Raise your hand if your home is missing a certain je ne sais quoi. In your space, do you ever wonder how you could make it better—what you could subtract to make it feel fresh, balanced, and new? When looking at our own décor with little perspective, it can be hard to decipher the missing piece to the puzzle—the one thing that's stopping our space from looking and feeling just right. Is the sofa too small? What should I add to that wall? Why does my place feel a little sterile? If you've ever asked yourself these types of questions, you're not alone.
Last week, we went to the very source of these queries and asked you—our readers—to tell us what you think most homes are missing: lighting, art, antiques, plants, rugs… Everyone had an opinion, but surprisingly, the most common answers had nothing to do with particular objects, but rather characteristics that make a space extra special. After reading through hundreds of answers, we boiled the answers down to seven key things your home might be missing. How does your space stack up?
"We're so often dazzled by a pin or 'gram that we try to literally create someone else's space in our own homes," shared one Instagram follower. "That never works. Get to know your house, work on defining your style, note how you use your space. and then refer to social media for inspiration, not iteration."
Another agreed: "Some homes don't truly reflect everyone who lives there. To me, a home should tell a story rather than simply follow a trend."
"I love to see rooms that have layers of beautiful, meaningful living," another chimed in, "a sort of chemistry of personal history combined with beloved items which, for me, always includes the occasional living things like pets and plants."
What to try for originality: Color, pattern, and textures you love. Don't be limited by trends.
For other readers, most homes are missing scale, more specifically "furniture that has a good scale and is really comfortable."
Readers pointed out that sofas and rugs are most commonly the wrong scale. If you're unsure whether or not your pieces are the right scale, ask for external feedback, suggests one reader: "It's always easier to justify your own design. The power of a professionally inspired cull is amazing! It could be via an agent, designer, or a very honest friend. Honesty is the best policy."
What to try for scale: Larger rugs and furniture pieces that fill the space.
Dramatic flair, spunk, fearlessness—call it what you will, but your home probably doesn't have enough of it. "Most homes are missing dramatic flair," said one reader. "You need one piece or feature that sets your home apart, that is uniquely you and sets the tone for your home. People seem too afraid to really go all out."
"Too many people worry about what others will think," said another, "and hold back on doing something crazy, fun, quirky. Fearlessness is missing."
"Most homes are missing a focal point," remarked one reader on Instagram. "You don't need a bunch of cool items. Just one or two unique items in a room can make a statement."
What to try for fearlessness: Bold art—something almost everyone agreed is missing in most homes.
Almost unanimously, readers talked about design details that made a home livable: "A lot of condos and apartments today are built as if you own just five shirts," joked one reader.
"Most homes are missing enough built-in storage and space for managing the home," said another. The most common storage issues that were reported included inconspicuous TV solutions, walk-in closets, and built-in bookcases.
"If you have the right kind of storage, you'll find you don't actually need that much space," explained one Instagram follower. "The old saying 'a place for everything and everything in its place' is a good mantra to guide you."
What to try for thoughtful design: Storage pieces that serve a purpose. If you can't build it in, add your organizational system in another way.
"Most homes today are missing one or two pre-loved luxuries," remarked one reader. "Things that remind us of our past and where we came from—little pops of nostalgia in our beautiful modern environments."
She wasn't alone—multiple readers chimed in to talk about heirlooms and souvenirs, like this one: "Most homes are missing something personal or passed down—be it framed artwork made by a loved one or a special piece of furniture that has been passed from one generation to another."
Another way to add a sense of history to your space? Collections, suggested one reader: "Most homes are missing collections of porcelains, art, or anything that interests you."
What to try for history: Vintage pieces, souvenirs, and heirlooms. Don't be too quick to throw your hand-me-downs.
"Most homes miss personality," said one Instagram follower. This was to become a theme for most comments we received. "Rooms are too perfectly done, as if no one really lives in them."
"So many homes are filled with what people think is safe and not what represents them and their passions authentically," said another.
"People are quick to buy a cheap piece of art, rather than taking their time looking for a one of kind piece," suggested another reader. "Replace those stock prints with pictures of your travels, family or things that actually mean something to you."
One Instagram follower had a theory as to why people choose safe designs instead of infusing personality into their spaces: "People are unsure of themselves and often don't feel like they can bring their design to a magazine-worthy look while leaving it somewhat unfinished and disjointed. Most homes have a lot of beautiful pieces but are missing the final touches to bring the spaces together. They're missing a cohesive theme and the little details that wrap up each space and tie them together nicely."
What to try for personality: Finishing touches—rugs, window treatments, and pillows that reflect your tastes.
What creates a harmonious home? "Harmony comes with the understanding of feng shui," said one reader. "Sourcing beautiful objects bring into the home good vibes. Ultimately, every home needs those good vibes arranged in harmony with each other."
Most readers also agreed that homes are lacking greenery: "I'd love to see more personal touches like freshly cut herbs or flowers from the garden. It doesn't cost much to enjoy the simpler things around the home or neighborhood." Another reader chimed in: "Rooms look so much better with flowers, plants, and greenery of some kind."
Beyond greenery, readers spoke about self-care and wellness: "Homes are missing a self-care station. No matter the space or person, every home needs a spot where the owner can nurture who they are."
What to try for harmony: Greenery and natural light—anything to lift your spirits and make you feel at ease.
Next up: Interior designers say no room is complete without this one thing.