10 Things That Make a Home Look Cheap

living space with a large arched lamp

Caitlin McCarthy Design 

Decorating interiors can be fun and fulfilling—and expensive. But sometimes, in an attempt to save money, homeowners cut a few too many corners and the result is anything but beautiful. The good news is that you can decorate your home inexpensively and elegantly by avoiding some common cheap decorating solutions.

No matter your decorating budget, the goal is the same: to add to your home's beauty and create an aesthetically pleasing and inviting space. Before you start, take care to avoid these 10 mistakes that can leave your living quarters looking cheap and less-than-stunning.

  • 01 of 10

    Mass Produced Art

    Pink room with large green artwork hanging above green sofa.

    Beauty EQ

    Art is one of the most important elements of a well-decorated home and few things can cheapen a space quicker than mass production prints and artwork. This living space from Beauty EQ features a beautiful, original piece of artwork that looks expensive and purposeful.

    But even if you can't afford to attend a luxe art show, sites such as Etsy make it possible to afford original and unique art on almost any budget. And if you have a streak of DIY in you, you can easily and frugally create your own original artwork for your home.

  • 02 of 10

    An Overstuffed Entryway

    Entryway with a bench and wooden floors.

    Bless'er House 

    Take a note from this entryway from Bless'er House and keep your space as tidy and well organized as possible. It's fine to use your entryway as a place to toss odds and ends, but it's easy for that to spiral out of control.

    Your entryway should look polished and sophisticated because it's the first thing people see when they come into your home. Invest in a few pieces of functional furniture and unique artwork to keep the space beautiful and useable.

  • 03 of 10

    Overdone Themes

    Entryway with bright red rug and stairway with potted tree.

    Dering Hall 

    Theme decorating works well in a pre-teen kid's room. After that, decorating themes should be replaced by decorating styles—and this requires a different approach.

    One of the fastest ways to cheapen any space is to have too much of a good thing. Indulge in subtle expressions of style for maximum effect. For example, if you want to demonstrate your love for the seashore, you can scatter a few nautical found objects throughout your home—but an overabundance might make it look like a cheap seaside motel.

  • 04 of 10

    A Too Small Rug

    Beige living room with sofa and two chairs with a coffee table and rug.

    Nesting With Grace

    This beautiful living room spotted on Nesting With Grace does everything right— almost. The jute rug used in the middle of the room may go with the decor, but its size makes the room feel off balance.

    When picking a rug, make sure it's large enough to fit right under your furniture so it is not simply floating in the room. A rug that is too large will make your space feel too full while a too-small rug looks haphazard and, well, cheap.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Cluttered Rooms

    White kitchen with rug and the space is cramped and cluttered.


    Leaving too much stuff sitting on the kitchen counter is a classic decor faux pas. A decluttered look makes a room feel expensive and updated.

    Find a place for your stuff so your house doesn't look unkempt and cheap. There are endless ways to hack your clutter and get rid of it for good.

  • 06 of 10

    The Wrong Lighting

    Living space with a large arched lamp and blue couch.

    Caitlin McCarthy Design 

    When you walk into an oversaturated and bright room, it can feel tacky and overwhelming. Take some tips from this living room from Caitlin McCarthy Design, and make sure your lighting is right for your space. A super-high watt bulb is probably too harsh for your bedroom, while a dim lamp may make a living space feel gloomy and dark.

    Aim for three or more sources of light between overhead, table, and windows.

  • 07 of 10

    Cutesy Decor

    American flag memorabilia sitting on a shelf.

    Studio 642/Getty Images

    It's okay to indulge in a few kitschy decorations, especially during the holidays or in a kid's bedroom, but too many miniature animal statues or cliché quotes make a home look childish and unsophisticated.

    Ditch the "live, laugh, love" print and go for something that really speaks to who you are and makes a statement.

  • 08 of 10

    Empty Walls

    White stairway with blank empty walls.

    Seeking Alexi 

    Minimalism can be chic, but taking the concept too far can create a cheap-looking space. This stairway from Seeking Alexi got a major upgrade with the help of some strategically placed gallery prints.

    A gallery wall is an easy (and cheap) way to fill a blank wall. Just be sure to limit the number of mass-produced prints to keep the look fresh and original.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Basic Light Fixtures

    Dome light fixture on a white ceiling.

    Small Home Soul

    Anyone who lives in an apartment knows the woes of a "boob light": It's functional but looks shabby. This easy upgrade idea from Small Home Soul shows how you can transform a fixture—and a whole room—at little expense.

    Even if you're a renter you can easily swap out old lighting fixtures with new ones or try a DIY cover to camouflage it. This easy fix can turn an outdated bedroom or cringeworthy entryway into an aesthetically pleasing space.

  • 10 of 10

    Furniture Sets

    Boho bedroom with white comforter and plants.

    New Darlings / Instagram

    Outfitting a bedroom with a matched set from a big box store may be easy, but it's not necessarily inexpensive and it can make the room look like an afterthought. The reason this bedroom from New Darling works is that it feels fresh and unique. There's a mix of styles such as mid-century modern and boho and it is bursting with personality.

    Mixing and matching styles, fabrics, and woods is a creative way to decorate on a budget and will make your home look fabulous. Pick just one or two items per store so your home doesn't wind up looking like a catalog photo shoot.

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