OH-NO! BOHO #3 / It’s Never Too Late to Call Out 5 More Décor Cliches

Alas, it’s been over a year since my last Oh-no! BOHO post, and not only am I still not an interior decorator, I still do not play one on TV, which has me fuming. My agent is going to get a piece of my mind, as soon as I find where I lost it!

But seriously, folks, I’m pondering whether what this truly means is I’m finding less to complain about or just focusing my angst elsewhere (DC maybe). Regardless, I’ve finally collected another five décor clichés worth griping about. Here we go…

1. Zero-clearance pendants

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Found on DigsDigs

I concede upfront, this is a GORGEOUS look. The bright chartreuse pendant caps the setting like the perfect hat. My only question is, how does a person sit down here and then get up again with banging his or her head?

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
House Beautiful

If I used the “do” and “don’t” format like the issues of Glamour I remember from my teen years, the previous photo would be the “don’t” and this one would be the “do.” Low-hanging pendants work here because there’s a big table under them. All the chairs are far enough away not to interfere with diners’ heads.

People also tend to sit down to and get up from a dining table with a straighter upper torso. Whereas when getting up and down from a sofa, most of us tend to bend forward more because the seat is lower and we have to counterbalance to avoid plopping.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

And in a setting like this one, you know what that means: BOINK! followed by a precariously swinging pendant that will likely strike again and again in the same place.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Via Planete Deco

Even if the pendant is placed strategically over the coffee table, a collision could still happen if not hung high enough. Something to consider: How tall are you? How tall are your guests? If you still want the light and the intimacy of the lowered look, consider posting a height limit on the entrance to your living room. (That’s a joke, there.)

2. Construction-grade surfaces

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

I’m all for the industrial look as long as it’s sensible, practical and safe. I even get it that there’s beauty in letting the natural grain of wood show through. But this headboard isn’t made of natural wood. It’s plywood.

That means it’s several thin layers of wood stacked, smooshed and glued with the grain of alternate layers going in opposite directions. For strength. This makes it a great material for flooring and some construction, but it was NEVER meant to be left unfinished.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Armelle Habib photo / Est Magazine

Why? Rough edges for one. Think how much better these shelves would look with bullnose trim to cover the edge of exposed layers. I will even grant you that the exposed look has a certain aesthetic quality, BUT how many clothes will you ruin before you realize cozying up to that desk has its risks? And what toll will it take on your wrist and/or wristwatch?

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Marcus Selander photo

Here, both cabinets and backsplash have been constructed of the same plywood. The cabinets were painted, yet the backsplash was left natural. How sanitary is that in a kitchen? Wood, in itself, is a risky choice, but unsealed wood of any kind is just dumb. (Shades of 45, I know, but dumb is the right word here).

Even ash- or cherry-veneered plywood—the ONLY plywoods meant to be used for finish carpentry—deserve paint or stain and varnish.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Manuel Rodriguez photo

The point of a banquette is to slide in or over, right? But think of the splinters you’ll collect on the backs of your thighs if your build yours of plywood. And you’ll have to get someone else’s help in picking those splinters out. OUCH!

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Lisbeth Grossmann photo / Doherty Design Studio

Waferboard is an even dumber choice for anything but a garage or basement. Plywood serves as the basis for the laminate floors many of us love. But waferboard is for SUB-flooring. Let’s leave it there, K?

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

And don’t even get me started on the problems with waferboard in a wet environment like a bathroom. Nothing like inviting the mold doodies to take up residence and flourish.

Moving on…

3. Threatening art or wall hangings

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Timothy Whealon Interiors

At first glance, I like the undulating line of this overly-large worm photo. It gives an otherwise traditional room movement and a bit of quirk. That said, it also creeps me out. The worm is big enough to be menacing, and I don’t think that’s good for the guests who have to sit under it or look at it from across the room.

I know I just ran an article on decorating with bugs and bug likenesses, but this is a little too creepy-crawly for even me. I once had worms squeezing under an improperly sealed patio door in an apartment I rented, and that was enough to freak me out to no end, seeing as how I discovered them in my bare feet as they wriggled through the shag carpet.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Rebecca Bond photo / Apartment Therapy

Antlers can be a hazard, too. I love the look of mounted antlers, but you need to be careful where you place them. Over a bed? Not unless you want to get impaled or impale a guest if and when those antlers fall.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Jayson Home

I also love fake animal heads hung on walls, and if this one were cardboard or papier mache, I’d say okay. It appears to be either wicker or wire. If the former, I give it a pass, but regardless, those horns slook a little pointy to risk surprising someone sleeping peacefully beneath. Just sayin’.

