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40 Tacky Living Room Mistakes

Futons

Futons

Unless you’re living in a college dorm, where your bed must also function as a couch, a futon has no place in your home. For the same price, you could buy a regular couch and join the rest of the adults in the world. Futons have their place in the world, but they should really stay in their lane and never venture out.

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than having to sit on those springy pads. If you invite your guests over and force them to sit on one of these, they’re sure to ask you to come to their place next time. (That’s code for “we don’t want to come to your house ever again.”) So, ditch the futon and get something that is actually seating, your guests will thank you.

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Tons of Knick-Knacks

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. 

Collections are extremely personal, so we’re not saying anyone needs to get rid of their treasures. Just invest in a nice case to house your prized possessions and try to keep them confined to one room. If your collection is sprawling through your entire house, you may be wandering into hoarder territory.

Tiny Rugs

Tiny Rugs

Rugs that are too small are called floating rugs. They aren’t anchored to anything at all, which defeats the entire purpose of a rug. Rugs should pull a room together or at least provide a focal point for a space. 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. If that rug is not big enough for the space, it’s just going to look chintzy and cheap. In the end, it’s better to have a plain rug that is the right size than a designer rug that is way too small.

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Temporary Furniture

Temporary Furniture

Temporary furniture is just like fast fashion. It’s great for like three days, then it starts falling apart at the seams almost overnight. Furniture should be sturdy and long-lasting. Back in the day, furniture was something you bought once and never thought about it again. However, with the rise of the internet, we all want what we see online.

Unless you’re shelling out a pretty penny for shipping, chances are that piece of furniture you bought online is made out of crumby particleboard. Not to mention it comes in a million pieces for you to put together with a couple of dowels and a prayer. The lesson here is this – save your money for something nice because you’ll be replacing something cheap within the year anyways.

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Weird Lamps

Weird Lamps

If your lamp has multiple arms, then something’s wrong. If it’s got a different colored lampshade 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. An odd-ball lamp can derail a room and make it look more like a daycare for children. 

We’re not saying you shouldn’t play with your lighting, but if your lamp is screaming out at you from the corner you may consider something a little quieter. Lamps come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. But something too drastic will likely end up looking corny in a few years when they fall out of trend. We’re looking at you, paper lanterns!

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Fake Plants

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. Fake plants can range in quality from the obvious fakes to the ultra-lifelike. But you really lose all the air purifying benefits of having a houseplant if you don’t actually have a real one.

Besides, have you ever taken look at those fake plants after a few months of zero touch, movement, or attention? They’re absolutely covered in dust and unless you’re taking precious time out of your day to hand wipe the dust off of every leave and stem, they’re just not getting clean. So stick with the real stuff.

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Cluttered Cables

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.  Displaying your cables for all to see is just plain lazy. 

Everything seems to have a cord these days, and if you’re even thinking about letting your cords dangle from your mounted TV… don’t. It’s a lucky thing that after fighting with these cords for years now, several inventions have hit the market to solve these problems. There are kits to hide cords in the wall, cord organizing products, and even cord houses to keep those cords under wraps.

Cheesy Photo Frames

Cheesy Photo Frames

If you need a photo frame to tell you how to feel, your problems may be larger than bad decor. Unless it's some hand-made piece of garbage that your kids gave you, stick to an actual picture frame for your family vacation photos. After all, the frame shouldn't overshadow the picture itself. 

While you’re at it, make sure that your picture frame collection is at least cohesive. All frames should match or complement each other. Stick to a neutral scheme that blends in with your home’s existing décor. We know there are tons of tempting frames out there, but the classics are what’s best in this case.

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Pillows that Match Your Couch

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.  How would you know where the pillows start and where the cushions end? We understand the monochrome look, but this is just a bit too bleak. 

Venture out and take a walk on the wild side! In fact, if your couch came with default throw pillows, throw them away or buy new covers to slip over them. Matchy-matchy is out. Express your creativity and bring some life to your space. Come on, spice it up! There are endless options when it comes to throw pillows.

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Pallet Coffee Tables

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. Industrial is great and all, but this is just... all wrong.  Not to mention splintery!

Everyone thought it was so cool to go to the back of some warehouse and STEAL their pallets, companies must have been going nuts trying to keep their hands on their own pallets. It became such a fad and we’re not sure why. Little did we know those pallets actually had harsh chemicals on them that are dangerous to our health!

