10 Home Design Crimes

How many home design crimes can you find in this picture?
How many home design crimes can you find in this picture?
Agri Press/Thinkstock

Design and décor might be a matter of taste, but many people have a desire for their home to be stylish, current and a reflection of their personality. After all, your home is your sanctuary, and your goal should be to create a relaxing space where you look forward to spending free time. Get in tune with your inner creative voice, and aim to balance that taste with good design.

If you have a disco ball hanging in your bedroom, or if baskets and tiny rooster figurines line the tops of your kitchen cabinets, you might be in need of a serious home makeover. Take small steps when redecorating to keep from feeling overwhelmed, and remember, revamping a space in your home doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money. To help you decide which home décor and design trends are outdated, unfashionable and have to go, here are 10 home design crimes we'd like you to consider.


Don't Paint Walls With Bold Colors or Designs

Twenty years ago, it was popular to paint accent walls dark red or green, and while some homes are still sporting evidence of that trend, its time has passed. Painting each room in your home a different color is tacky and distracting. Instead, select paint colors from a single color palette, like earth tones or coordinating shades of light blue, that make transitions from room to room feel soothing and consistent. Shades of gray and beige are popular paint colors that are comforting to the eye and will serve as great backdrops for the focal points of a room, like furniture and artwork.

If you find yourself in the checkout line of your local craft store with tiny heart and flower stamps or stencils to use as a border in a room of your home, we beg you to slowly back away from the cash register and put the stamps and stencils back where you found them. These artistic details, while inexpensive and simple, hinder the potential of a room’s design. If you’re determined to stencil or stamp walls in your home, consider creating a design that mimics a stylish wallpaper pattern that will add a bit of color and flair to a room.


Don't Match Everything in a Room

Choose complementary furniture and accents instead of going matchy-matchy.
Choose complementary furniture and accents instead of going matchy-matchy.

If you're someone who likes everything in a room to match perfectly, try decorating a little outside the box! Picking out a set of furniture, coordinating accessories and choosing paint colors can seem overwhelming when you're faced with a blank, white canvas. Move through the process slowly, and make notes of colors and pieces that inspire you and make you feel comfortable. Expensive items, like couches, chairs and tables, are great items to buy first. Don't feel pressured to buy every matching piece in a set as you shop for furniture. Instead, purchase the couch, and hunt for two accent chairs that coordinate well with the larger pieces in the room.

After you arrange these items in a room, pull a hue from accent pillows, furniture or artwork to find a perfect coordinating paint color for the walls. When choosing a paint palette, remember that the walls and furniture in a space should blend well together, but shouldn't match perfectly. As a finishing touch, tie the whole design together with a set of window panels. Stay away from frilly, heavy and fussy fabrics. Window treatments in light shades will complement most color schemes well and won't draw the focus away from the statement pieces of a space.


Don't Carpet your Bathroom

While you might like feeling a fuzzy rug under your wet toes as you step out of the bathtub or shower, carpeting your bathroom is largely considered a home design mistake.

The toilet, sink, bathtub and shower all have the possibility of leaking, which could mean a disaster if you have carpet in the bathroom instead of tile or hardwood. Even if you're lucky and these areas in your home never leak, water can easily splash on the floor, and wet bodies walking around after baths and showers can allow water to seep beneath the carpet. Over time, wet carpet leads to mold and mildew problems, causing foul odors and health hazards to you and your family. If you've got carpet in the bathroom and have the funds to replace it, we recommend slate or tile flooring instead. Both are durable and easy to keep clean!


Don't Settle for Cheap Furniture

Is this what the back of your bookcases look like? That's particle board -- cheap, cheap, cheap.
Is this what the back of your bookcases look like? That's particle board -- cheap, cheap, cheap.

Once upon a time, you were a broke college student, and the thrift store couch, cheap bar stools and folding chairs were all you could afford. Now that you're older with a steady job and solid bank account, save your money for pieces of furniture within your budget that are both well-made and stylish. Cheap furniture is often constructed from plywood and particle board, both of which can be damaged easily. The cheaper the furniture, the more frequently and quickly you'll have to replace it. Spend your time wisely and shop for pieces made from durable materials, like hardwood and iron.

Make a conscious effort to recycle and repurpose items from your own home as well, which is both convenient and cost-effective. A thorough sweep though your home can unveil rarely used and under-appreciated items perfect for another room's decorating scheme. No need to leave home to dig for the perfect craft supplies; doorknobs as tiebacks for curtains, and mirrors and chandeliers made from bottle collections are just a few ideas for projects that can transform a room from drab to fab in an instant!


Don't Wallpaper Large Spaces

Wallpaper is making a small comeback in today's home decorating trends, but keep in mind that a little wallpaper goes a long way. Wallpapering large rooms or spaces can make you feel dizzy and overwhelmed, but covering walls in small spaces, like a powder room or guest bathroom, with whimsical designs can look fantastic.

