Home Decor Items No One Should Own After Turning 40

There comes a time in every adult’s life when Ikea futons get swapped out for real beds with headboards and that cinder block and plywood bookcases are replaced with something less … utilitarian.

During the college years, it’s perfectly acceptable to drive around on trash day hunting down free curbside couches and lamps. Even in your first house, a couple dirt-cheap Craigslist finds can help to tide you over until your paychecks have more zeros at the end of them. Take your time, but eventually, you’ll want to clear out the remnants of those lean days and start showing off your personal sense of style, not your ability to sniff out the best bargains in Target’s clearance section.

Furniture is an investment that will last for years if you choose wisely. Ahead, check out the most glaring home décor items that you definitely shouldn’t own past the age of 40.

1. Particle board furniture

Ameriwood Home Carson TV Stand for TVs up to 50" Wide (Espresso)

Particle board looks and feels cheap. | Amazon

Faux wood furniture may seem decent from far away, but a closer look reveals it as nothing but a cheap imposter.

Particle board isn’t just uglier, it’s flimsier and more likely to fall apart over time. The veneer surface also tends to peel back to reveal the horror show underneath. A solid wood piece may cost a lot more in the short term, but just think of it as an investment that will last for years to come. If you’re on a budget, scope out furniture resale stores or shop during big sale events. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Just like with cars, the ticket price on real furniture is just a jumping off point.

2. Frameless posters or art

woman sitting at desk, wearing headphones

It screams college dorm. | James Woodson/iStock/Getty Images

No doubt your teenage bedroom had its fair share of Scott Baio posters painstakingly affixed to the walls with scotch tape. Your first post-college apartment may have even featured a reproduction of Starry Night that served as “art” for the space.

But times have changed. You don’t have to spend millions on a real Warhol, but at least upgrade what you have with a custom frame. Better yet, support your local artists by visiting that gallery in town and finding the piece that speaks to your heart. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting than yet another Eiffel tower poster.

3. Plastic dishware

plastic bowl and spoon

Unless you have young children, skip it. | Stockbyte/iStock/Getty Images

Unless you happen to have young people living in your house, plastic bowls and spoons don’t belong on your cabinet shelves.

Dishware doesn’t even have to be expensive. If you’re shopping on a budget, it’s possible to find beautiful stone dinnerware sets at discount stores like HomeGoods and Target. Even the dollar store has a selection of gorgeous wine glasses.

4. Kitschy photo frames

Friends Picture Frame - Ceramic Picture Frame Fits a 4" X 6" Photo

You are an adult for goodness sake. | Amazon

Years ago, it probably seemed like a good idea to buy that glittery “Best Friends Forever” photo frame for your bookshelf. But trying to create a grown-up home means letting go of your inner teenage girl and passing along remnants like this to your favorite 13-year-old niece instead.

Ikea has the best inexpensive grown-up photo frames that’ll make your room look sleek and modern. Create a photo wall using one color frame and don’t forget the importance of a great photo mat to really make your pictures stand out.

5. Cheap bedding

Bedroom with pink accents

You deserve comfortable bedding. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

The average person spends 1/3 of their life in bed — why waste all that time lounging on scratchy sheets?

Even if you don’t have a gigantic budget, department stores frequently have white sales where you can get fantastic deals on high quality sheets and comforters. Look for at least 400 thread count combed cotton sheets in a neutral color that will match any comforter or blanket. Good quality sheets get softer the more you wash them, so you’ll just get more comfortable the more you use them.

6. Junky rugs

beautiful showcase interior

A nice rug can anchor a room. | Tom Merton/iStock/Getty Images

It may not seem obvious, but an area rug is one of the easiest ways to elevate the look of your room in an instant.

You know that postage stamp sized fake Oriental rug you found at the thrift shop? Yeah, it’s time to let that one go. A few hundred dollars is all you need to upgrade your rug situation and make your whole space look more put together.

Always choose a rug that’s a little larger than you think you need. Your area rug should never be left “floating” in the center of the room, but should rather be anchored underneath the legs of the furniture.

Once you picked a rug you love, get a rug pad to go underneath, too. It’ll protect the floors and it feels fantastic to walk on.

7. Fake plants

WINOMO Modern Potted Green Artificial Succulent Plants

It will just end up collecting dust. | Amazon

Living house plants can remove indoor pollutants, reduce stress, and make you happier in general. Fake plants just look fake.

If you don’t have a green thumb, consider plants that are easy to care for, such as bamboo, Ficus trees, and spider plants.

Read more: The No. 1 Design Mistake Everyone Makes in Their Living Room

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