There are dozens of amazing kitchen designs ripe for the picking, but a giant ceramic chicken is not one of them. That’s an example of tacky kitchen decoration. Most people know a cringe-worthy kitchen when they see one–shelves of beer bottles, fake fruit bowls, cheesy wine slogans–and yet people still use that decor.
Some tacky kitchen designs are in-style, so no one questions how tasteless they really are. But we have. We’ve gathered the tackiest of all tacky kitchen decor, and we’re not afraid to call it like it is.
Obvious Room Labels
Yes, we already know where the KITCHEN is. That SINK and PANTRY are obviously a sink and pantry. Unless you have a young child who is learning to read, you don’t need room labels. It’s insulting to anyone who has been in a kitchen before.
Of course, jar labels can help a guest know which container holds COFFEE and which one has SUGAR. But the contents inside jars aren’t obvious. A KITCHEN is very obvious.
You know that you’re living in an old house when the kitchen includes a desk. Who wants to work in a kitchen? On top of that, who would entrust the safety of their laptop or work documents in the area where food splatters everywhere? It’s just a bad idea all-around.
In a room with boiling pots, oven timers, and fryers, the cacophony will make any desk worker go mad in minutes. That’s why most kitchen desks end up neglected and covered with papers and sweaters.
If you’re a poor college student or 20-something-year-old, you might use plastic kitchenware because it’s cheaper and you won’t be inviting anyone over. But if you can afford ceramic dishes, why settle for the plastic ones? They’re barely even useful.
Plastic dishes remind people of camping trips and broke college living. They’re a bundle of bad memories wrapped up in brittle, unnaturally-colored plates. Trust that you’ll feel ten times better about your life after throwing out the plastic dishware.
Open shelves tend to overlap with a Tuscan-style kitchen, but they deserve their own mention. Not only do they make your kitchen seem crowded and cluttered, but they’re also a hassle to clean. Imagine dusting around every single jar and pan that’s eight feet high.
When you use an open-shelf kitchen, you don’t have as much flexibility decorating, because your kitchen items are your decorations. You’d have to own a set of quality china to get away with open shelves, and even that can appear tacky.
The “Barnhouse” Theme
You know the barn theme: kitchens with ceramic roosters, barn doors, hanging steel lights, and a milk pitcher with flowers in it. If those decorations appear in a modern kitchen, it looks out-of-place, like someone tried to re-enact the sixteenth-century French countryside.
Barn-themed kitchens miss the mark because most aren’t actually in a barn or on a farm. Where are the live chickens? Nowhere. So why does the kitchen look like it should house a cow?
Fake Fruit Bowls
You know what a kitchen is used for, right? Cooking real food. There is literally no point in owning a fake fruit bowl. Those shiny, plastic monstrosities scream “fake” and can be debunked from a mile away. And when they’re coated in dust, they look terrible.
Just buy real fruit. Everyone likes fruit, and people who use fruit bowls have all their stuff together. Fake fruit just says, “I’m too lazy to purchase real fruit for my own kitchen.”
A Displayed Alcohol Collection
People who fill walls or shelves with beer bottles fall into one of three categories: a bartender, a frat member, or someone with a drinking problem. Unless your guest knows you well, they may assume that you are in the third category. Or worse, you might come off as someone who wishes they were still in college.
If you’re a bartender who likes to mix drinks for friends, a kitchen collection of cocktails may be convenient. But a display of beer for beer’s sake is just tacky.
Slogans That Celebrate Wine
Wine decor mirrors the beer decor in that it signals a drinking problem. But on top of that, it comes off as try-hard, especially when it delineates the “sassy” or “quirky” personality of the kitchen owner.
You’ve likely seen these signs, mugs, and dishes everywhere: “Dinner is poured,” “Vacay and rosé,” “I speak fluent wine,” etc. It’s not as charming or cute as the people who buy these decorations think. It’s cheesy at best.
Weirdly Bright Refrigerator Colors
Are you a character in Father Knows Best? No? Then you don’t need the “1950s aesthetic” by painting your refrigerator firetruck red or bright turquoise. For the “retro” style to work all of the walls and furniture need to follow the same color scheme. Selecting a bright color for only your fridge makes it look out-of-place.
