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40 Tacky Living Room Mistakes

Shot Glass Collections

Nobody’s surprised that you’ve partied in every coastal city in Florida — lots of people have. But displaying all those shot glasses you collected isn’t super cool. If anything, it makes it seem like you miss being 21 and hung over. Maybe it’s time to start collecting something a little more mature.

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Bold Walls

The house I grew up in had some crazy walls before we painted them. The house itself was beautiful, with a vaulted living room and a cozy dining room. The problem? The living room was lime-green, and the dining room was cherry-red. No house should ever look like it picked its color scheme from the drive-thru menu at Sonic.

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Tiny Rugs

Rugs that are too small are called floating rugs. They aren’t anchored to anything, which defeats the purpose of a rug. Rugs should pull a room together. They tell people where to go and where to focus their attention… specifically, at something else on the rug. Make sure all your furniture has at least two legs on the rug at all times. Otherwise, things just feel as awkward as wearing a too-small shirt.

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Temporary Furniture

Cheap, temporary furniture is only chic for the three days before something inevitably breaks. 

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Weird Lamps

If your lamp has multiple arms, then something’s wrong. If it’s got a different colored lamp-shade on the end of each arm, you should be worried. Your lamp looks like a rainbow-colored octopus, and that is not a good thing.

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The only place a futon looks normal is in a college dorm. Why don't you use some money from the degree you earned there to buy an actual sofa? 

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Fake Plants

A house with fake plants is even worse than a house with no plants. Nothing says "lifeless" like something that is literally lifeless. 

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Cliché Art

Nothing says, "I am actively rooting for the downfall of civilization" like a framed poster reprint of Van Gogh's Starry Night in your living room. Everyone knows that all the best art is confusing and obscure and not for purchase at Target.  

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Cluttered Cables

No one wants to see the Gordian knot of TV, modem, and other assorted cables that keeps you plugged into the world. In a perfect world, they'd all be neatly arranged, but at the very least, shove that stuff behind a table.  

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Cheesy Photo Frames

If you need a photo frame to tell you how to feel, your problem might be bigger than tacky decor. Unless it's some hand-made piece of garbage that your kids gave you, stick to an actual picture frame. 

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Pillows that Match Your Couch

Your pillows are the same color as your couch? What a bold, interesting choice. It might be time to branch out to other areas of the color wheel. 

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Pallet Coffee Tables

DIY pallet furniture really blew up over the past few years, and along with it came pallet coffee tables. They're a great addition for any family looking to turn their living room into a lumber yard. 

Plastic Storage

Storage may never be a gorgeous living room centerpiece, but your junk deserves better than plastic! Even something that's only vaguely decorative (like fabric boxes) is better than dull, dead plastic. 

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Matching the Couch with the Curtains

If your curtains and couch are all made from the same fabric, there’s a problem. Someone has clearly used their sewing skills for evil. Let your room fully express itself by diversifying the things it’s decorated with. This will keep things from feeling too repetitive. 

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Big Mouth Billy Bass

People who still have a Big Mouth Billy Bass hanging in their living room need to be quarantined and studied. They were a blip on America's pop culture radar that should have died out years ago. 

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Frameless Photos

Frameless photos feel immature. They’re okay if you can’t quite afford an actual frame, but once you have a full-time job, it’s time to start buying actual frames.

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Plastic Couch Covers

Plastic covers make a room feel like a crime scene. And if you can't trust your family not to ruin your furniture, your problem is the family, not the furniture. 

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Curtainless Windows

At first, not hanging curtains may seem like a great way to provide natural lighting to your living room. However, reality is very different. What once opened your living room up now let's that evening sun blind you for an hour. Or think about how awkward it is when the people from the phone company come by as you’re digging into that pint of ice cream. Hang some blinds so you can eat your ice cream with a little privacy.

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Pillow Piles Everywhere

If you've got enough pillows to build a pillow fort, you're officially working with an immature living room. 

