21 Things That Make Any House Feel Old and Outdated

These design trends were once hip and modern, but now they're signs that your house needs an update.

Refresh These Passé Features

outdated design

Some home design features from the past have a charm that makes them feel historic or vintage. Others? They haven't quite stood the test of time. A trend that was so ubiquitous in one particular era that it instantly dates your home can be a flag to friends (or future homeowners, if you’re thinking about selling) that you haven’t renovated in decades. Of course, you may not care if your home is on trend. If you absolutely love a quirky feature, by all means keep it. But if you’re planning some renovations or if you're thinking about resale value, you should consider updating these 21 things that make your home feel outdated.


Carpet Everywhere

Wall to Wall Carpeting

There was a time when wall-to-wall carpeting was a luxurious must-have, but these days it’s all about hardwood. Although carpeting adds comfort underfoot and absorbs sound—which is especially important in bedrooms—consider upgrading to wood on the main floor of your home. Not only is it more in step with today's home trends, but it's more hygienic too.

Related: 7 Secrets to Keep Your Carpet Looking New


Honey Oak Cabinets

Honey Oak Cabinets

A staple in kitchens of the 1980s and '90s, these golden-toned wood cabinets have fallen out of favor as white and gray cabinets have risen in popularity. If you don’t like your light-stained cabinets, but they’re in good shape, consider refinishing or painting what's there.

Related: 9 Simple DIY Ways to Reinvent Your Kitchen Cabinets


Beige Walls

Beige Walls in Home

It’s a subtle change, but as the neutral of choice has shifted to gray, warmer beiges—ones with undertones of pink, yellow, or peach—are starting to feel out of date. If gray is too cool for you, consider a greige (that’s gray + beige), which is a light neutral with both cool (gray) and warm (brown) notes.

Related: Better Your Builder-Grade Home with 12 Old-House Details


Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn Ceiling

This nubby treatment gave ceilings everywhere a textured look through the mid-20th century—and provided a challenge to anyone trying to clean cobwebs from the upper corners of a room. Despite their current lack of popularity, popcorn ceilings are still around today in lots of homes, because removal of these ceilings, some of which contain asbestos, can be expensive, messy, and potentially health threatening.

Related: 9 Ceiling Types You'll See in Homes


Pastel Fixtures

retro green bathroom

Pastel pink and mint green toilets, tubs, sinks, and more were popular in the 1950s—so if they’re still in your home, that's a clear sign that no one's remodeled since then! But before you renovate, be aware that these throwback fixtures are still popular among a certain set, so see if you can find your old porcelain a new home.

Related: 10 Bathroom Trends You Might Regret


Laminate Countertops

Laminate Countertops

Popular in the 1960s and '70s for their durability, wipe-clean convenience, and low price point, laminate countertops, particularly Formica, were a mark of pride. Though the material is still a good, affordable option, it’s no longer as popular as natural or engineered stone countertops like marble, granite, and quartz.

Related: 10 Ways You're Accidentally Ruining Your Countertops


Shiny Gold Fittings

Retro Gold Hardware

In the early 1990s, shiny brass faucets, light fixtures, and hardware were the norm, beloved for their flashy sheen. Though gold-toned hardware is on its way back into style, these newer versions are more muted in tone and feature rounded or geometrically inspired silhouettes instead of the clunky shapes of 20 years ago.

Related: 14 Long-Forgotten House Trends We're Glad Are Gone


Dark Wood Paneling

Outdated Dark Wood Paneling

Dark wood paneling was so popular in the 1960s and '70s that it was once nearly almost impossible to avoid in any neighborhood. Today, while many homeowners have phased out the dark and dreary feature in favor of neutral or brightly painted drywall, paneling remains in plenty of homes that haven't been remodeled in decades. If you have real wood paneling, consider bleaching or painting over it to freshen it up. If, however, the walls are covered by sheets of wood-look panels, pull them off now!

Related: 9 DIY Ways to Redo Your Wall—Without Paint


Built-In Media Cabinets

old tv stand

Gone are the days when your TV was as deep as your sofa: In this era of flat-screen televisions that mount almost flush to the wall, no one needs a big ol’ cabinet to hold their technology. Pull that dinosaur out, already!

Related: 11 Types of Furniture That Are Going Extinct

Zillow Digs home in Tucson, AZ

Chintz Wallpaper

outdated wallpaper

A 19th-century staple that enjoyed a revival in the late 1980s and early '90s, this fussy floral wallpaper feels out of date today. Done right, it can add vintage flair in an eclectic space—but done wrong, it just looks like Grandma decorated your space (no offense, Gram).