Even if you are going for the retro look, neon colors hurt peoples’ eyes. You’ll have much better luck opting for a pastel palette, and even that can look off, if not done skillfully.
Noisily Patterned Cabinet Knobs
The key to decorating a beautiful kitchen is coordinating colors and materials. Patterned knobs and handles do none of these things. Unless you find knobs that mirror your color scheme exactly, they’ll likely appear noisy and tacky.
The worst choice you could possibly make is assigning different-colored handles to every single cabinet. That’s not “chic” or “vintage,” but a bad design idea. Since knobs are such a small detail, keep them minute and tasteful.
Chevron is the V-shaped pattern that’s often repeated as a zigzag. If you want your eyes to melt every time you walk into your kitchen, install chevron tiles. Not only is this design distracting, but also obscures all the important items like pots and towels.
Even worse than chevron tiles on the wall are chevron tiles on the floor. The entire design is dizzying to say least. Keep your kitchen pleasant to look at, and take away glaring chevron design from your home.
Mason Jar Decorations
Over the past couple of years, mason jars have become the new trendy glasses in hipster cafes. If you aren’t bottling homemade sauce or jam, you probably own mason jars for the aesthetic. It isn’t as cool as it once was–unless you want to come off as a hipster, of course.
Sure, mason jars are handy tools for pressure-sealing dried herbs and sauces. But they’re not easy to drink out of. And decorating a room with mason jar lights and trinkets is the new “basic.”
Tuscan Kitchen Decor
Even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ve likely seen Tuscan kitchens: wooden furniture, hanging pots and pans, chandeliers, and Italian tiles above the stove. In restaurants, this decor looks professional. In homes, this aesthetic looks like you’re trying to make it onto Food Network.
Tuscan kitchens work for professional chefs who actually need their pans and garlic cloves within arm’s reach. Average people aren’t Italian chefs, so they don’t need to act like they are.
Crowding Your Kitchen With Plants
Yes, houseplants look beautiful. But your kitchen isn’t a garden; it’s a kitchen. Shoving ferns and succulents all over the room will inevitably coat them in grime, and potentially set the plants ablaze if you hang them over your stove. Plus, you don’t want to cross-contaminate all your food, do you?
Too many plants give off the “flower child” vibe of someone who’s trying to look more connected with the earth than they actually are. Even herbalists dedicate their garden to growing food, not their kitchen.
In the past, lace was considered a status symbol because it was made by hand. Nowadays, lace is cheaply made and bought at a low price. These tablecloths don’t have the same “Victorian charm” that they did in the early twentieth century.
Lace is also incredibly fragile, meaning that it won’t last long on a well-used kitchen table. And layering white-on-white with lace will remind people of church altars. Opt for a nice, sturdy, elegantly-patterned tablecloth instead.
Distressed Kitchen Furniture
Distressed furniture is purposefully worn down so that it looks like an antique piece. If you distress one or two pieces, you can make your home look more shabby chic. But imagine walking through a modern home and then suddenly entering an “antique” kitchen. It’s jarring, right?
Distressed cabinets and drawers don’t complement modern kitchens with tile or marble. When you push the “antique” look on a modern setting, people will notice. Either shabby-chic-up all of your home or none of it.
Stainless Steel Industrial Stoves
On the opposite end of vintage tackiness, we have modern tackiness. The “overly modern” look often encapsulates stainless steel stoves, counters, microwaves, or other appliances. While professional kitchens use stainless steel for cleanliness, family homes don’t need it.
The problem with stainless steel is that too much of it makes your house look like a scene from I, Robot. You don’t want your guests to think that you’re trying to time travel, do you?
Fake Houseplants Are So Tacky
In an issue of the Property Brothers’ home decor publication Reveal, gardening expert Rebecca Bullene recommends using real houseplants in the home. The reason is that real plants bring a little bit of the outdoors inside and can even ease stress. In your kitchen, try growing some fresh herbs that you can use while cooking.
Another reason for skipping the fake plants is that they usually look pretty unrealistic. They can also accumulate a bunch of dust, which isn’t a good look in anyone’s kitchen.
All-white kitchens are not only an eyesore but also a hassle to keep clean. Kitchens are messy places; there’s no avoiding red sauce splatters and crumbs all over the counter. The white backdrop will highlight these tiny messes, which requires people to clean their kitchen 24/7.
