If you take Pinterest decor sites and shelter mags as gospel, you may have come to the conclusion that every home must have at least three pieces of inspirational wall art prominently displayed. But beware—these little kernels of wisdom can be annoying. Epically, annoying, in fact.
Whether you’re demanding guests keep calm or encouraging them to eat the food that is already on their plate, there’s a whole herd of irritating phrases nailed to America’s walls—perhaps even yours.
No one can tell you what art is or is not appropriate for your home, and free speech certainly extends to your homestead. But with that said, some phrases have become so omnipresent that they might inspire even your most kind-hearted guests to rip art from your wall.
Here, 10 inspirational sayings long past their prime:
Keep calm and…
Keep calm and have a shower. Keep calm and play Minecraft. And never forget to keep calm and carry on. Aren’t we all carrying on enough already? People have been itching for the end of this resurgent World War II–era phrase for years now, but it just … keeps … carrying on. You can’t spend 20 minutes on Pinterest without coming across another variation. It’s the opposite of keeping calming: It’s downright enraging. But if you must, keep calm and stick to the original ($5).
Bless this mess
Look, here’s the hard truth: Homes are messy places. Who really wants to clean up after your kid all the time? Or have a spotless kitchen? Or scrub the toilet, for that matter? It’s all but guaranteed you’ll have some spot of unsightliness in your home. Another guarantee? No one really notices. And no, they’re not pretending to ignore the mess because of your arty “Bless This Mess” sign ($5).
But first, coffee
Coffee is great. No one is rallying against coffee. We’re rallying against that omnipresent kitchen sign ($39) that makes sure everyone who steps inside your kitchen knows just how much you love a cup of joe.
Not that positive self-talk is bad, per se, but when this phrase is plastered in every single woman’s bathroom in the United States, it gets to be a little … much. Keep stock of your positive qualities, and never stop reminding yourself just how awesome you are—but when you’ve surrounded your motivational quotes in (literal) lights ($399), your decor might make a beeline past “inspirational” and veer toward “self-obsessed.”
Live, laugh, love
NO! Apologies if you’ve already plastered this annoying, omnipresent saying all over your living room. It’s got good intentions, to be sure: Living is fantastic! Laughter is the spice of life! And what is life without love? But the sappy “unspirational” saying is a verifiable meme, with even Dwight Schrute weighing in. Enjoy the sentiment all you want, but spare your family and friends from this schlocky phrase ($16).
Seriously—what else do you think people do in kitchens? Do you hang a massive “COOK” sign over your stove, or carefully arrange wooden blocks that say “POOP” atop your toilet? Your guests do not need to be informed precisely what is intended to happen when food is placed in front of their faces. Provide cutlery. They will eat without any instruction whatsoever. Magic! These oversize kitchen signs ($10) might be pretty, but find one that says something clever.
Dare to dream
Having goals and aspirations is essential to living, laughing, and loving, but cheesy quotes are not—and this one ($40) is dripping with melted cheddar. It’s as bad as those black-framed motivational posters your dad (and every dentist) had on the wall.
Bless this home with love and laughter
A slight upgrade from “Live, laugh, love,” this phrase ($10) is most often seen plastered to the entryway walls. While we’re certain whichever almighty being you prefer will appreciate the request, its omnipresence might leave him or her a bit busy. Opt for simplicity instead, and ditch the overwrought saying—we’re certain you’ll be blessed regardless.
Not all those who wander are lost
What would J.R.R. Tolkien say? You’ll most likely spot this inspirational saying in your favorite world traveler’s bedroom, plastered to a globe or painted in elegant cursive over a map ($9), with no regard to its fantastical origins as the Riddle of Strider, a prophecy of Aragorn’s rebirth. It’s elegant phrasing, to be certain, but never intended to serve as a security blanket for world wanderers.
Good things come to those who hustle
Spotted in every freelancer’s home office (including, for a brief time, my own), this inspirational mantra is supposed to be encouraging. Work harder and good things will happen, right? There’s nothing false about that statement, but something does ring false about this when it’s printed on a mass-produced mousepad ($15). Hustle away—we support you! But inspire yourself with something more original.
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