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Bold Walls

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.

Color is fabulous! However, the wrong vibrancy or hue can totally come across all wrong. Your walls should be a quiet backdrop for your home décor. Not a screaming fiend ruining dinner every night. It’s no secret that color does something psychologically to us, so whatever you do, don’t harsh my mellow with some harsh color.

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Plastic Storage

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. Not to mention, those plastic bins are totally unsightly. The least you can do is find a better small cabinet to house your goodies.

Plastic storage bins are justifiable in the garage or shed, but they seriously have no place in your common places. If you’re struggling to store that much stuff in your home, you may have a larger problem than not having enough storage. It may be time for a yard sale! Clinging on to those old cords, remotes, and who knows what else isn’t doing anything good for anybody.

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Matching the Couch with the Curtains

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. Variety in color, pattern, and texture is important in a space. This will keep things from feeling too repetitive. 

We’re not sure how anyone is actually able to accomplish this, but people somehow do. Unless your home is a showroom for your neighborhood sewing club, there’s no need to make your guests’ eyes cross when they walk into your home. Dizzying patterns just overwhelm the eye and make people feel uncomfortable.

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Big Mouth Billy Bass

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.  but somehow Big Mouth Billy has survived throughout the decades and refuses to give up the ghost. 

It’s time to put Big Mouth Billy down, like Old Yeller down. He’s done his job and entertained us for years. Like anyone his age, he’s ready for retirement. So do the right thing. Take out those crusty batteries and give him the sendoff he deserves – a trash day appointment with the curb.

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Frameless Photos

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. Not every photo deserves a frame, we get that. In that case, just spring for a good ol' photo album and give those loose pictures a place of their own. 

If you’re a person who values your memories of the past, wouldn’t you want those photos to be protected? Loose pictures can get torn, faded, bent, and even lost. Stringing your pictures up on Christmas lights is a cute choice, but if you’re out of college it’s really time to outgrow this.

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Plastic Couch Covers

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. Who in their right mind wants to sit on thick squeaky sheets of vinyl? Not me! Those things need to go back to the ‘70s where they belong.

Your couch should be a place where you can sit down, take a load off and relax… unless you have a fondness for latex, we’re not sure how anyone could be comfortable sitting on something like this. It sticks to your skin, causes static in your clothes and all around is just not good. Free those couch cushions!

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Cliché Art

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.  So don't try to pass yourself off as cultured when you found that thing in the clearance aisle. 

Finding adequate wall art is probably one of the hardest things about decorating a home. You can never seem to find the right thing, and when you do it’s usually way too expensive. But choosing a reprint of a famous work of art is just downright laughable. Leave the classics in the museums and just keep looking for the right thing.

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Curtainless Windows

Curtainless Windows

At first, not hanging curtains may seem like a great way to provide natural lighting to your living room. However, the reality is very different. What once opened your living room up now lets 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. 

Even if you’re okay with everyone seeing what you’re up to in your home, the rest of us out here feel very differently. Hang some blinds so you can eat your ice cream with a little privacy. Everyone else is on a diet. And let’s just hope eating ice cream is the only thing you’re up to in there. Come on!

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Shag Carpeting

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.  After a few years, those silky piles will turn into dreadful matted nightmares. 

Carpet in the home, in general, is already problematic–either you love it or you hate it. We can justify a little bit of carpet, but what we can’t justify is excessive shag carpet that clings to dirt and grime FOREVER! No wonder shag has survived since the ‘70s with the amount of organic matter in it it’s basically alive!

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Chintz Wallpaper

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. We’re not going to deny that chintz wallpaper can totally bring that earl grey, misty morning vibe to any home, but leave the British mornings to the British.

These pattern-packed wallpapers are so busy they’ve turned into a neutral. It’s insane that people find a way to make these work, but honestly, if you’re not one of the pros… it could turn into a secret garden disaster. Besides, wallpaper is not the preferred wall covering of today anyway. It peels, fades, and tears too easily to be long-lasting.

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Ruffled Furniture Skirts

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 if you must absolutely have them.  Add in some furniture with exposed legs and your living room will feel more balanced.

Furniture skirts are one of those leftover trends from classic times that just so happened to make it to the 21st century. Most homes don’t have the aesthetic to pull these off, so you’re better off not even trying unless you live in a mansion in The Hamptons. Stick with exposed leg furniture so your Roomba can at least vacuum under there every now and then. 

