All people are creative, but some are more creative than others. That’s why some people’s work is exhibited in museums, while a poor canvas by an unknown artist ends up lining the canary cage. And while some authors can join words like a string of pearls, others read like an alphabet without vowels.

The same goes for interior design. True, websites like Pinterest and Houzz are veritable treasure troves of ideas to design, remodel and decorate your home. However, that doesn’t mean that a few simple clicks will make you an interior designer.

That said, there are some things which even the more challenged of amateur home decorators will not use as a design element. And if they do, here are the reasons to cease and desist.

Shot glasses collected during your gap year adventures will not add any value to your home

The collector

There are collections and collections. A row of precious netsuke, in the manner of Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, will upgrade your living room to an enchanted ivory museum. So will a valuable spread of matryoshka dolls, vintage miniatures and curios.

On the other hand, showcasing tens of souvenir dolls or shot glasses collected during your gap year adventures will not add any value to your home.

Poster boy

Back in the 1990s, every office was wrapped in Roy Lichtenstein posters. Whaam! hung in every corridor, Crying Girl versions were taped on bathroom walls and In The Car flapped on office partitions. Some took it to extremes and bought those versions which came with inspiring mantras, intended to sweeten the daily office grind. Others took it beyond the horizon of extremes: they stayed late at the office, waited till everyone had left, nicked the posters and took them home.

If you still have those posters at home, it’s time to strip the walls and hang some real art.

Look before you read

You are what you read. Books form the narrative to our life, so nomatter what books you have lining your shelves, your choice is an interpretation of your reality. Alain de Botton’s essays confront you with your own mortality, as does any word written by Jonathan Franzen. Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo and Sjowall and Wahloo will take you up north and leave you there to freeze. Malcolm Gladwell and David Sedaris will play with your thoughts, feelings and sense of humour.

When it comes to reading material, any choice is a good one. That is, as long as you do the right thing for the right reason. Choosing your books for the solitary pleasure of reading gives you plenty of life points. On the other hand, matching the colour of your books’ spines with your sitting room curtains is an unhappy ending. Books are not there for decoration.

Leave them be

You don’t need the greenest of fingers to keep some hardy indoor plants in bloom. With plants, you need to keep it real. Opting to decorate with fake plants will give your rooms a plasticky sheen: it’s like when people cover their sofas with that horrible, creaking plastic.

Fake plants just don’t look good. Instead, choose low maintenance plants which will not require too much effort to maintain but which will still green up your rooms.

Kitsch in the kitchen

Back in the days when kitchen appliances were as rare and exotic as an endangered white tiger, it was sort of forgiven to give your one appliance pride of place in the kitchen. The more creative would even cover their precious appliances with a lace doily.

But that was the past, when the main ingredient for baking a cake was plenty of elbow grease. Nowadays, there’s an appliance to take your dinner from farm to fork, so there’s really no excuse why your blender is still on a shelf, all lit up like some ancient exhibit. Just use it, clean it and put it back in the cupboard.


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