When shopping for the perfect wallpaper pattern, visit paint stores and home design showrooms and try to see as many samples as possible to get an understanding of what patterns appeal to you. Contemporary, extraordinary designs are popular, but plaids and oversized florals are definitely antiquated styles. Whatever you do, don't decorate your home with wallpaper borders! They'll become the unsophisticated focal point in a room and ruin any attempt at updating a space.


Don't Allow Collections to Clutter

Collections are often meaningful to a person, so we don't recommend ridding a home completely of bric-a-brac and other memorabilia. House guests often enjoy seeing another person's collection of tea cups, antique cameras or plates, as long as they're displayed neatly. Organize a collection, and if it's large, pack up a sizable portion of the items for storage; you don't necessarily need 50 salt and pepper shaker sets crowding shelves in the corner of a kitchen, for example, but eight to 10 sets can accent a wall as a conversation piece perfectly.

Assembling a vignette is another great way to liven up a drab corner, but take our advice and limit your snow globe collection to one or two pieces to keep from cluttering a space. Consider various shapes and sizes of complementary items, like a vintage typewriter, framed sheet music, and a jar of Scrabble pieces, and make a statement of your own with a creative, decorative design.

Above all, don't let the collections in your home overwhelm a space. Try to limit yourself to one collection per room, or three to four in your entire home. You can always rotate collections to keep décor interesting; display one for several months, then pack it up for a while and display another collection in its place. If your knick-knacks begin to clutter a space, think of a creative way to neatly display them instead. If you have a collection of vintage plates, for example, search for a bare wall in your home and hang them as art.


Don't Decorate with Fake Plants

It doesn't matter if you decorate with plastic greenery inside or outside, it's a design faux pas. Inside, fake ivy, ferns and flower arrangements collect mounds of dust and cheapen your home's overall design. Outside, planting imitation daffodils, daisies and sunflowers send the message to others that you're too lazy to take the time to cultivate and nurture real plants -- and it's also very likely that your neighbors might wonder if you've lost your mind.

Resist spending your hard-earned cash on fake plants, and opt for fresh flowers instead. When used in moderation, dried floral arrangements can also accent your home beautifully. If you're creative and crafty, shop for a paper flower kit to your liking from a fine paper shop like Paper Source, pull out your scissors and get to work. Three-dimensional paper flower arrangements, wreaths and garlands are affordable and simple ways to accent a space, and no green thumb is required!


Don't Decorate with Bad Retro Trends

Except for the lava lamp, it's a pretty nice console table.
Except for the lava lamp, it's a pretty nice console table.

Many popular trends of decades past should stay in the history books where they belong. Mirrored walls and ceilings might have been considered swanky in the '70s, but today, they make a room look sleazy and unfashionable. Similarly, wood paneled walls are a home design trend that will most likely never come back in style. If you're currently living in an older home with wood paneled walls, pull out a roller and start painting. You can make over your dark, wood walls very easily with a few light coats of paint, brightening the space drastically in an instant.

While certain retro pieces have come back with a vengeance, like bar carts, Eames lounge chairs and sunburst mirrors and clocks, there are just as many that should stay boxed up in your attic. Unless you have a teenager living at home, disco balls, blow-up plastic chairs, bean bags and lava lamps shouldn't be anywhere in sight. Retro collectables are often meaningful and hard to let go of, but take a little time to go through items, donate some to your local thrift store and make space for new, contemporary pieces. When in doubt, throw it out.


Don't Hang Unoriginal Art

It's easy to shop online for framed poster prints of famous works of art or inspirational photos of sports heroes if you're looking to spruce up a blank wall. But before you spend your money on unoriginal pieces like these, take a little time and search for works of art that are one-of-a-kind and mean something special to you.

Collecting artwork doesn't mean you have to empty your savings account. Etsy.com features hundreds of thousands of artists who sell affordable artwork, and many accept commission requests, creating extraordinary pieces for buyers. Another way to decorate with original artwork is to hang your kid's creations in your home; nothing else is more precious, and your child will feel proud and important. Finally, if you're feeling creative and want to get in touch with your artistic side, grab a paintbrush and create your own work of art!


Don't Decorate with Tacky Kitchen Decor

It was a clean, modern kitchen until someone decorated with roosters.
It was a clean, modern kitchen until someone decorated with roosters.
Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock

A friend once told me about a ghastly kitchen she and her husband saw when they were searching for their dream condo. The real estate agent turned on the kitchen light, and she gaped in horror at the chef-themed kitchen in front of her, complete with stenciled kitschy chef art and quotes about cooking on every cabinet.

Moral of the story: Beware of over-embellishing a room with themed decor. If a quick glance around your kitchen reveals your intense love for Paris, pot-bellied pigs or fruit-themed knick-knacks, it might be time to simplify your style and makeover your space.

Other bad kitchen decorations that are outdated include olive oil jars with floating peppers and vegetables; throw them away or donate them. Decorating with baskets is another kitchen décor faux pas; baskets should only be used to store your laundry and winter blankets; never display them above kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is often a favorite gathering space in a home -- a room where the entire family spends time cooking, eating, laughing and talking. As with any room in your home, the décor in your kitchen should feel warm, inviting and simple. With a little time and effort, you can create a space that you and your family will enjoy for many years to come.


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