has her own line of indoor and outdoor furnishings. Check out the advice she gave us on making the most out of your home.
"Whenever possible, opt for furnishings that offer a bit more than just a surface," Richardson says. "Try to pick side tables with a lower shelf (for stacking books and magazines). Choose a cabinet with drawers or doors for the front hall instead of just a hall table (where junk will pile up). Add bedside tables with a drawer and doors so there's a place to stash all those books you want to read. Look for an ottoman that doubles as a toy box so you've got a place to put the kids toys (and won't break a leg trying to walk through the room in the dark!). Make use of the area under your mattress by selecting a foundation option with storage (for out of season clothes or rarely-accessed items). If you demand double-duty from your furniture choices, your surroundings will be much neater!"
"For utility rooms and garages (which are accessed by multiple family members), invest in a label maker and clear storage bins, which allow you to store everything and anything in a visible and easy to find manner, and ensure that everyone can quickly find it! If you use labels, they can be removed and replaced if you change the contents of the bins. Since they are usually stackable and airtight, this is an ideal way to organize and store all manner of odds and sods," says Richardson.
"Don't limit your solutions to table height and below. Think about how you can maximize the upper portion of your walls and select storage solutions that give you more," Richardson suggests. "Whether it's an armoire instead of a dresser, or a full height bookshelf instead of a lower one, just remember that the higher you go, the more you can store!"
"While it may seem expensive at first blush, I have found that some of the best storage is permanent. We would never dream of creating a kitchen made from bits and pieces to store all of our food, pots, pans, dishes, glasses, and cutlery - yet we try to limp by with makeshift solutions for all of the other rooms in the house. After replacing furniture solutions too many times in the search to keep life organized, I've realized that an organized family household needs more cupboards and drawers than I thought 10 years ago! They don't need to be custom-made as there are plenty of off the rack solutions to help you out from big box stores, but walls of storage can swallow up an awesome amount of 'treasures'," Richardson says.
Los Angeles based designer Mary McDonald has refurbished some legendary locations, like Buster Keaton’s legendary villa to the recent completion of The Luxe Summit Hotel in Bel Air. This past summer McDonald was a cast member on Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators. Here, she shares her tips for staying organized.
"I am a big believer in lists, with categories and subcategories," McDonald says. "If your desk has mounds of paper as well as random other things from paper clips to gum to paint samples ( I am a designer) make a list of everything you see in front of you and it's category. I even have 3 canvas LL bean bags in the trunk of my car. One says dry cleaning, one says shoe repair and one says office."
"I LOVE The Container Store because they sell modular drawer organizer acrylic boxes in all sizes. You won't be searching for the pen amongst the book light and every bit of change in your bedside drawer. They will all have a home," says McDonald.
"Have designated rooms if you have more than one bedroom in the house, or designated spaces if you are in a 1 bedroom. Try to keep electronics in one room, one room for a zen, and so on," McDonald suggests.
"If there is something in your home that is taking up your space and you have meaning to get rid of it, please do," McDonald says. "Keep valuables. However if its an item that doesn't have any use, it needs to go."