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The Most Dangerous Home Decor Trends

Open Staircases

Open Staircases

Open staircases look great—they can give your home a very modern, minimalist look that's very popular these days. However, you're just asking for trouble with this decor trend. Without a handrail, you're just one wrong step away from taking a tumble off the stairs! 

This is particularly a problem if you've got kids in the home because you know that they won't be paying that much attention as they race up and down the stairs. This can be such a risk that some homeowners' insurance policies won't approve you if you've got an open staircase. 

Lead Paint

Lead Paint

If you're living in a home built after 1980, you probably don't have to worry about lead paint in your house and the health risks it poses. However, there's danger lurking in some of those gorgeous older homes. It may not be as prevalent, but the risks of lead paint still linger in some homes. 

The reasons for using lead paint were understandable enough—it was very quick drying and more durable than other styles of paint. However, as it ages, it begins to chip off. If those chips are inhaled or ingested in large enough quantities, it can lead to serious nerve damage or even death. 

Hanging Seating

Hanging Seating

Hanging seating was a big trend in the 1970s, but it's having something of a resurgence in the modern era. Thankfully, these days, you can find some truly stylish hanging seating options and not those macrame and wicker abominations from decades ago. However, these could be risky, and it's pretty easy to see why. 

When properly installed and used, hanging seating is relatively safe. However, if you went DIY for the installation, can you really be sure that all those screws and bolts were expertly installed? If not, you might be in for a tumble to the floor the next time you try to sit in a hanging chair! 

Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves may look magical, but it takes more than a little pixie dust to get those things installed—it takes some serious support and know-how! This type of shelving may give your home a modern look, but you've got to be careful about what you put on those things. 

If you treat the weight limits on your floating shelves as a mere suggestion, you may just find yourself in the middle of an avalanche of appliances, books, or whatever else you placed on them before they toppled. Play it safe and keep those shelves safe from the strain of super heavy objects. 

Toxic Houseplants

Toxic Houseplants

Plants and flowers can be a great and inexpensive way to give your home a pop of natural color, but you've got to be careful about what kind you bring in. There are several species of common plants that can be toxic to the family pet, or even small children if they ingest enough. 

Some plants, like lilies, can be fatally toxic, especially for cats. However, there are numerous others like aloe, ivy, and poinsettias that can still make your kids or furry friends sick if they're ingested. Always do a little research before you bring in any new plants to your home. 

TVs Over the Fireplace

TVs Over the Fireplace

Putting your TV over the fireplace can cause problems in a couple of different ways. For one, like many of these dangerous decor trends, there's the risk that your television could fall and hit someone if not installed correctly. But that's not the only thing you've got to worry about. 

Placing your TV over the fireplace can also pose a fire risk. If the television absorbs too much heat from a fire, it can lead to its inner electronic components melting and potentially sparking. Even if a worst-case scenario like that doesn't happen, you'll likely void your TV's warranty from keeping it so close to the heat. 

Antique Kitchen Appliances

Antique Kitchen Appliances

Those vintage appliances may look fantastic in your kitchen, but you could be putting your family's safety at risk by installing them. Old iron wires in appliances like vintage toasters can potentially melt and cause a fire, but there are more than just electrical risks with antique appliances. 

Vintage refrigerators, in particular, can be very unsafe in the home. These old models often relied on toxic gases like ammonia or ether to help with cooling. If these manage to escape into the air, breathing them in could lead to respiratory problems, among other things. 

Exposed Pipes

Exposed Pipes

Exposed pipes can give your home a very authentic industrial look, but they're more trouble than they're worth. Copper pipes, in particular, are prone to getting very hot and could lead to burns if touched directly. Additionally, exposed pipes are more at risk of being damaged, which could throw your plumbing situation into chaos. 

If you really love the look of exposed pipes, honestly the best thing you can do is be a poser and install some fake pipes that are running to nowhere. This way, you've got no worry about burns or damage. No one will even know you're a phony unless you tell them they're fake!

Salvaged Wood Furniture

Salvaged Wood Furniture

Reclaimed wood is very hot right now in the home decor world, and, while it looks great, it could pose a few risks in your home. Thankfully salvaged wood furniture isn't as risky as some of the other items on this list! But if you want to be overly cautious, it might not be the right decor choice for you. 

If not properly processed and treated, rough edges on the wood could lead to cuts or splinters. However, the more serious risk is that salvaged wood furniture could be a potential fire hazard. These old pieces of wood are normally much drier than fresh wood, which means their risk for igniting is higher. 

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tile

When it comes to covering your floors, you can't do better in terms of beauty than dazzling, shiny porcelain. It's lightyears beyond tacky linoleum, but it also outshines other high-quality options like ceramic tile. But if you've laid down porcelain in your home, you might want to watch your step!

Linoleum, more than almost any other floor covering, is super slick, especially when wet—but also a little bit when dry. Some tiles are treated to make them slip-resistant, but even then, a little slipping and sliding are possible. You might want to wear a bike helmet if you're headed to the bathroom!

