The lockdown projects that make you look common from hot tubs to mirrored furniture, according to etiquette expert

MANY Brits have been using lockdown to spruce up their homes and make them epic for the summer. 

But leading British etiquette coach William Hanson claims some popular home improvements could actually be making you look common, instead of adding value. 

From hot tubs to mirrored furniture, here are the ‘tacky’ lockdown projects you may wish to consider avoiding, according to William…

Home cinemas 

With Odeon and Vue cinemas shut around the country, many families have been making their own entertainment centres in their home… but should they?

William claimed to Fabulous: “A television that’s too large is nothing in comparison to a room that actually has one wall totally occupied by, and dedicated to, a projector screen.  

“Using your furloughed status to convert a garage or spare room into your cul-de-sac’s rival to Showcase cinemas is not on.”

He added: “‘Guys, why don’t we go and catch a movie in our cinema room?’ Words that will send an icy chill down any one of good breeding’s spine.”

So just how big is too big?

William stated that the “bigger the television the more downmarket the establishment” and “anything above 42 inches is socially suspicious.” 

Hot tubs 

With the hot weather we’ve had this summer, some people have found buying a hot tub for their garden has been a godsend. 

However, William argued: “These oversized petri dishes of filth have become the 2020 social indicator of the aspirational lower middle class.  

“There are few worse accusations one can level against someone than that they own, or aspire to own, a hot tub.  

“No amount of money spent on such an item will upgrade a person’s garden.  

“The presence of a hot tub does not transform a nondescript-semi in Borehamwood to a cosy chalet in Val d’isere.”

Mirrored furniture 

One of the most popular home decor trends at the moment is mirrored furniture, but William argued that they won’t make you look middle class.

He claimed: “The upkeep and effort it requires is too much to even think about.  

“Even in a lockdown who wants to spend every moment polishing and buffing glass?”  


  • Cinema room 
  • Hot tubs 
  • Mirrored furniture 
  • Inflatable/pop-up pubs 
  • Ring lights
  • Words as decor
  • Coasters 
  • Floating shelves

Inflatable/pop-up pubs 

With pubs being shut for a large amount of 2020, some people have made the next best thing, and erected a pop-up watering hole at home. 

However the etiquette expert said that another contemporary sign of “common” is the inflatable pub.
He added: “It’s also possibly also a sign the owners have a drinking problem, too.”  

Ring lights

Ring lights are a staple of beauty lovers, but owning one of these “will not make you an influencer (sorry, ‘digital creator’)”, says William. 

He added: “Having one on show, or posting a ‘behind the scenes’ photo of your latest attempt to gain followers on social media, is sadly tragic.

“Spare yourself the money and just move closer to a window.  

“Caring too much about the aesthetics of your Instagram stories and the like is the new personalised number plate.”

Words as decor

We’ve all seen homes that have decorative words hung around, and maybe we have one or two in our own pads. 

However, William said: “There has actually been scientific research that has proved people who buy wooden lettering to spell out ‘LOVE’, ’SOAK’ or ‘RELAX’ etc and dot them about the house are more neurotic than those who do not own such items. 

“Neurosis aside, you would never catch anyone with good taste owning such items.  

“Even after the chaos of 2020.”


William said that having these protective discs dotted around your house marking where people should place their drinks is a “timeless class signifier”.  

He explained: “Far smarter to not care or allow people to place their drinks where they choose.  

“(And tea and coffee cups come with inbuilt ‘coasters’ – the saucers – anyway).”

Floating shelves

Another popular trend is having a shelf on the wall that has hidden fixings and no visible brackets. 

But William said that shelves “should not float”.  

He explained: “We all know they aren’t actually floating, and yet so many people (especially since lockdown) insist on trying to pull the wool over guests’ eyes by trying to convince them the shelf has superpowers and defies the laws of physics.  

“To be super-smart brackets should always be visible. 

“Spade a spade, and all that.”

So now we know!

Previously, William said you are common if you have these six things in your bedroom.

And from ‘bubbly’ to ‘avo’, etiquette expert reveals the 10 words that make you ‘middle class’.

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