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Tacky Kitchen Decor Mistakes To Avoid



Without a doubt, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s responsible for storing and producing everything you put inside your body, which is why most people put so much effort into making sure it’s clean, organized, and looks as fresh as the food in the fridge (or at least we hope).
But there are some major mistakes that just about everybody – yes, even you – are probably making when it comes to design and decor. Some are tacky, some are outdated, some are downright awful, but they’re all mistakes nonetheless. How many mistakes are you making when it comes to your kitchen?

Brightly Colored Appliances

If you ever walk into someone’s kitchen and see a turquoise fridge, it’s a good bet that they’re either “oddly unique” or just an impulse kitchen shopper. Or perhaps they’re looking to lose some weight, and blinding colors will do more to suppress their appetite than not. Either way, do not make the mistake of putting your colors into your appliances. After all, it isn’t the ‘50s anymore.

Mason Jar Lights

While you may think that decorating your kitchen using a jar that once stored your food is considered frugal, in reality it’s just extremely tacky. Either these people are rapid canners and want to get into recycling, or they’re just annoying trend-setters who think that going vintage and rustic makes them look alternative. In actuality, jars are these things used for jams and preservatives, and not for light bulb casings. People who hang mason jars just mere feet from their modern appliances are like those people who wear logos of bands that they likely don’t know more than two of their songs.

Wine Slogans Everywhere

We’ve all been in one of these kitchens. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of wine or two (or three) in the kitchen, but there’s really no reason to plaster this aspect of yourself all over the place. You may think you’re just displaying your sassy side with a sign that says “I speak fluent wine”, but in actuality you’re just saying “I’m a lush”. It really isn’t as cute as you think it is and comes off as a bit desperate for humor.

Tiled Countertops

Tile is one of the best inventions that’s made its way into our homes, but so many people make the mistake of putting it on their countertops. The reason why this is an absolute rookie mistake comes down to one word: grout! Unless you’re using dark colored grout (which we do not recommend), that lily-white grout is going to get real nasty real fast. Not to mention the fact that eventually that grout is going to crack and separate, and then you’ll find yourself with a new problem.

Distressed Cabinets

The only way we would recommend cabinets like this is if you purposely want to make believe that you’re living in French Revolution-era Paris. Adding character is one thing, but a rotting wood look right next to the toaster you just bought from Target isn’t exactly what we’d call character. While there are ways of making your cabinets look a little more on the weathered side, scraping the varnish off and letting them decay is not the way to go.

The Industrial Look

Just because you like to cook a lot doesn’t mean you have to cover your kitchen in stainless steel and industrial-sized appliances. While it’s practical for a commercial kitchen, at home it just comes off as cold and uninviting. Stainless steel is a fantastic addition for the kitchen, without a doubt, but you can absolutely go too far with it. Forcing the industrial look into your kitchen will only make it off-putting and will make you feel like cooking is a chore instead of a leisure activity.

Color Overload

Unless you’re trying to go for an aesthetic that looks like a unicorn just vomited in Strawberry Shortcake’s kitchen, then we really don’t recommend oversaturing things. Like the rest of your house, things should generally be more neutral in color with accents here and there. It’s understandable that you would want to shy away from drab colors, but it’s all too easy to overcompensate and throw color everywhere like it’s a Dr. Suess book come to life.

Obvious Room Labelling

Unless your guests actually live under a rock, they will never enter the room in your home that has a fridge, stove, and microwave and wonder what room they’re in. As such, completely obvious signage with terms like “Eat!” is not only redundant, it’s just utterly tacky. Nobody needs to be reminded of where they are or what to do in the room that contains all the food. If you’re into the whole words on signs thing, then perhaps go for something that’s a little less obvious.

Beer Bottle Collection

Unless there’s some incredible significance or reason behind it, passing off your empty beer bottles as “decor” is almost as tacky as it comes. Just like with the unnecessary wine slogans, proudly displaying your excessive alcohol consumption probably isn’t the best message to send to your guests (unless you live in a frat house).

Over-The-Range Microwave

Unless it has a steam vent, a microwave directly over the stove means A) you live in a studio apartment, B) you live in a motel, or C) the builder cut some major corners on your kitchen design. If you’re wondering why this is a bad idea, just take a look on the underside – the plastic will become either warped or melted from the heat, or caked in grease and grime. And if you don’t care about that, then you should probably care about how your microwave will eventually malfunction from the heat.

Barnhouse Theme

Listen, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little of the rustic look, but if your kitchen has sliding barn doors, ceramic farm animals, hanging steel lights, and milk pitchers as flower vases, then you’ve gone too far. The only thing missing is live chickens running about. Unless you’re trying to match the decor of the rest of the house, then forget about the ceramic roosters and leave this excessive decor in the 19th century where it belongs.

