Stop putting blankets on your couch
Over the past decade, the ‘blanket-over-the-couch’ craze was all the rage. We’re not talking about throwing your winter blanket on the couch corner when you’re done. No, this trend involved covering the entire couch to make it look cozier. Instead, it seemed like people were trying to hide their couches, perhaps trying to cover up a stain.
Plastic tablecloths are gross
Do you remember the printed plastic tablecloths that were popular in the 1980s? Yeah, those are definitely a thing of the past. Beyond looking cheap, they’re also gross. If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue and need something easy to clean up, go for a linen fabric. It looks better, feels nicer, and adds a touch of class that plastic just can’t match.
Let the beaded lamps go
Since they originated in the 1970s, it’s no surprise that beaded lamps are seen as pretty outdated. Sure, we can appreciate their classic appearance, but let’s face it, they’re just not practical for a contemporary home. They look cluttered, and who wants to hear those beads jingling every time they reach out to switch off their bedside lamp?
Round beds make no sense
Why would anyone want to sleep on a round bed? We humans are naturally upright so it just doesn’t make sense. Did anyone consider this when they introduced them in 1968? Thankfully, they didn’t stick around for too long. If you’re into retro furniture, go for it! But, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, stick with a tried and true rectangular bed.
Stop ruining your bathroom with gold fittings
Shiny brass faucets, hardware, and light fixtures featured in near every bathroom in the early ’90s. But unless you live in a palace, having a bathroom full of shiny gold fittings looks very tacky. So, do yourself a favor, let the gold fittings go and choose more modern look.
Tacky novelty phones
Do you remember when smartphones hadn’t taken over? That’s when novelty phones ruled the scene. In the 1980s novelty phones were a must-have, you could have phones shaped like lips, cartoon characters, or even food. They were fun but, let’s face it, using them as home décor is just tacky and tasteless.
Say no to fake brass fixtures
Brass fixtures were on trend in the 1980s. Bathroom and kitchen cabinets, bedroom drawers, closets, and everything else was adorned with them. The problem was that brass made a house look old, and it was rarely actual brass, which meant it quickly faded and chipped. So, unless you can afford real brass, don’t do it.
Tropical prints are best in moderation
Sorry die-hard fans of 1980’s decor, but I just can’t help but laugh at some of the trends from the era. Let’s talk about the infamous tropical print craze that took things to a whole new level, especially in Blanche Devereaux’s bedroom on ‘Golden Girls’. I appreciate nature and all, but seeing those tropical leaves plastered everywhere is just too much!
Cheap lacquer cabinets are a no-go
If you’re a fan of ’80s movies, you might remember how every house seemed to have those shiny lacquer cabinets. It was like the shinier they were, the cooler they were considered. But let’s face it, we’ve learned a thing or two since then. It’s probably best to just steer clear of them and embrace a more modern look for your home.
Leave lace curtains in the past
Let’s talk about lace curtains and their love affair with the frills and floral patterns of the ’80s. They were delicate, with a certain charm to them. Despite this, having holes in your curtains just kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Lace curtains are perfect as decorative pieces, adding a touch of beauty to a room. In general, though, let’s move on and choose more functional window coverings.
Interior décor in various shades of grey has certainly been having an admittedly long moment. Although the depressingly monochrome style is usually permitted some relief with the addition of different shades and material textures (especially crushed velvet), it seems that many people have finally had enough and are looking to reinject some color into their homes.
First popularized in the 70s, many homeowners have been slow to get rid of the pine cladding that adorns the walls and ceilings of their kitchens, hallways and living rooms. Although, no doubt, the style once looked fresh and modern, nowadays it simply looks dated. The only possible exception permitted is for a house that is deliberately and, probably ironically, styled in 1970s fashion.
While there’s no doubting the impact that Ikea and other similar superstores have had on our homes and wallets, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. The ubiquity of products from these stores risks making every home into an identikit model of its neighbor. It’s now time to make space for the individual, the quirky, the hand-me-down and the thrift store find.
Sunken living room floors
Another gift from the 70s that needs to stay firmly in the 70s, sunken living room floors are just a little baffling to modern day eyes. Supposedly good for breaking up large spaces and creating intimate seating areas, they’re just a little too try-hard for the 2020s.
For the aspirational interior designer, terrazzo has echoes of the exotic – or, at least, of last year’s vacation to Italy or Egypt. However, to the casual observer, unless they’re looking at a real Venetian terrazzo sidewalk, the choice of terrazzo for a suburban kitchen floor is somewhat baffling and ever so slightly ostentatious.
In the 1970s, every second home had a stand of pampas grass in its front yard. Meanwhile, people told each other that pampas grass in a yard meant “swingers live here”. In reality, of course, pampas grass was just a style choice that’s fallen out of favor. However, just in case there’s any truth in that swingers’ rumor, let’s leave pampas grass in the past.
The fashion for real fur rugs and throws is largely – and thankfully – behind us. However, the trend for fake animal print, often in the form of highly flammable tiger or leopard-print fleece blankets and shiny cow-print rugs is in the more recent past. Let’s make sure it stays there: animal print definitely looks best on animals.
The fashion for tiled kitchen countertops belongs, by and large, to the 1970s and 80s. However, here and there, it seems to be staging a resurgence – perhaps as a budget-friendly alternative to today’s pricey favorites of granite, corian, and solid wood. And yet, thanks to all that grouting, tiling is a hard-to-clean surface that’s not best suited to food preparation areas.
Anyone who experienced the 1960s or 70s has at least one horror story featuring a carpeted bathroom. Whether it involved mould, urine, vomit or worse, all these stories make clear that a carpeted bathroom is a very unhygienic choice for a room that depends on regular and thorough cleaning.
