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Design Trends That Are No Longer Cool

Once upon a time, avocado green appliances and orange shag carpet seemed like great ideas. Appliances with color provided a custom look for ordinary homeowners, and wall-to-wall carpets were considered a luxury. One day the Beatles broke up and what was once considered cool turned into metallic flocked wallpaper, Berber carpets, and jewel tones. Then black granite countertops with dark cabinets were the height of sophistication, but soon became stodgy, giving way to all white kitchens. More recently, farmhouse chic was all the rage, but barn doors as tabletops and mason jars as candle holders didn’t make much sense in urban areas. And don’t even get us started on fast furniture. 

The point is that things you may think are cool eventually go out of style, leading you to regret some design and decorating decisions you make. But guess what? You can always change things seasonally, annually, or every few years.  You can go as small as replacing throw pillows every few years to as large as a complete gut-the-interior renovation. In between, you’ll need to repaint, buy new bedding, and replace items that break or wear out. 

Industrial spaces  

It’s very cool to be downtown where all the action is, but you’ll pay a premium for walking access to restaurants and clubs.  Developers who reclaim old buildings seldom make them more user-friendly by adding privacy walls, balconies and decent lighting. By hanging your bedroom over your living area, they’re able to subdivide old buildings into numerous loft apartments. This is fine for overpopulated cities like New York and Hong Kong, but if you live somewhere where there’s room to spread out, you’ll definitely overpay for urban renewal. 


Magazines like Elle Décor celebrate the concept of minimalism - a few well-curated pieces of furniture, accessories and art that show off clean architectural lines. These homes may look great in theory, but aren’t necessarily comfortable. 

Imagine Fisher-Price plastic toys spread out all over your Mies van der Rohe concrete floors, or peanut butter and jelly fingerprints on the wall of glass in your living room. 

No place to play, no collections, few decorations, nothing on the tabletops? Sounds more like the lobby of a commercial building than a personal home. 

Alternative countertops

Interior designers are dying to break our addiction to granite, but unless you’re in Los Angeles or New York City, you shouldn’t pay extra for copper, quartz, resin, concrete or stainless countertops. Why? Granite may be made of stone, but it has elegance and sustainability that can’t be achieved with concrete or stainless. If you want to get edgy, try granite on the main countertops and an alternative product like stainless or soapstone on the kitchen island. 

Moroccan prints and gourd lamps

In the 1960s, bamboo-trellis wallpapers and parquet-patterned floors were all the rage. Now we’re being inundated with the Moroccan trellis on walls, upholstery, and rugs. The patterns are pleasant and colorful, but they were overdone by 2015 and are still going strong. Also being oversold are gourd lamps. The ones we’re talking about aren’t really made of gourds, they just echo the rounded shapes. The problem with them is that you could pay a lot for these lamps that are now being knocked off for pennies and that just shows their moment is already over. 

HGTV Budget Decorating

When you start out on a budget, resources like HGTV are fantastic. You get great ideas, but if you follow too much of their advice, your home is going to look more like a daycare center than a home.  HGTV can go a little over the top with too many bright colors, flea market bargains, and do-it-yourself projects that you’ll be lucky not to mess up. Do you really have the time to paint stripes on your walls or renovate an old cabinet with ombre drawers? And wasn’t ombre over five years ago? 

Fifty shades of grey

Neutrals like beiges, whites and greys are necessary for decorating; because they’re relaxing and easy to decorate around. Grey is the current go-to neutral, but it’s like the metallics of the disco era - a little on the cold side.  Grey is an industrial business-like color that’s difficult to soften. While it looks newer than beige and it’s less glaring than white, that doesn’t mean it’s the right neutral for your home.  If you’re going to use grey, make sure you warm it up with accents like yellow, orange and golden or red woods.  

We’ll leave you with this thought. Anything that’s a trend now is going to be dated later. If you like trends, that’s fine, but just know that change is always in the wind and be ready to welcome it.