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Shag Carpeting

Some people really love shag carpeting--and those people lived and died in the 70s. If you are really desperate for that soft shag feel, lay down a few wigs. That's basically what shag carpeting looks like anyways.  

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Chintz Wallpaper

Chintz wallpaper has been a huge blessing for the New England bed and breakfast industry. For the rest of us, chintz makes the living room look more like a mausoleum. 

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Ruffled Furniture Skirts

Ruffled skirts in your living room make the room feel stiff, uptight, and decades out of date. Replacing those ruffled skirts more modern, straight skirt will loosen things up a bit. Add in some furniture with exposed legs and your living room will feel more balanced.

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Gold Fixtures

Gold fixtures were once all the rage. They were in every house, and they looked cool. That was the ‘80s, though. Now, those fixtures have sat for 30 years. They’re worn in, and not in a good way. 

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Wooden Mallards

Unless you’re a duck hunter or farmer, you should probably leave your love of ducks at the local park. This world has enough wooden mallards without you adding another one to the mix.

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Wood Paneling

Wood paneling looked terrible in 1980s trailers, and it looks terrible today. Build an actual log cabin or go home, I say. 

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Barn Doors

Barn doors became a big hit in recent years thanks to Pinterest. But unless there's a mother cow birthing a calf behind that door, it has no business in your home. 

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Pattern Problems

Nothing says, "I failed geometry AND home ec," more than a living room full of clashing colors and lines. Your home shouldn't look like a map exploded in it.  

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Blanket Ladders

Okay, Laura Ingalls Wilder, we see your ladder and those blankets you probably bought at Target. Nothing says "rustic" less than trying to look rustic. 

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Mounted Animal Heads

Animal mounts are only acceptable as a form of bragging rights. If you shoot it yourself, mount it wherever. Otherwise, leave it off your walls. 

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Dated Lampshades

Nothing looks tackier than that ugly lampshade that looks like it’s from the ‘70s. Unless you’re just aiming for that wood-paneling look, try to use lampshades that flatter your living room décor.

Live Laugh Love Signs

People with "Live, Laugh, Love" signs in their homes are doing none of those things. What started as a small, dumb quirk of modern decor has morphed into a large, dumb one. 

Tons of Knick-Knacks

Knick-knacks show who you are, and there’s a way to display trinkets in a nice way. That being said, you don’t want your home to look like a flea market booth with tons of little things that won’t sell. Not to mention, tons of knick-knacks collect ridiculous amounts of dust. 

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Band Posters Without Frames

Unless you’re in a college dorm, there’s no reason to display band posters. However, there are a few exceptions. If it’s a rare poster (or one you love a ton), hang it but get a frame for it. Putting it in a frame is a great way to get around the “no band posters” rule. 

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Cheap Glass Furniture

Glass tables were already tacky decades ago. If you look directly at one these days, you're likely to disappear into a pile of ash. 

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Color-Changing Lighting

You don’t live in a club, so color-changing lighting is pointless. Even mood lighting can be a little lame. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about soft and hard lighting. I mean blue, red, green, or purple lightbulbs. While I’m at it, no blacklights either.

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Mandala Tapestries

Mandala tapestries that go behind your couch look cute when you’re 20. It also goes great with the furniture because it’s cheap. However, the older we get, the less cute boho-chic is. Instead, get real art. 

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Bookcase Wallpaper

Who is this fooling? What kind of book worm would have book case wallpaper over the real thing? I can guarantee a book has never been opened in any room that sports this. 

Word-Based Wall Decals

Decals can spice up your home, but word-based ones are so overused that they’ve been killed. The worst part of this is when it tells you what you’re supposed to do in the room. Play, Read, and all those other signs are like fill in the blanks in kindergarten: “My family loves to _____.”

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Chevron is used everywhere, so let’s stop, yeah? Chevrons are so incredibly tacky. There are tons of other simple patterns to use in place of chevrons, and those can actually add to your décor. 

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White Rooms

Colorless rooms belong in sterile hospitals and that’s about it. If that's what you're going for in your living room, why not throw in an MRI machine and some sick patients to really tie everything together?

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