10 Things That Make Your Home Look Cheap

Updated: Apr. 22, 2024

Being intentional with design choices and injecting your home with personality can go a long way.

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It doesn’t matter how smart and sophisticated the decor and design of your home is if it’s constantly covered by a layer of clutter in every room. Clutter clogs up the flow of a room more than anything and automatically makes any design choices seem less intentional. The good news is that clutter is a treatable issue. No need to resign yourself to clutter. We’ve found several ways to arrange a small living room.

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Bad Lighting

There are a lot of ways that lighting can influence the look and feel of a room. Bright, white lighting is a quick way to make a room feel washed out and makes any potentially tacky design decisions stand out even more. Dim, minimal lighting, on the other hand, can work in basements but can also pretty quickly make a man-cave feel a bit too much like an actual cave. You’ll be surprised how much the mood of a room can change if you put some thought into your lighting by switching up light fixtures and bulb styles.

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Too Much DIY Furniture

We love a good piece of DIY furniture here at the Family Handyman, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be too much of a good thing. A handmade end table, for example, is a great conversation starter and can work really well to accent other pieces of furniture in a room. But when a whole room is full of DIY furniture it can look less like a design choice and more like you’ve filled your living room with a collection of repurposed junk. Prompt for these interior design trends of 2023 instead.

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Too Much Trendy Decor

Trends, by their definition, are designed to come and go. It might seem like a good idea to fill a room full of the latest stylish decor, but in just a few months that room can go from trendy to tacky. Sticking to more classical styles will ensure that you’re not swapping out entire rooms worth of decor every other month at the whims of whatever trend happens to be popular on Pinterest. Get to know about these few common small space design mistakes that can exacerbate the problem.

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Generic Gallery Walls

Creating a gallery wall is a great way to fill up empty, blank walls in your home. Just make sure that when you go to create your gallery wall you do it with a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish in the space. Don’t cover up a wall with generic, mass-produced art just to fill up the emptiness. It’s almost better to have a blank wall than it is to have a wall covered with unoriginal and uninspired art. If you want to put up a gallery wall in your home, take your time and create a clear vision of what you want to achieve in the space before selecting the artwork.

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Getty Images/ Inspired by Travel

A Crowded Entryway

First impressions matter, and the first part that most people will see is your home’s entryway. Having too much stuff in an entryway will make it feel cluttered, oppressive, and immediately uncomfortable. Create an open, inviting space at the entrance to your home using these entryway decor ideas.

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Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Lack of a Distinct Personality

We’re not saying that everything in your home should be uniform and each room should be decorated in the exact same style. In fact, that could also make a home feel cheap and staged. What you don’t want, though, is for there to be a lack of cohesion from room to room. Having one room decorated in a modern, minimalist style and the next full of Bohemian decor creates a jarring feeling that makes it seem less like the design of the home was planned and more like it was an accident.

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Chevron Patterns

Realtor.com published in an article that the Chevron pattern (a sideways, two-color zig-zag) was played out back in 2017. By now it’s definitely time to ditch the pattern, which looks fine in small doses but can easily become an overwhelming and distracting design feature. Simpler, less attention-grabbing patterns are a better option.

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popcorn ceiling

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are an unfortunate design choice left behind by lazy homebuilding practices in the 20th century. The rough, bumpy texture is tough to keep clean, hard to repair, and frankly just looks bad. If you can, remove popcorn ceilings in your home. It’s a bit of a chore (and a messy one) but once the popcorn is gone the clean, sleek surface of your ceilings will look much better than before.

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Getty Images/ Upyanose

Phrase Art

“Live, laugh, love” might be a perfectly fine motto by which to live life, sure. But that doesn’t mean you should have the phrase plastered on 14 different surfaces throughout your home. Generic “phrase” art is very often tacky and impersonal. When selecting art for your home, try to find things that are more personal or even go an extra step and create your own pieces.