Of course, if you’re hoping to limit the time a guest stays—especially a particular guest—then this may be the way to go. You decide.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Lesley Unruh photo

And c’mon, does anyone really like to have a nun staring them down? Nuff said.

4. Defacing books to fuel your styling obsession

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Our Fifth Sixth House

Or should I say de-spining them? How can you FIND the book you want with the spines toward the back and the leaves toward the front? If you don’t plan to READ your books, then don’t have any, okay?

This arrangement is obviously just that: an arrangement for arrangement’s sake. Buy yourself some pottery instead, or frame some more photos of your kids. As long as you stop pretending you’re a reader.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

These old book “bundles” were suggested as a cute addition to your home styling. And while I realize not all old books are valuable and many new books will become old and lose their covers, I shiver to think of them tied together in their nakedness and added into a vignette.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Fab Funky

You could always carefully separate the pages, run them through your printer and make your own cute animal prints instead.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
PaperStatement / Etsy

Or try your hand at some book ART. Now doesn’t that make a much more interesting vignette?

5. Pallet reuse

I laud the environmental spirit that inspires people to reuse pallets. I really do. There was a time when wood pallets were only used once or twice then shipped off to the landfill. But pallet recycling—where the pallets are ground up and used to manufacture other products—is a booming business now.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Katrin Arens photo

We don’t need to risk splinters in bed anymore to save the environment. And do you know what those black streaks are in the wood? Not character, by a long shot. That’s MOLD, pure and simple. It won’t come out, and you shouldn’t have it in your house at all, let alone breathe in its spores while sleeping.

And yes, spores will be present. It may look static and benign to you, but mold is a growing organism that infiltrates wood. I was sick for a year once after living for three weeks in a house that had mold issues.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Via Planete Deco

These pallets look like they’ve been substantially cleaned up, which must have taken an immense amount of work because pallets are made of the crappiest scraps of wood available. Definitely a long way away from furniture-grade.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Boukari photo / Historika

Can’t say which I like less here: the wall-mounted pallet side table or the plywood headboard. It’s a toss-up, just like that unmade bed.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
The Merrythought

On the other hand, I have no problem with pallet use in outdoor furniture and fun, as long as you still watch out for the splinters.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
David Domoney

But I’d want to do a good bit of sanding and searching-out rusty nails before I let my kids crawl around this teepee.

Previously noted décor ‘bads’ getting worse

1. Ye olde don’t-tread-on-me cliche 
www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Via Daily Dream Decor

Remember my criticism of the chick who decorated her stairs with her shoes? Not that I have anything against decorating with shoes, and I get it that some people have limited storage, but try a shelf or cabinet, okay? These are a trip hazard. Especially in the dark when you’ve had a little too much to drink.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
11 Magnolia Lane

But this little knickknack naughty is much worse, in my mind. Somebody who looks to live in a home with lots of other space is actually tricking out the stairs, too. I say get over your styling obsession already before you cripple your husband. Or your kids. Or yourself.


2. You all remember how sick I am of juju hats, right? 
www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Shoot Factory

Well there’s still a lot of bad décor juju a-happening. What? Two of these stacked like potatoes in a sack isn’t enough? A third is needed down the hall? Really?

I love African décor, but there are still way too many of these feather headdresses out there for my taste. If you must have one, isn’t ONE enough? What about ACCENT don’t you understand?

3. Speaking of overdoing it, this one is officially out of control 
www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Augustus & Carolina

I like soft and furry as much as the next person.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
Via Elements of Style

But how much is too much? Definitely this…

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan
I Suwanee

And this. What happened to fur as an accent (there’s that word again)? Even fur-as-accent should be FAKE fur in my view. Just how many cute little lambs died to make this dinner party warm and fuzzy? There is NO appropriate use in home décor, fashion or toys for real fur from a recently live animal.

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

At least that’s my belief. If you want real fur, either buy a mink farm (stinky, I’m telling ya) or look for something vintage and decorate with it.

My final concession

www.bohohome.com @bohosusan

If you’re still determined to build some pallet furniture, some form of FAKE fur will work pretty well protecting your skin from the splinters. Just remember to position the faux fur over the entry/exit edges.

That accomplished, have a cuppa on me and relax.

And I almost forgot: Be sure to lock those wheels down before you plop.

Or maybe not. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!! Until next time.

Want more?

  • You’ll find all my Oh-no! Boho articles filed under the label decor cliches.
  • In the meantime, why don’t you become a BoHo Home subscriber? Just sign up using one of the subscription services at the bottom of this page and get every post sent straight to your inbox.
  • Or, if you’re more the social media type, follow my blog with Bloglovin, a tool where you choose the blogs you want to see in your feed and go from there.