Plastic Dishes

Unless you’re a college student or prone to dropping your dishes a lot, then plasticware is not the way to go. Plastic dishes are really only practical for camping trips or toddlers, so unless your guests are under the age of 5 or your kitchen is exposed to the elements, then just be an adult and spring for ceramic dishware.

Retro Refrigerators

It isn’t the 1940s anymore, you’re allowed to own a fridge from this century! Unless you’re trying to relive the I Love Lucy bygone days, a retro fridge in a modern kitchen just comes off as tacky. What makes matters worse is when people opt for a retro fridge with super bright colors. Do yourself and your guests a favor and just go with a simple pastel-colored fridge that actually has an ice machine.

Tons of Plants Everywhere

A few houseplants sprinkled about is one thing, but there’s really no reason to make your kitchen look like a greenhouse. Also, bringing your garden into your kitchen to appear more “earthy” really isn’t a good idea either, as that can run the risk of bugs, cross contamination, and starting a fire. Even die-hard herbalists agree – the kitchen is for cooking and the garden is for growing.

Lace Tablecloths

Lace hasn’t exactly aged well. It used to be considered a status symbol since it was all made by hand, but in today’s manufactured world it’s all cheaply made and sold at a low cost. While your great grandmother might have lived in a time where it was impressive to have your table covered in it, now it just comes off as either cheap or is reminiscent of a church. Plus, it’s also fragile, which means that it’s not going to last you nearly as long as a good cloth cover… and it won’t make your guests think they’ve just been transported to the Victorian era.

Speckled Granite Counters

People assume that granite of any kind will give their kitchen that modern look, but that really isn’t the case with speckled granite. Not only is the most common and tired version of granite that’s seen in basically every apartment and condominium, but the look just makes people think that you don’t want to clean up after yourself. After all, you don’t have to clean up every drip, spill, and crumb on your countertops if they’re completely blended in! Leave this 20+ year old trend in the past where it belongs and go with marble or quartz instead.

Fake Fruit

Ah yes, fake fruit. Because nothing says “I eat healthy” like a bowl of fruit-shaped wax. People don’t even realize how much of a rookie mistake this truly is, especially considering that even fake fruit is going to look gross after a while of sitting in close proximity to where you cook your food. Pick up some real fruit next time you’re at the grocery store, and maybe your guests will appreciate being able to bite into something sweet instead of something plastic.

Dated Wood Cabinets

There is nothing that says “I have no pride in my kitchen” than ancient wooden cabinets that look like they haven’t been updated since the ‘80s. Don’t let your cabinets be the dead giveaway that you haven’t remodeled in a few decades! Even if it’s just throwing a fresh coat of varnish or paint on them, it’ll still be a vast improvement over this tired look.

The All-White Design

You may think the all-white look is minimalist, but you’re just gonna drive yourself crazy having to clean every tiny noticeable smudge in a kitchen like this. Things are gonna get messy in the kitchen, that’s just a given when it comes to cooking and baking, so the last thing you want to do is make every drip and stain instantly apparent. Plus, it makes your kitchen feel like a hospital… probably not the aesthetic you want!

Open Shelving

Unless your motif is “eclectic collector”, then you’d do best to just steer clear of the excessive open shelving concept. Seriously, your plates and bowls are not unique enough to be putting them on display for everyone to see. Take that energy and focus it into the living room or bedroom or a place where you actually have some items to display that say something about your personality. Dusty mugs and dishes are NOT going to impress people.

Pot Racks

Unless you’re cooking in some sun-drenched Tuscan villa, then do yourself a favor and store your pots in the cabinets like everybody else. People who display their pots for the world to see are usually trying to give the impression that they’re seasoned chefs, but ironically those kitchens almost always look like they’ve never been touched by human hands. Not only does it give a very cluttered aesthetic look, but all of those pots are just going to collect dust. Remember: pots are practical, not fashionable. Treat them as such!

Cross Handle Faucets

There’s a reason why you rarely see these anymore in modern homes, and that’s because they’re usually far more of a pain than they’re worth. As novel as they may seem, novelty is literally the only “good” thing about them. Just because these were the standard back in the 1800s doesn’t mean that we should still regard them as such. If you’re trying to go for that old-timey, rustic look, then you might as well remove all plumbing and just install an outhouse. Go all the way!