Originally a speciality of artisans from Genoa, macramé is the art of knotting cords in a geometric pattern to form ornamental or functional items. More recently, the art of macramé found a new place in the homes of lovers of the boho trend. Macramé plant hangers have made wannabe gardeners of the most unlikely people and left their homes looking too cluttered for comfort.
For anyone who wanted to “bring the outside inside”, bifold doors seemed like the answer to a prayer. However, such is their popularity that they’re now less a design feature and more just another door – albeit one that takes up considerable space when open and aren’t very thermally efficient.
Vaulted glass ceilings
Inspired by the orangeries of large country houses, a vaulted glass ceiling has become the latest “must-have” for almost every suburban extension. As well as sometimes looking a little incongruous, they can make a room unbearable hot in the summer – which is tricky if the room in question is your kitchen or living room.
Sliding barn doors
The Gen Z ‘cottagecore’ trend gave new oxygen to the trend for sliding barn doors with exposed metal hardware. However, though they look fabulous in the right space, they’re another example of a trend that’s become so overdone that no one other than their owner is likely to give them a second glance.
Open plan living
All the rage for a while, open plan – or open concept – living had homeowners everywhere knocking through walls and convincing developers that, yes, one gigantic living space was exactly what the market required. However, heating costs aside, the practicalities of daily life mean that enthusiasm for open plan living is waning. And rightly so.
Yes, the stained glass is pretty and, yes, these lamps do amazing things to a lightbulb. However, the light they cast is often too dim to be useful and the overall style risks seeming either too fussy or uncomfortably reminiscent of a sketchy dive bar with exceptionally dated décor.
Few trends have set more teeth on edge than word art. Who needs to have “bath” spelled out in letters to know that’s the purpose of a bathroom? As for “live, love, laugh”, where’s the joy in demanding this, and what happens to people who are bereaved, dying or just plain sad? Burn the word art. Burn it all!
Laminate flooring is (relatively) cheap and (usually) comes in a variety of colors and styles. However, it’s also prone to scratches, water damage and fading. More than this, it’s made from non-renewable resources, frequently contains known carcinogens, and isn’t biodegradable. For these reasons, it’s a trend we need to put behind us.
Dining chairs with handles
It’s an influencer’s favorite: a dining room table surrounding by throne-like chairs – often in a crushed velvet fabric – and the back of each chair “finished” with a handle that looks like a door knocker. Why? The effect isn’t even half as grand as the owner thinks. Ultimately, this is a trend that’s sure to have people cringing when they look back through their Instagram.
Unless you’re living in an art deco-style property or you really can’t think of a better way to make a small room seem larger, mirrored furniture has no place in your home. Think about the fingerprints, the smudges, the endless cleaning – and then pick a different style of furniture.
Another trend popularized by Instagram, crushed velvet fed into the “luxe look” beloved of many millennials. Now, however, Gen Z are – rightly – kicking the whole trend to the curb. Instead of mass-produced crushed “velvet”, there’s greater emphasis on the understated, the artisanal-produced, and the individual look.
Unless you actually live in a cottage and, preferably, a cottage in rural England, approach busy wallpaper patterns and rows of eclectically mismatching china crockery with caution. If you succumb, you risk looking like you bought the contents of your house from Home Depot – and, to be fair, that’s probably the case.
New England-style timber cladding
As with ‘cottagecore’, New England-style timber cladding is a design trend that’s best on the houses it was designed for. In the right place, it’s a look that will never go out of style. In the wrong place, on the wrong house, it’s a choice that will cost the homeowner dear when it comes to maintenance and repainting costs.
No doubt some people still believe that a window valance finishes a window nicely. However, that strip of material running across the top of your window is nothing but a dust and spider trap that has no place in a 21st century home. It’s even worse if you’ve chosen valances to match the upholstery of your soft furnishings.
Anaglypta wallpaper was particularly popular in late Victorian England. However, the reasons for its popularity – its durability and the ease with which it can be painted – are also the reasons it’s now looked on with some skepticism. Only put anaglypta wallpaper up if you plan never to decorate that wall again. If that’s not the case, don’t touch it with the proverbial barge pole!
Feeding into the NY or London loft look, bare edison bulbs illuminate kitchens and living spaces across much of the world. However, this is yet another trend that’s become too much of a good thing. Nothing says “early 2000s” better than an edison bulb. Instead, try a nice chandelier or even a pendant light.
A mason jar, or even a row of them, is a useful thing. Whether it’s pickles, preserves or perhaps lemonade, mason jars have their uses. However, those uses do not – and should not – include forming part of your home décor scheme. Luckily, a new appreciation for handmade vases is putting mason jars back where they belong: in the pantry.
Yes, you enjoyed the series. And, yes, you have plans one day to visit Highclere Castle, filming location of the fictional Downton Abbey. In the meantime, however, filling your home with Downton Abbey-esque merchandise from Highclere’s online store impresses no one. None of it resembles a genuine antique or anything sourced from a house clearance sale. None of it!
Unless you really miss your office and want to make your home look as much like your workplace as possible, don’t install vertical blinds. And, as well as being infuriatingly utilitarian, they’re difficult to clean and hard to open. Far better to opt for a pair of curtains or a horizontal blind.
A big trend from the 90s and early aughts, ferns brought a pleasant greenness to so many living spaces. However, easy to care for and frequently fast-growing shrubs also have their downsides – and a home that became just a little too close for comfort to The Day of the Triffids is one of them.
Although appealing in theory, there’s something about a platform bed that screams seedy internet star And, if that doesn’t make you re-evaluate your decision, perhaps the prospect of all those stubbed toes will do the job instead. A divan or a regular bed frame is a much better option.