(Image via Wikipedia)

Sunken Living Rooms

Sunken Living Rooms

The sunken living room may not be as popular as it once was, but there was no better way to make the room a little more interesting and nice to look at back in the day. However, if you aren't prepared for that small step down, you could be in for a tumble. 

Really, this is a risk with any sort of multi-platform room you have, whether it's sunken or raised. You're probably used to stepping up or down on a daily basis, but visitors to your home might not be so aware of the extra steps they need to take in order to stay upright. 

Exposed Brick

Exposed Brick

Exposed brick has somewhat worn out its welcome at this point. What once was a novel way to add a little rustic beauty to your home is now overdone to the point of being cliche. Plus, it turns out that exposed brick is hiding some hidden risks as well. 

Brick is a very porous material, which means that it will retain moisture more than regular walls. If left unchecked, this could lead to mold growth or water damage in your home. It's also a risk if you've got children—a carefree kid crashing into drywall is painful enough, but they could have serious injuries if they go headfirst into a brick wall. 

Oil Lamps

Oil Lamps

Listen, I understand that we all want to LARP as Laura Ingalls Wilder and read the family Bible by the light of a kerosene lamp, but you're just asking for a house fire if you've got your home littered with working oil lamps. Those things should definitely be for decoration only. 

As old school as they may seem, some people still use oil lamps in their homes. In fact, they're responsible for millions of house fires across the globe every year. They're nice to look at, but at the end of the day, they're basically decorative Molotov cocktails waiting to happen. 

Canopy Cribs

Canopy Cribs

Adding a canopy to the crib in your baby's room can make it look like a magical place. But the aesthetic of your home is definitely not more important than their safety, so it's best to leave the canopies for your bedroom or for your older kids instead. 

Babies are experts at finding trouble where you think there's none, and that includes canopies over the crib. If a child were to get tangled up in the canopy, it could pose a strangulation or suffocation hazard, even with materials that feel lightweight and sheer. 

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings can be dangerous, but were they ever a legitimate decor trend? Is there anyone in the world that really looked up at their ceiling and said, "Yep, my house would look better with a ceiling that looks like it has a skin disease,"? Thankfully, this is one style design that seems to be dying off. 

Thankfully, most popcorn ceilings are just ugly, not dangerous. However, if you find a pre-1970 home with popcorn ceilings, it's almost guaranteed that it's got asbestos in it. While rare these days, asbestos is classified as a carcinogen that can cause respiratory problems ranging from lung cancer to mesothelioma. 

Heavy Picture Frames

Heavy Picture Frames

When it comes to the battle between cheap, flimsy frames vs the heavy-duty nice looking ones, it's clear who the winner is in terms of aesthetics. Ornately carved and gilded frames can take your humble mirror and basically turn it into a work of art itself! But they could also spell trouble. 

Like every other heavy thing you hang on your walls, you're rolling the dice with heavy picture frames. If installed properly, you probably don't have anything to worry about. But if you try to cut corners and rush the job, you might just end up with a twenty-pound picture frame on top of your big toe!

Blinds with Cords

Blinds with Cords

You wouldn't think something as innocuous-looking as blinds would be cause for alarm, but they're deceptively dangerous in your home. They can actually pose a choking hazard to small children who could very easily get tangled up in the cords without being able to free themselves before suffocating. 

This is actually a more common problem than you might think, and it's led to recalls of entire products in the past. According to records, there were about 16,000 incidents of children injuring themselves on blinds and their cords over the span of about 25 years in the United States. 

Toy Boxes

Toy Boxes

Every kid's room needs a toy box, there's just no denying that. However, not just any toy box will do—there are actually some that are more likely to injure a small child than others. In this case, it's the heavy-duty ones that can really cause some damage. 

Heavy, wooden toy chests that don't have some kind of support for the lid can lead to hand or head injuries if a child were to accidentally let go of it and allow it to slam down. Additionally, a chest that automatically latches when closed could be a suffocation hazard if a child were to get trapped in there. 

Open Floor Plans

Open Floor Plans

In the past decade, open floor plans have become all the rage. It's a great way to make a small space seem bigger if there aren't so many walls around. However, as innocent as this might seem, an open floor plan in your home could actually pose a risk to you and your family. 

In the event of a fire, an open space can actually hurt you. Walls and doors between rooms will actually somewhat slow the spread of a fire in your home. Without those extra walls, the fire can move easily to areas in the home where there is more flammable material, making them grow even larger. 

Non-LED Fairy or Christmas Lights

Non-LED Fairy or Christmas Lights

Throwing up a string of lights can make your home look more magical without spending an arm and a leg. And especially during the holidays, we know that people like to deck their halls with Christmas lights from top to bottom. However, if you're buying the wrong kind, you could be at risk of a fire. 

If possible, always opt for LED string lights, as these don't release heat like traditional lights do, which means the chances of a fire starting are highly unlikely. However, if you do opt for more traditional lights, always go with a recognizable brand instead of whatever is cheapest, as defects and shortcuts in manufacturing crop up more with the little-known cheap brands. 