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Gold Fixtures

Gold Fixtures

Gold fixtures were once all the rage. They were in every house, and they even looked really cool! But that was in the ‘80s, though...  Now, those fixtures have sat dusty for 40 years. They’re worn in, and not in a good way either. They desperately need to be replaced with something more current. 

What we call gold fixtures is oftentimes likely brass. Brass in any home is one of the first things people look for when judging if a home has been remodeled. One tiny occurrence of brass and your guests will be judging your home. Ditch these fixtures for oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel. If you’re dead-set on gold, at least go champagne gold.

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Shot Glass Collections

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 hungover. Maybe it’s time to start collecting something a little more mature.

Furthermore, nothing says “I’ve got a problem” like an excessive collection of drinking memorabilia. Most adults leave their shot phase behind after they leave college and get a dose of that nine to five. Have you ever met someone whose personality trait is drinking? That’s what shot glass collections say about a person.

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Wooden Mallards

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. Especially a phony wooden mallard that just sits on your desk with no intended purpose at all.

Give those ducks the boot and get something more sensible. Faux animals in the home are a cringy home décor trend that started for no reason at all. If you’re so obsessed with animals, go volunteer at the park to save the bees and the ducks! Real-life animals need you, not these wooden weird figurines.

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Wood Paneling

 Wood Paneling

Wood paneling looked terrible in 1980s trailers, and it looks terrible today. Build an actual log cabin or go home, I say.  Lining your walls with dark wood planks just makes your home look like a dark and dingy dungeon. There also always seems to be a smell in a room with paneling.

Paneling must have been substantially cheaper than sheetrock at the time because it was literally in every house on the market for about twenty years. Since we’ve spent years removing that claustrophobic paneling and replacing it with nice and modern sheetrock. Don’t even think about painting over it either, that just seems like an apology for having paneling in your home.

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Barn Doors

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.  What's the deal, were you raised in a barn? Apparently so if you think a sliding barn door looks good inside a home.

Installing these doors is a nightmare. Over time they get off track, wobbly, and ultimately stop working. They’re notorious for scuffing and scratching walls and they don’t even give you the privacy you need behind a door. All in all, these things are useless, and they look ridiculous. Just don’t do it.

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Pattern Problems

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.  We understand that everyone out there isn’t blessed with good taste or a sense of style but come on. Anyone with functioning eyesight can tell that this doesn’t look good at all.

Introducing patterns and color in a room is one of the fundamental elements of interior design. So, if you get this wrong from the start… your room has no hope at all. If design isn’t your strong suit, stick with neutrals and tried and true patterns. There’s nothing wrong with playing safe. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Blanket Ladders

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. The rustic vibe is something that can only be recreated by true authentic age and wear. Otherwise, you just look like you’re trying to hard.

Blanket ladders are a complete waste of space. Chances are no one in your home is even allowed to use those designer blankets that you paid too much for at a department store. It’s time to cut it out and get real. Blanket ladders weren’t even a thing back in the day, and they definitely aren’t now.

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Mounted Animal Heads

Mounted Animal Heads

Animal mounts are only acceptable as a form of bragging rights. If you hunted and shot that poor animal yourself, mount it or whatever. Otherwise, leave just leave it off your walls.  It's unsettling to see those poor glossy eyes staring into the void reminding your guests that their host is a cold-blooded predator.

Nothing wants to make a person go vegan more than a room full of innocent dead animals who were hunted and then stuffed, only to end up on our walls. It’s rather morbid if you actually think about it. We would say to ditch these stuffed animals as soon as possible.

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Pillow Piles Everywhere

Pillow Piles Everywhere

Pillows, pillows, and more pillows! If you’ve got enough pillows to build a pillow fort, you’ve officially crossed the line into hoarding. There’s nothing more annoying than having to shuffle around dozens of throw pillows just to sit down. Worse than that is not being able to put those pillows out of the way on the floor because they’re too expensive.

Coco Chanel gave the fabulous life advice of taking off one accessory before you leave the house. In this case, remove a few pillows from your dang couch! Your guests and family members are tired of being smothered by your pillow collection every time they sit down on the couch.

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Dated Lampshades

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. Your lampshade should also be pretty neutral so that you're not overwhelming the space... it's just a lampshade. 