That’s also the reason why hospitals are painted white: it makes sanitation easier. Do you want your kitchen to feel like a hospital room or a home? Probably the latter. Leave the white for a laboratory.
Overlapping Several Colors
Most kitchens are mainly grey, black, or cream–basic colors that are gentle on the eyes. But those devoted to a 1950s chic look may overlay bright colors like red, yellow, blue, and white. The color scheme may work in a burger diner, but not in a home.
Processing too many colors at once is a recipe for migraines. If your kitchen requires a seizure warning, you need to tone it down for everybody’s sake.
Neglecting The Rest Of The Home
If your kitchen is pimped out while the rest of your home appears plain, you have faulty interior design. It looks like you never finished decorating your house. And a tacky kitchen with little decor elsewhere? That’s even worse.
At that point, you might as well spread out the tackiness. Place the ceramic duck in the bathroom. Hang the “Live Love Laugh” sign in your living room. At least spread-out tastelessness is better than single-room tastelessness.
Spelling Words With Bathroom Tile
The kitchen isn’t the only place in a home that people make tacky decisions about their design aesthetic. Sometimes it expands through the bathrooms, the bedrooms, basically the entire house.
Who knew you’d have to clarify this, but please don’t spell things in your bathroom tiles. No one wants to stay over in your guest room and see that you’ve spelled out “home” in bathroom tile. It seems like a cute idea at the time and then once you do it you realize it’s wildly unnecessary.
This bathroom screams “I was built in the 1960s.” We understand that you want your bathroom to be light, cheery, happy, all those fun things, but this is not the way to do it. Turquoise and yellow tile should never exist, and should never be bought.
It was on-trend in the ’60s, you could get away with it in the ’70s and ’80s, but if your bathroom still looks like this, it’s time to shell out for a bathroom reno.
Sculptures In The Bathroom
There is so much happening in this bathroom. From the fuzzy toilet seat cover to the mustard-colored drapes, to the golden busts on the counter and the 3-foot tall statue directly next to the toilet, this is a busy bathroom.
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, you flip on the light and all of sudden you have all these statues and sculptures staring at you. That’s going to be a “no” from us.
Unless the color is white, your bathroom should never be all one color. Even for a little girl, this is too much pink. If your bathroom is hard to look at it, you might have gone a little overboard with the design — even if you had good intentions.
One upside to this bathroom is that it would be easy to clean since it’s completely tiled. Just hose down the entire bathroom, wipe it all off, and you’d be done!
Bright colors as an accent in a simply designed bathroom can be a great choice, but if your bathroom starts to look like you could find it in a club in Ibiza, you should take a step back and reevaluate.
It would be fun for the first few weeks, maybe even the first couple of months, but a year from now you might regret your decision to go with the neon lighting. It will certainly be a conversation starter for your guests!
We get it. You were going for that rustic vibe that you saw all over Pinterest and on that episode of Flip or Flop that was on HGTV late last night. But tin walls are probably not the way to achieve this.
One quick problem with this quirky design is the fact that the walls of the shower are made of metal…and metal gets rusty when wet. So this bathroom might go from rustic to rusted after a couple of months.
Patterned Toilets, And Patterned Everything
As a standalone issue, patterned toilets should not be a thing. There’s a reason you can’t find any examples in Country Living or on Pinterest of how to design a room around a patterned/chrome toilet.
When you combine it with the floor tile and wall pattern that looks like it stepped off of one of Will Smith’s shirts from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, plus the lava lamp that’s sitting on top of the toilet, it almost works because they’re all so crazy that it’s hard to focus on just one thing.
The floor is lava and nobody is going to win this game. A little bit of mosaic tiling can work as a nice accent for your bathroom, the emphasis needs to be on ‘a little bit’ though—and to clarify—this bathroom does not fall under the minimal mosaic category.
Hopefully, this was found in some resort in Mexico or Cuba where they could maybe get away with this design faux pas… but it’s doubtful.
Just like you shouldn’t spell things out using your shower tiles, you also don’t need to turn your shower into a giant mosaic. Your time and money are better spent elsewhere. Consider putting up some classic white tiles instead, please!