Glass Shower Doors

Glass Shower Doors

They might not offer you very much privacy, but glass doors in your shower can look absolutely gorgeous and high class. However, if you're not careful, you might find yourself with some nasty cuts from a glass door, which actually occurs a bit more than you might realize—sometimes without warning. 

Stories of glass shower door shattering are not uncommon, and this could especially be a problem in a home with kids who haven't quite mastered the art of shutting a door gently and quietly. Thankfully, most of these doors are made of tempered glass, which has been designed to not create sharp shards in the event of it shattering. 

Candles

Candles

There's nothing cheaper or easier to improve the look (and smell) of your home than candles. However, they can pose a risk, and we doubt you'll need three guesses to figure out what it is. To no one's shock, candles can be a fire hazard if you're not careful with where and how you use them. 

For something as small and humble as a candle, it can actually cause major damage. Every year, an estimated 15,000 house fires are caused by candles, which leads to more than $500 million in property damage. Keep an eye on those things or it could cost you! 

Live Christmas Trees

Live Christmas Trees

Christmas just isn't Christmas without a real tree—apologies to all the fake tree fans out there. But if you're bringing one into your home this holiday season, be sure to select carefully, as they can pose a fire risk if you choose wrong. 

If you're using a real Christmas tree, go with one that has been very freshly cut, if possible. While still fresh, the trees won't pose much of a fire hazard, but as they die and dry out, the risk of fire rises. So, be sure to water them regularly and toss them as soon as you notice they begin to dry out. 

Dressers

Dressers

Every dresser, from the cheap plywood model you buy at IKEA to the heavy oak family heirloom, poses a falling risk if you're not careful. Obviously, the chance of a properly installed dresser falling on a grown adult is slim to none, but for kids, who generally aren't that careful, it could mean a major injury. 

If you've been around kids for any amount of time, you know they love to climb, and sometimes, a dresser with all its shelves opened up just looks like the perfect play place. Unfortunately, open dressers falling on kids is not an unheard of occurrence. They may look sturdy, but they can fall pretty easily. 

Decorative Liquor Bottles

Decorative Liquor Bottles

Decorative liquor bottles are not the fanciest form of decor out there, but they appear to be pretty popular and show no signs of going anywhere. However, they're more than just dangerous to your aesthetic sensibilities—they could actually pose a risk to your health. 

In 2019, a report was released that documented the unusually high levels of lead and cadmium released by some glass liquor bottles. While most release safe levels of these elements, enamel bottles contained a lead concentration of 80,000 parts per million. For reference, paint can legally contain no more than 90 parts per million. 

Permanent Press Drapes

Permanent Press Drapes

In terms of convenience, you can't beat permanent press drapes. With their resistance to wrinkles, they'll always look their best. However, they're hiding a chemical secret that you might not expect—some types can contain high levels of formaldehyde. Over time, it's released into the air and can lead to breathing problems. 

Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to irritation in the mouth, eyes, nose, and throat, but luckily, most otherwise healthy people won't notice many problems from drapes alone. However, if you have other breathing problems, like asthma, the issues with formaldehyde could be more severe. 

Particleboard Furniture

Particleboard Furniture

There is no shortage of cheap particleboard furniture in the world. While it may be great for dorm rooms and bachelor pads, most people thankfully move onto more high-quality furniture as they get older. However, if you do have any plywood pieces in your home, it could spell trouble. 

Some kinds of particleboard furniture can contain high levels of formaldehyde. When exposed to this chemical for long periods of time, you may experience respiratory issues and irritation in the eyes, nose, and mouth—and this is especially true for people with pre-existing breathing problems. 

Salt Lamps

Salt Lamps

Their health benefits are wildly overblown, but we still enjoy a nice salt lamp. Claims aside, they can add an interesting look to a bedroom or your living room. While these lamps probably won't cause problems, there are a few safety things to consider when buying one. 

Some of these lamps are seriously massive, weighing up to eighty pounds or more. If that were to fall and hit someone (especially a kid) that could lead to a serious injury. Additionally, some pets like to lick them, which can cause their salt levels to rise and create health problems for them. 

Unsecured Rugs

Unsecured Rugs

Bare floors can be great, but if you're sick of looking at them, throw down some rugs and call it day. But if you, be sure to secure them in place, as they could cause problems if you don't. They may look innocent enough, but they're actually a major cause of falls in the home. 

If you've got kids running through the house, unsecured rugs will probably go slipping and sliding all over the floor, taking the kids with them. However, they're also dangerous for the elderly. According to one study, almost half of all falls in the home for people over 65 occur because of an unsecured rug. 

Engineered Stone Countertops

Engineered Stone Countertops

If you want marble countertops but can't afford them, you might consider trying engineered stone, which is sometimes also known as quartz. These countertops are glossy and easy to clean, which has made them an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. And while they may not harm you, they could be harming the people making them. 

According to a CDC report, people who work to process and create these engineered stone countertops can develop a serious and sometimes deadly lung condition known as silicosis. The stone contains silica, and, when cut, silica particles can be released into the air and then inhaled by those making them.