These 7 things are making your home look cheap, according to interior designers

Blue rug in middle of living room floor
Blue rug in middle of living room floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’ve just moved into a new pad, or have been living in your home for years,  interior decor can have a huge effect on our well-being. Not only do we want to create a functional space, but we want our home decor to be cozy, stylish and reflect our personalities. But while we want to fill our homes with our favorite things, certain items are making your home look cheap, according to interior designers.

This tends to happen when you don’t pick all the details correctly, or get carried away with an abundance of styles. Either way, such items can make your home look visually unappealing. What’s more, knowing how to decorate the right way can make a small room look bigger, or give you much needed extra space. 

After all, the goal is to create an inviting yet beautiful home to suit you. So if you want to level up your interiors, be sure you don’t have any of these items to make your home look cheap, according to interior designers.

If you’re selling up and want to get top dollar, these 9 decor tips that can help to sell your house could come in handy. Also, be sure to read, I'm obsessed with home makeover shows — and these are the 3 mistakes people always make.

1. Matching furniture and color scheme 

Green wall and chairs

Green wall and chairs (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Once upon a time, matching furniture sets used to be trendy, but now they’re considered a cheap, outdated look. The same applies for having one color scheme where everything has to match — making it an eyesore for many! Experts suggest it’s better to mix and match furniture, but you can still have one common point between the different pieces. It’s also advisable to keep tones neutral, and if you want to add bold color, you can achieve this through soft furnishings, accessories or even wall art. This will look more trendy than tacky!

2. Oversized (or undersized) sofas 

Big sofa in small space

Big sofa in small space (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s nothing worse than your favorite armchair or sofas that look out of proportion. Think about the perfect sofa taking over the entire room or 3 foot-long coffee table that you keep knocking your legs on each time you walk around it. Maximize your room layout by scaling your furniture to fit the size of the space. 

"It’s important to buy furniture and decorative pieces to suit the space," advises Niloufar Lamakan, interior designer and founder of Nila Design. "You may have loved that huge, squishy corner sofa you saw in a showroom, but if it takes over half of your living room it can cheapen the whole look. Consider buying two smaller sofas to break up the space and add footstools for relaxing."

Similarly, if your space is too compact for a conventional dining table, a circular table will take up less room. 

3. Cluttered shelves and entryways 

Cluttered bookcase

Cluttered bookcase (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Our shelves can often become the dumping ground for piles of books, keys, or memorabilia from your travels. Avoid overfilling shelves, as this can look cheap and tacky, and remove all clutter lying around. In addition, take down personal items, such as family photographs, religious items, the kids' school awards and other mementos. 

"Cluttered shelves can evoke images of junk shops," agrees Lamakan. "If you have a couple of shelves to display objects, keep the number of items to a minimum of two or three per shelf, and mix it up." Also, if you have a lot of family photos, you can invest in one of the best digital photo frames to display your memories. 

In addition, cluttered entryways or shoe racks stacked with a dozen pairs of footwear can instantly make a space look cheap. Since the entryway or foyer is the first thing we see when we enter a home, first impressions count. Instead, opt for hidden storage solutions to hide away clutter, and check out these 7 entryway decor ideas to impress guests.  

4. Putting down the wrong-sized rug 

Brown jute rug

Brown jute rug (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether it’s vintage, jute or faux fur, rugs can add warmth, color and character to any room. However, many people tend to buy the wrong-sized rug, which is either too-small or too large for their intended space. As a result, this has zero impact in a room, and cheapens the overall look. 

“For a living room, the rule of thumb is to have the furniture touch the rug,”  advises Chanel Padza, interior designer/ lifestyle blogger behind Coco on Fifth (opens in new tab). “Depending on the space, you want to at least have the first legs of your pieces be on the rug.” 

So before investing in a stunning rug, it’s best to take the measurements to buy one proportional to your space. Don’t forget to check out how to clean a rug too, to keep it fresh and spotless. 

5. Too much DIY furniture 

DIY furniture in living room

DIY furniture in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Even though you might enjoy creating bespoke, DIY furniture, too many repurposed pieces can make your home look cheap. For instance, a hand painted table can make a great accent feature, but an entire room or space full of crafted or DIY pieces cheapens the aesthetic. If you’re a fan of Pinterest, keep your crafted creations to a minimum, or have a 'craft room.' 

"In the world of DIY, craft rooms are quite popular," suggests Nikki Boyd, interior designer and author of Beautifully Organized. "People turn spare bedrooms, large closets, or even garages into craft spaces filled with things to help them express their creativity. "

Also, if you enjoy revamping your home on a budget, learn how to paint kitchen cabinets to transform them.

Living room with fireplace

Living room with fireplace (Image credit: Shutterstock)

By definition, design trends are made to come and go. So while it may be ‘on-trend’ to fill your home with the latest decor, many random styles will start to look tacky. Instead, keep it simple, and stick to neutral styles, tones or accessories that will still be timeless years later. 

"It’s possible to spend a lot of money and still end up with a bargain-basement look," agrees Lamakan. "Often it’s not about the price, but about buying the right size, number and mixture of pieces that will look fabulous in your home." 

What’s more, this will save you from changing over entire rooms when the next big interior ‘trend’ comes along.

7. Motto art/wall stickers 

Motto wall art

Motto wall art (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Generic “phrase” or motto art may be inspirational, but can often look tacky if they are on every wall in your home. In addition, you’ll probably find the same, ‘Follow Your Dream’ motto in other households. If you must go for wall art, be selective, and shop around for different types of wall decor. It’s also best to go for things that are more personal to you or your family. That way, your home and interior style will look more original.  


Even if you’re renting, here’s how to decorate a rental property without annoying the landlord. If you have a small room lacking natural light, you'll need to read how to brighten a dark room for our top tips and tricks. Once you’ve decluttered your home, you’ll also want to clean every room in the home to make it look spotless. 

If you enjoy revamping your home on a budget, learn how to paint kitchen cabinets to transform them or how to get paint out of the carpet if you have any messy spills.  You can also check out these paint colors that make your home look cheap while you decide which colors to paint your walls.

Cynthia Lawrence
Homes Writer

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 


Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.


With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!