The Tuscan Look

This short-lived trend took off around 2008 until most people realized that trying so desperately to make your kitchen look like a Tuscan villa just came off as pretentious. There’s very little more off-putting than walking into someone’s Kentucky house and then instantly feeling like you’re in Mamma Mia. Go on a vacation to Little Italy – or better yet, the real Italy – instead of trying to pass off your suburban home as something that it’s not.

In-Kitchen Washer And Dryer

While this one isn’t quite as common as the rest, some people still actually think this is a good idea. To be fair, it isn’t wrong to want to multitask more efficiently, but this is too efficient. Either your schedule is way too tight, or you’re just a whole other level of lazy. If you do insist on doing this, though, then make sure you aren’t putting the clothes in the dishwasher and vice versa!

Open Concept

All of these home improvement shows will have you believing that open concept is the way to go, but these people have likely never actually cooked in a kitchen. It’s a difficult task alone keeping the mess in the kitchen at bay, but with open concept you run the risk of that mess spreading to the rest of the house. You cook up some brussel sprouts or some other smelly food and suddenly your entire house smells that way. Leave the open concept to the Rachel Ray wannabes.

Brass Handles

Brass used to be a staple component of kitchens back in the day due to its durability, but there’s a reason why it fell out of fashion once we moved into the modern age. After touching them just a few dozen times, those brass handles get gunked up and have to be cleaned regularly. Unless you like polishing several times a week, then get into the 21st century and opt for something like brushed nickel.

Weird/Uncomfortable Seating

We all know somebody who has chairs or stools like this in their kitchen (and if you don’t then you’re probably the one who has these). Do yourself and your guests a favor, and buy normal chairs. A kitchen is supposed to feel friendly and inviting. Your guests probably won’t feel very relaxed when they’re sitting on a super uncomfortable chair that looks like it should be in a modern art museum. If you do insist on having these chairs, though, then at least have the courtesy to pay for your guests’ chiropractor visit after sitting in these things.

Sliding Barn Doors

You’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re a rustic person with sliding barn doors. Unless it matches the rest of the house, this looks so out of place and just smacks of desperation. Barn doors are commonly associated with livestock and, shall we say, the excrement that those livestock produce – not what you want people to think about in the kitchen! Plus, good luck actually sliding one of those things smoothly.

Linoleum Flooring

Very few people still think linoleum floors look good. Sure they were “in” at one point due to how economic they were, but this is a new age. Forget that cheap, tired plastic you call a floor and go for some actual tiling instead. And if anybody disagrees, then get on your hands and knees and take a good look at whatever nastiness is germinating right on your kitchen floor.

Gaudy Chandeliers

Ah yes, these. Because nothing says “I shop at thrift stores” like a stained glass chandelier. That’s not to say that one tasteful chandelier fixture can’t spruce up your kitchen, but there’s a fine line when it comes to these designs. Unless you have impeccable taste, then it’s usually best to just steer clear of these altogether. Plus, just dusting these things alone is an enormous hassle.

Fluorescent Lighting

If you can’t afford to make extensive alterations to your kitchen, then don’t make matters infinitely worse by having disgusting fluorescent lighting brighten the place. The harsh, sterile feel of these bulbs will either make you feel like you’re at a morgue, hospital, or a trailer home. Unless that’s the exact look you’re aiming for, or you like exposing your eyes to harmful light, then just this one alteration can drastically improve your kitchen.

Short Backsplashes

If you’re going to have backsplashes in the kitchen, then don’t make the rookie mistake of only doing 50%. After all, the entire purpose of backsplashes are to protect your walls, so why would you only cover half of it? It may not happen very quickly (depending on what you cook), but eventually those walls are guaranteed to foul up. Cutting corners will rarely work out for you, and that’s especially the case in this instance.

Kitchen Desks

Is there anybody out there who actually wants to work in the kitchen? Much less needs to work in the kitchen? It’s such a bizarre concept that it makes you wonder how this ever became a trend in the first place. Sure, maybe back in the day when phone books and planners and physical phones were a thing did this make sense, but now it’s just wasted space. Also, ask anybody who has a kitchen desk and they’ll tell you that 99% of the time it’s just a space to collect junk mail, phone bills, and unread magazines.

Window Valances

Do not make the mistake of choosing something so monumentally outdated for your kitchen. Unless your entire home is the Victorian motif, then window curtains will only stick out like three or four sore thumbs. Not only are they dark and dusty, but they’re also going to absorb every smell you generate in the kitchen.


Unless you’re a teenage girl or you want to feel like you’re dizzy in a house of mirrors, then definitely shy away from the excessive chevron look. That zigzag pattern isn’t doing your eyes or your kitchen any favors. In fact, it’s so distracting that it’ll completely take away from everything else you have displayed.

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