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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 things I find tacky

Five things I find tacky (in no particular order):

1. vanity sets

2. napkin rings

3. bath bombs

4. "artfully" arranged throws

5. saving/displaying luxury brand boxes

What makes your list of decorating faux pas, Dumplings?


Alcira Molina-Ali said...


Nearly swallowed my own tongue when I saw that stack of H boxes in the shower! I plead guilty to having a couple of those suckers on display, but clearly, this homeowner has skewed priorities -- and a dirty secret.

Right off the bat, I can't think of too many egregious decor faux pas -- my parameters are pretty wide as long as things are well-executed and in context.

That said, cheesy towel sets do bug me. And real housewives-style Tuscan extravaganzas, as well as the Miami-by-way-of-Z Gallerie vibe.


Jane said...

So many many things annoy me but then that might say more about me than them. We have a lovely lady who comes to clean the house ocassionally. And she adjusts all the cushions on our sofas by standing them up on their points, so they look like diamonds. I am pretty unhappy about that but don't plan on saying anything. Then again, she may just be taking the piss!

kaypea said...

Those Hermes boxes in the shower, now that's unbelievable!
Here's what I'd add:
1. fake plastic flowers and greenery, especially "ivy" and especially on top of cabinets, hutches, etc.
2. themed (sports, disney, hollywood) anything (shower curtains, towels, pillows, rugs, glasses, dishware, etc.).
3.overdone holiday crapola (like the stuff people buy at Hallmark stores to do tablescapes - think a couple of "cutesy" ceramic scarecrows in a pumpkin patch as the centerpiece... why not just a couple of awesome and REAL pumpkins instead?)
4. overboard home fragrance - be it from a candle, air "freshener" spray, those awful potpourri pots, it's just gross. Note: subtle home fragrance that's not gonna bowl me over upon entering a space is a-okay, expensive candles are worth it. lemon rinds in a disposal, even better.
5. matching sofa and loveseat sets situated in the dreadful L configuration.

Bringing Pretty Back said...

This cracked me up! Great list!
Bath bombs- Guilty!
Have a pretty day!

brismod said...

Love this list, Raina
Spoon rests would have to feature in my list and hot plate covers too.

Modern Country Lady said...

Where so I start ? Your list pretty much covers it...mmmmm - little statuettes on dining room tables is pretty gruesome..

melissa said...

hahahaha at the hermes boxes

I would add monogrammed anything (can't you remember your own initials? Don't you know those are your sheets? They are on your bed, after all) but that is speaking as a european. I understand they are the ne plus ultra of chic in some bits of the states.

Kate said...

If I had all those Hermes boxes I wouldnt give a toss about wether you thought I was tacky or not. i'd just be worried you'd think I was a klepto.
Bath bombs rock, especially the one with 'bits' in them which you find later nestled amidst an unexpected body crease.
Scented plug ins do my brain in, for me they are super tacky and smell awful.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I draw the line at plastic-covered sofas and velvet paintings.

ChrisToronto said...

Houses that wreak of Febreze! I must be the odd man out because this product is a big seller but I find the smell nauseating and users should know that they're easily identifiable to the rest of us because it sticks to their clothes and follows them everywhere they go -- elevators, city buses, office cubicles, yuck!

Mandi Smith T said...

You are so fun. I love waking up with coffee and your blog!! I would have to say that using outdoor rugs indoors is bad and for some reason I really can't stand candles in the fireplace. Just build a fire.

autrichenoire said...

I dont understand the luxury brand boxes either. If you shop there that much then you are too rich to care or does one buy just the boxes empty or used? That is just sad.
my decorating no is those pictures of kittens playing with yarn or kids dressed as hobos with religious or cutsey sayings.My countrymen love that shit.They are super tacky and really ugly.

my favorite and my best said...

agree with everything but the bath bombs and the hermes boxes...though that many is a tad over the top..i mean who has that many hermes anything?
lush bath boms are a treat at MFAMB estate. fiona squeels with delight over them. esp. the ones with glitter and paper flowers.

Sketch42 said...

One day I was walking to pick up my daughter from school and i saw clear plastic garbage bags in the trash with at least 20 boxes from tiffany and hermes... all I could think is wow- one mans garbage is another mans decor!

Btw- this guys probably bought the china- he would have BILLIONS of boxes... each comes in its own box.

Brandi said...