Related: 12 Photos That Prove Wallpaper Still Wows


Millennial Pink

millennial pink decor

This soft-hued pink was all the rage just a few years ago. As with any trend, millennial pink became old news once the design world selected new colors to obsess over. Paint over this passé shade with a timeless neutral tone, and avoid purchasing pricier furniture pieces in the color—save the millennial pink for decorative accents that you can easily replace.

Related: 10 Once-Trendy Paint Colors That Still Look Good Today


Vertical Blinds 

vertical blinds out of style

They’re annoying to clean and even more irritating if you have pets, who seem to continuously dislodge the delicate blinds and leave them strewn on the floor. Replace the aggravating blinds with more fashionable window coverings, like airy curtains or farmhouse shutters. Not sure about the best fit for your windows? Many home decor stores now offer in-home window treatment consultations for free. 

Related: Lose the Drapes: 15 Better Ways to Dress a Window


Word Art and Wall Decals

word art home decor

Pop into a home decor shop or gift store and you no doubt will spot word art. Simple phrases transformed into wooden art pieces or stick-on decals, like “home,” “eat,” “live, love, laugh,” etc., rose in popularity with farmhouse style. While the rustic aesthetic remains as popular as ever, the kitschy decor and decals have faded into the realm of basic platitudes.

Related: 10 Home Trends That People Either Love or Hate


Tile Counters

tile countertops outdated

Tiling, whether in the kitchen or bathroom, is best kept for floors and backsplashes nowadays. Once popular in the ’70s, tile counters are a sure sign that your home needs an update. This type of countertop isn’t just visually unappealing, it’s also incredibly tough to clean properly—yet another reason to swap your old countertops and pick an easier to maintain surface.

Related: 12 Vintage Kitchen Features We Were Wrong to Abandon


Linoleum Floors

linoleum flooring outdated

This cheap material is long-lasting, but easily dents and discolors. Update your old linoleum floors on a budget by opting for laminate flooring, which can be placed over existing linoleum floors.

Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Get New Floors for Under $50


Wallpaper Border

wallpaper border outdated

Wallpaper borders were a staple in the ’90s. The split-in-half look was used as trim for the top or middle of the walls. Today if you want to add interest to walls, forget borders and opt for a bright accent wall, stylish wallpapers, or crown molding. 

Related: 15 Wallpaper Trends to Try in 2019


Pine Furniture

is pine furniture outdated

At one time pine was the preferred wood for furniture. From tables and chairs to hutches and chests, rooms were decked with the light wood. While a little pine is okay, a lot of it is overwhelming. Opt for other attractive wood furniture choices instead: teak, walnut, acacia.

Related: The 15 Best Cheap Furniture Makeovers We've Ever Seen


Stenciling and Sponging

sponging walls

Spicing up walls by hand was big in the ’90s. Adding texture or dimension with sponging was a tedious task, but left homeowners with a look that was coveted at the time. Stenciling, too, was a hobby that left many ’90s era walls with delicately painted-on patterns. It’s time to grab a can of paint and cover up those outdated faux finishes and themed stencils. 

Related: 9 Paint Color Rules Worth Breaking


Floral Accents

floral decor

A few bold floral pillows are the perfect accent in an otherwise monochrome living room. The trouble comes when floral patterns start to overwhelm a room. Spaces covered in floral designs are straight out of the ’80s. Mix and match solid and floral accents to avoid looking like your grandma’s house.

Related: These Questionable Home Trends Used to Represent Wealth and Luxury


Heavy Window Treatments

heavy drapes

Bulky curtains and heavy valences are a thing of the past and for good reason. Heavy window treatments can quickly overwhelm a space and make it feel claustrophobic. Not to mention the upkeep required. The greater the surface area, the more dust chunky curtains will inevitably attract. 

Related: 21 Clever Tricks to Make Your Home Look Bigger and Brighter


Avocado Green Appliances

Retro Green Appliances

The first kitchen appliances were white, but the 1950s brought a rainbow of pastels, and the late 1960s introduced bolder shades, most infamously avocado green, which peaked in the '70s. If you have an avocado green oven in your kitchen today, it's screaming out that your kitchen hasn't been updated in almost 50 years. But kudos to you for keeping it in good shape for so long!

Related: The Biggest Home Trends from the Decade You Were Born


Showing Your Age

Showing Your Age

If you're looking to sell, update those old design trends.


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