You can get a lot of inspiration from scrolling through home decor websites. But some popular trends may actually pose hazards. Those picturesque spreads don't come with warning labels, even though they may affect your health and safety. Here's a sampling of a few trends that may make your home look good, but could prove to be dangerous.
Vintage Appliances with Old Wiring
Classic appliances have a distinct look and feel. But if you want to use those appliances in your home, be cautious of outdated wiring. Those products were likely made according to old electrical standards that may no longer be safe. The wiring may also be worn or frayed, a serious fire hazard. Consider replacing the wiring or old internal elements. After all, if it's the look you're after, all you need is the outer shell.
Open Floor Plans
A spacious, airy living room – or any space – hardly seems dangerous considering there's not in much in the area to cause an issue. As it turns out, fires move more quickly in open spaces. Open floor plans mean there are fewer walls and other barriers to slow the movement of flames. Throw in a few pieces of flammable furniture, and there's a risk of serious combustion.
Old Paint on Refurbished Pieces
Upcycling is easier on the environment than using new materials. It can also bring a distinct look into your home. But it's essential to clean off pieces to get rid of toxic elements. Old paint may contain lead, which can affect your health. Don't forget to also sand down old wood to get rid of sharp or dangerous edges. That will help prevent painful nicks or splinters when anyone bumps into your classic coffee table.
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It's better to reuse old wood than to chop down a healthy tree. But any wood in your living space increases the risk of fire. That's because wood is a highly flammable material. It is similar to putting kindling in the middle of your home, especially if you're not careful with other decor elements -- like lit candles, for example. Stick to battery-operated candles if you're really attached to your wood aesthetic.
Floating Shelves and Open Staircases
There's a reason most staircases come with banisters. They give support for those travels up the steps and also prevent falls. Staircases without railings mean greater chance of dangerous slips. In a similar way, those "floating" bookcases and shelves can also topple over. That's what may happen when they are not properly secured with traditional brackets. To stay safe, consider a glass barrier on the staircase that fits with the open look, but still stops any unforeseen tumbles. Secure your shelves to the wall with additional bolts. At a minimum, read the installation instructions carefully so they are as stable as the manufacturer intended.