I'll go with any decor type item from Hobby Lobby and the like. I also hate maroon in decor. I've never seen it used in a good way. I really hate matching sets of furniture too. If I had a few Hermes or Tiffany boxes I would definitely keep them to organize my art supplies but no, I would not fill a shower with them. I have a few pretty boxes that some stationary came in and I use them to organize my make up drawer, makes it look so pretty.

only a movie said...

You are hysterical. I am not qualified to talk about tacky, since my house is done in Vintage Dead Relative.

Have a lovely holiday, Ms. Raina. xoxo

life, in small chunks said...

I agree with all your choices. I tend to not like anything in "sets" whether it be towels or furniture or whatever. I don't find bath bombs "tacky" per se, I just would never use them, so I find them useless. And here I thought I was the only person in the world who didn't like napkin rings! Karin

Appletree said...

Vanity sets: good call.
I really think pouffy valances are tacky.

Naomi@ThirteenandSouth said...

Forget the boxes, I don't like items with labels all over them. Louis Vouitton purses, Coach stuff with big C's everywhere... that seems tacky to me. Buy something with good lines and materials- that better shows off good taste to me.

susieq said...

Oh Raina, Raina, Raina. *shaking head, look of pity* You poor shower-loving girl. If you were a bathing miss, you would appreciate those bath bombs. They are pretty fizzy wonderfully awesome. ;-)

My tacky dislike is an all-matching bedroom suit. Yuck.

Topaz said...

I don't even know what bath bombs are.

I plead guilty to napkin rings, though. It was the way I was brought up.

I have throws all over, mostly because the older I get, the less I like being cold and a nice throw does the trick when I'm watching a movie. But I try to keep mine artfully UNarranged.

I've seen magazine spreads of designers' homes showing their Hermes boxes and always thought it was tacky.

I also hate the features in design magazines in which designers talk about their luxury "must-haves" and declare they always stay at the Ritz in Paris and someplace I've never heard of in some exotic locale. I always think, "Man, you must move a lot of overpriced geegaws."

hush said...

Anything decorating the inside of a potted plant.

Luxury-branded anything.

Almost every type of perfumed substance meant for producing a noticeable scent in a house.

Certain white or cream-colored plastic garbage containers one might find sitting out next to the toilet in the bathroom of a budget hotel.

Most ready-to-hang, mass-reproduced art.

Oil-portraits of anyone living.

(But any of the above might be hilarious as a parody display. Intent matters.)

Not decor but bothersome anyway: asking guests to remove their shoes when they enter your house. This isn't Japan, people. If you don't want to clean up afterwards, don't invite people over.

Raina Cox said...

kaypea and Bringing Beauty Back - Hello to both of you and welcome to this deliciousness!

Petra Voegtle said...

Thanks for the giggle today, Raina! Everything said already!
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody,
Greetings from Munich!

Alison said...

Aww, at first I thought that was some kind of awesome sculpture in the shower. I guess not. For serious, there's a vintage store that sells used Hermes boxes a few blocks away. It's weird.

Also tacky:
- Curtains tied in knots
- Fauxriental rugs
- When people use Victoria's Secret bags to bring their lunches to work
- "Artwork" from Bed Bath and Beyond (you know, those pictures of weird, googly-eyed chefs and these:

And not exactly tacky but annoying is the separate bath and shower in new/rehabbed Chicago condo bathrooms. I guess I can understand it in a big house, but square footage is premium here. Wouldn't that shower stall be better used as a closet?

Wow. I had a lot to get of my chest!

Savvy Gab said...


A few more to add to the already long list:

- Fluffy toilet seat covers with matching rug around the bowl... never ever understood those
- two level ruffled curtains on windows above the kitchen sink - you know: thin one at top and longer one at the bottom
- tacky doilies on dining room tables
- vertical blinds... eeeeeeeeeek
- poultry theme in kitchens (curtains, tea towels, etc)
- all the artwork we've seen a million times: marilyn and hepburn included.

I know there's a million more but these are the ones that came to mind...

David said...

I'm okay with whatever people want in their homes. If I don't have to live with it I don't care so much. But if pressed I would have to say oversize uphostered furniture bugs me. The chenille-covered monster chair-and-a-half with wildly flaring arms. Or those leather sofas with the tiered backs that look like three half-full backpacks.

I know they might be comfortable, but visually they say "I am completely uninterested in my home being even remotely stylish."