After the first couple of showers, you’ll get used to it and you won’t even notice the wall art that you spent hours of your time designing or that you paid someone hundreds (thousands?) of dollars to create. A better option is to hang a few pictures on the wall instead.
This looks like something straight out of a horror movie. We’re not which one, but this definitely exists in some bad ’80s horror movie, and it should’ve stayed there.
If you need to brush your carpet on a daily basis, you’ve taken your design a step too far. Shag carpet shouldn’t be a thing in the first place, but it definitely shouldn’t cover your entire bedroom floor as well as your actual bed frame.
This looks like a life-size cat tree but it’s actually just the inside of someone’s home. No one needs this much carpet. One advantage to this much carpet is if your kid is particularly clumsy, you won’t have to worry about them getting injured. The plush will protect them.
This is the same situation as the shag carpet, it just doesn’t need to exist. Don’t go carpet crazy. It’s so much work to keep clean and you’re just going to have to replace it when you try to sell your house in the future, because no one else wants this.
Let’s all agree to do away with murals that take up entire walls of your house, okay? You don’t need your living to look like the tropics. We don’t need our kid’s bedroom to look like they’re living underwater. No one needs their dining room to look like they’re living inside a jungle.
You want a nice accent wall in a plain room? Go for it, pick whatever color you want, but please don’t paint 10-foot tall palm trees onto the wall in your living room.
Remember folks, not every part of your home needs to tie into a theme. No one will judge you for having plain curtains, no one will even notice. What they will notice though if your weird coiled window accents, and they won’t be happy about it.
We’re not really sure what theme this could even tie into, but the point is that it is possible to take a theme too far. Sometimes less is more!
Can we all agree that staircase patterns need to stop being a thing? Whether you paint JFK onto your stairs or a waterfall mosaic, it makes it hard to tell where the actual stairs are, which is kind of important for walking up them.
At least this homeowner had the good sense to put carpet on the tops of each step so you can see where they are, but you still don’t need to paint detailed images of dogs and Washington’s Capitol hill onto your stairs.
Ornate Bed Frames
No one would be able to actually sleep on this bed, you’d be too busy being poked and prodded all night by the ridiculously ornate decorations around the bed frame.
You know when you wake up in the middle of the night and you briefly think the sweater on the back of your door or your pile of clothes on the chair is a person? This time you’d actually just have cherubs staring back at you.
We hope you’re really comfortable with your spouse or partner because you’ll never have any privacy again if you live in this house! It may not seem tacky, but there is such a thing as being too modern, and this is the prime example of that.
If you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you better be prepared to have a spotlight on you. Then you have to wash your hands at a sink that is stationed directly above your sleeping spouse’s head. No issues with this, right? Wrong.
Plants Instead Of A Roof
Who needs a roof when you can have a skylight filled with plants? Adding a couple of plants or some greenery can be a great way to liven up a room, but this is not what any designer meant. This room looks like it’s straight out of a Lord of the Rings hobbit house.
We wish that this was an accident but the way those wooden ceiling beams are shaped makes us pretty sure someone chose to do this. Why can’t people just design normal bedrooms?
Whether it’s a fireplace that’s designed to be the mouth of a face or a fireplace with ornate gold clocks on top of it, it doesn’t need to happen. Leave your fireplaces alone people.
We understand if you want to use the mantel to display pictures of your family or birthday cards or something, that’s totally fine but no one needs a fireplace outlined in stone carvings. We’re also guessing based on the relatively basic carpeting and furniture on the outskirts of the photo that this fireplace does not fit in with the rest of the room.
Bed Springs On The Ceiling
Why does this exist, you ask? We’re not sure. Imagine having to explain to someone that your injury came from hitting your head off of the bed springs that are hanging from your ceiling. This is why the saying “an accident waiting to happen” exists.
There are much better ways to re-decorate your daughter’s bedroom that won’t involve her getting poked in the eye by metal springs on a Monday morning.
Beyond patterned toilets, there are also people who have voluntarily chosen to buy toilets that are shaped like things other than toilets. This one in particular, is terrifying.
How much money do you think someone paid for this? Was it a custom order or is there a store somewhere out there that sells multiple of these a year? Given the choice of going to the bathroom on this or going outside, we’ll go in the backyard with the dog.