Have you ever walked into someone’s home or apartment and thought, “OMG, what were they thinking when they decorated this place?”
Everyone has their preferred decorating style. Whether it be mid-century modern, rustic, contemporary, or traditional.
But we’re not talking about differences in style. We’re talking about those things that you just can’t look beyond — the things that you can’t help notice because they’re downright tacky.
Personal design style aside, some things don’t belong in any home, regardless of your aesthetic.
Afraid you might be breaking some major decorating rules right now?
Here are seven tacky décor mistakes to avoid at all costs.
Using a Tiny Area Rug
Area rugs are great; they add depth, dimension, color, and style to a room. And if you have hardwood or tile floors, they’re pretty much a must.
But they only work if they’re the right size.
DO NOT put a tiny area rug in the middle of ample space. There’s just no point!
If you have an area rug in the middle of your living room, make sure some of your furniture overlaps it (or at least almost overlaps its edges).
If you place an area rug beneath a particular piece of furniture, it should be bigger than the dimensions of the furniture.
Placing a Rug Around Your Toilet
Let’s keep talking about rugs for a moment …
Do you have one of those U-shaped rugs around the base of your toilet?
Now’s the time to toss it.
Those toilet-shaped area rugs are beyond outdated. If you want to add an area rug in the bathroom, opt for a small one that you can place a distance away from the toilet.
And if you have that U-shaped rug, there’s a good chance you’ve coordinated it with a matching toilet seat cover. Ditch that as well!
Displaying Too Many Knickknacks
If you want your home to look modern and chic, it’s time to streamline your collectibles.
Don’t fill your shelves and tabletops with knickknacks and figurines. Instead, choose a handful of your favorite pieces and put those on display. This is a perfect example of less is more.
Do you have tons of tchotchkes that people (who don’t really understand your style) have given you as gifts over the years?
Please do not feel obligated to showcase each and every one of them.
Instead, let your family members know that it’s time to stop buying those statues of angels or penguins or pigs. Be honest and tell them that your collection is growing too big for your space.
Decorating With a Theme
Unless you’re a child, there’s absolutely no reason to decorate a room with a theme.
Instead of decorating in a particular theme, shift your mindset and start decorating with a design style.
For example, instead of decorating in a tropical theme, think “island chic.” You can create a beachy, tropical feel with a stylish rattan accent chair, a potted palm, and sheer white curtains.
They’ll make a much more sophisticated impact than palm tree print curtains or seashell throw pillows.
Hanging the Wrong Curtains
There’s almost no greater design mistake than covering a window with curtains that don’t fit.
Before you buy curtains, sheers, blinds, or drapes, measure your windows. At the very least, a curtain should reach the bottom of your windowsill. A curtain that’s too short looks tacky (and shows that you don’t know how to use a measuring tape).
If you accidentally buy curtains that are too short, return them. Don’t just mount your curtain rod lower in order to accommodate the shorter length.
It’s actually much better to buy longer curtains and hang your curtain rod high.
Because it will make your windows appear larger and make your room look even bigger than it is.
Making a Room Too Matchy-Matchy
The matchy-matchy thing is over, and it has been for decades.
In your bedroom, do not buy a duvet, curtain, and throw pillows in the exact same print. Instead, mix and match prints and solids that contrast (and coordinate) for a much more modern look.
In the living room, resist the urge to buy an entire seven-piece furniture set from the furniture store. You know the ones — they usually include a couch, a loveseat, a coffee table, matching end tables, and matching lamps.
Instead, place different lamps on each table. It’s okay to match your end tables, but you should choose a contrasting coffee table to go with them.
And, most importantly, don’t display those matching printed throw pillows that came with your couch. You can keep the pillows, but insert them into different pillow covers, so each one has a unique look.
Displaying Vases of Fake Flowers or Plants
Plastic plants and silk flowers do not make for a sophisticated home.
There’s no question about it: real plants and fresh flowers smell better and look better.
Yes, fresh plants and flowers will need feeding and watering. And no, they won’t last forever. But it’s better to have fresh flowers in your home on occasion than to have fake flowers (that will collect dust) on display all year long.
Hate wasting money on fresh flowers?
Grow your own in your garden or a pot on your porch or balcony. Grocery stores are also a great place to find fresh flowers and bouquets without the hefty flower shop price tag.
How you decorate your home or apartment is entirely up to you. Ultimately what’s most important is that it makes you happy.
If you’re into retro-style, by all means, decorate with an egg chair and a shaggy rug. If it’s traditional décor you love, stick with your beloved mission-style tables and overstuffed couch.
But, if you’re currently making all of the mistakes on this list, it could be time to rethink your overall design strategy. You may even wish to call in a decorator for professional help!
Caitlin Sinclair, Business Manager of THEO, has been with Alliance Residential Company for over five years. She has extensive experience with a variety of properties, from large lease-ups to smaller, more urban assets.