Tonia of Chic Modern Vintage said...

Your list is mine. Especially the boxes.

GongShow Mommy said...

Your list is great...but I need to add
1) Light fixtures hung too high
2) Pictures hung too high
3) Those bizarre blowup Santas and Reindeer we (here in Canada) see on people's lawns this time of year
4) matching bedroom suites (especially ones with "sleigh" beds)
Wow...I have more than I thought on my faux pas list!

Raina Cox said...

Alison - I didn't even have to click your link. I knew the tragedy you were referring to. I'd love to know how many of those monstrosities BB&B has sold.

GongShow Mommy - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

The Zhush said...

I do happen to like a vanity set...but not all matchy matchy...break it up please. As to my pet peeves...faux books and books that were clearly bought by the yard. Bottles of olive oil on display in the kitchen...with things in it...eeeww... little pigs with chef hats on, signs that say stuff like "all b/c two people fell in love"...I could go on and on! :)

Charlotta Ward said...

I just generally dislike overly 'matchy-matchy' and styled rooms / homes and details.. It makes me nervous..
Also think that too much of a good thing is a tad tacky, be that a certain colour, pattern, collection or a theme taken too far..

Like my dear friend Zhush, I could go on and on..

Have a lovely Thanksgiving dear friend. Am sending you wishes of health, peace and happiness all the way from Down Under.

xx Charlotta

Lexy said...

That shower made me laugh out loud. Where/how on earth do they bathe?!

I loathe monograms on anything except stationary, those stupid words 'dream' 'hope' etc, dozens of candles and - my pseudo-aunt specializes in this - rooms that are identical to the catalogue photograph, right down to the arrangements of candles, family photographs etc.

Suzy said...

definitely No#5. not sure in the states, but here in HK people save the bags too and walk around with them forever like they've JUST made a purchase....soooo tacky

Ailie said...

Hi, I'm new, but loving your work! :)

Can I also add to the list: framed prints of famous and priceless works of art, such as the Mona Lisa.

Embellished photo frames.

Framed wallpaper, which seems to be inexplicably popular on the home makeover shows here in the UK.

'Dressing' a table with a single apple/pear/orange on each plate. Who are we having round for dinner, some livestock?

Rococo style furniture in non period property. Urgh.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

My list would be longer than Santa's "bads"...but for starters matching sets of furniture, multiple pieces of "art" from chain stores, dirty/old pillows on your sofa, and stupid signs in rooms that say "Family is..." "Cafe" etc...Real vintage signs if it goes with your overall style are fine.

Raina Cox said...

Ailie - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Alexis L., The Studioist said...

Again, I profess my love for you Raina. As for 1-4, I think of them as just passe. I wouldn't choke on my tea, but they really seem to belong to a time that has passed. The hoarding of luxury brand boxes is so interesting because it clearly bespeaks a need to have a double signifier of luxury or wealth: the object itself and its packaging. I like Hermes orange but really, how gauche.

Cashon&Co said...

I have to disagree on a few. LOVE vanity sets, just not all of them together, but I will spend the $ on a nice kleenex box or trashcan.
I LOOOOOVE napkin rings. It's like jewelry for the table and I think they are fun and a throwback to the past.
And I like my throws to be clean and folded on my furnituture.
so I guess I am tacky afterall. Except I don't like the bath bombs either. So maybe i'm only 74% tacky. :)

Cashon&Co said...

And I like monogrammed everything. Another throwback to the past, German and French in the 20's. And in the south we keep up that tradition. So I must be the Queen of Tack. Can I have a Crown? Please???

Raina Cox said...

Cashon & Co. - I think we're pretty much in agreement. It's the matching vanity sets that make me crazypants, and I noticed you said you like your throws "folded." I do the same.

We'll agree to disagree on napkin rings. ;)

I'm all for monograms. I use J-E-W on EVERYTHING.

Thandi said...

Hilarious lists, people! Top of mine is crockery that is stencilled specifying contents: plates that have the word 'spaghetti' all around the rim, bowls that say 'soup soup soup' Horrid and makes me feel rebellious. Risotto in the soup bowl? Revolution!

Heart-shaped dangly ornaments- often to be found in homes where there is a love of the cottagey/'French'/Shabby-Chic look.

Enormous black leather sofa suites. They never complement anything except huge home entertainment systems.