When it comes to lamps, the shade isn’t usually the element people are concerned with. Having a busy lampshade floating midway through your line of sight can become quite the eyesore. Stick with a cream, white, or grey-toned shade that doesn’t overbear the lamp itself. Those will be much better. 

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Live Laugh Love Signs

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, embarrassing one. If you need to be reminded to live, laugh or love, chances are you’re not a loving joyful type of person.

Have you ever heard those vague meaningless sayings people pass off as golden life advice? This is one of those things. It’s like saying “Thoughts and Prayers.” If you can’t conjure up something ore substantial to say to someone, don’t say anything at all! Especially don’t say it on your wall.

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Band Posters Without Frames

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. 

Just make sure you know at least a few of their lesser-known songs, otherwise you’re just a poser and no one likes that. If you love that band enough to hang their paraphernalia up in your home, you should have at least listened to more than just their hit songs.

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Cheap Glass Furniture

Cheap Glass Furniture

Glass tables were already a no-go decades ago. If you look directly at one these days, you're likely to disappear into a pile of ash. Glass furniture is a cheap way to look fashionable, but the truth is that furniture is cheap for a reason. You get what you pay for. 

If you only paid 50 bucks for that coffee table, people are going to know. What’s cheap also looks cheap. And there’s nothing worse than someone who buys the knock-off, trying to convince everyone it’s the real deal. If you’re going for the expensive elegant look, go all out or don’t try at all.

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Color-Changing Lighting

Color-Changing Lighting

You don’t live in a Miami club, so color-changing rave lighting is absolutely 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 party purple lightbulbs. While I’m at it, no blacklights either.

People who have those LED lighting either have a bad habit with a white powdery substance or they desperately wish they were cool enough to pull off the vibe. No matter how you use it, color-changing LED lights should stay at concerts, clubs, and festivals. Otherwise, your neighbors just think you’re crazy.

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Mandala Tapestries

Mandala Tapestries

Mandala tapestries that go behind your couch look cute when you’re a literal 20-year-old. It also goes great with that dorm furniture because it’s cheap. However, the older we get, the less cute boho-chic is. Instead, get real art and join the rest of the world in adult life. 

After four years of college, that tired tattered fabric is ready to be retired. So, I’m here to give them a helping hand. Besides, you have to hang these by using office tacks… unless you’re moving every six months, your wall art should be hung by a real NAIL. That’s how you know you’ve made it (sarcasm).

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Bookcase Wallpaper

Bookcase Wallpaper

Bookcase wallpaper? Who do you think you're fooling? No one, that's who! What kind of bookworm would have bookcase wallpaper over the real thing? I can guarantee a book has never been opened in any room that sports this look. What a tragic play for an aesthetic. Read a real book every once in a while!

Often peel and stick, faux bookcase wallpaper is for those people that think owning tons of books gives them a personality. Ask these people who their favorite author is and they’re likely to say something dumb like Shakespeare. Any real reader would know that Shakespeare is a playwright, and furthermore, have a lesser-known author as a favorite.

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Word-Based Wall Decals

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 _____.”

If you need a constant reminder of the purpose of each room in your house, you may need to go visit a doctor. Seriously, this has got to be one of the most ridiculous trends out there. Wall decals alone are hit or miss, but word-based wall decals are never acceptable.

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Chevron

Chevron

Chevron is used everywhere, so let’s stop, yeah? Chevrons are probably listed right next to the definition of kitschy trends. There are tons of other simple patterns to use in place of chevrons, and those can actually add to your décor, not distract you with a flash of black and white.

Chevron is going to go down as one of those defining moments in design history. When looking back at the era, people will parody this print like we have gingham or psychedelic squares. But if you haven’t noticed, this pattern hasn’t been in favor in several years so if you’re still trying to pull it off, give it a rest already.

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White Rooms

White Rooms

Colorless rooms belong in sterile hospital waiting rooms and government-sponsored DMV's - 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? Maybe even hire a sixty-year-old crabby receptionist to bark orders at you while you’re watching tv.

All white rooms are terribly bleak. These days even an ounce of dopamine is hard to come by in life, so why would you add to the struggle. No one was ever inspired to do great things while staying in a white-washed daydream, so add a little color in your life. Maybe even crack a smile every now and then. Live a little!

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