Refresh These Passé Features
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or if you're thinking about resale value, you should consider updating these 21 things that make your home feel outdated.
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.
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.
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of choice has shifted to gray, warmer beiges—ones with undertones of pink, yellow, or peach—are starting to feel out of date.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.
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 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
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.
Shiny Gold Fittings
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.
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!
Built-In Media Cabinets
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!
Zillow Digs home in Tucson, AZ
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).
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.
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.
Word Art and Wall Decals
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.
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.
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
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.
Stenciling and Sponging
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
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.
Heavy Window Treatments
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.
Avocado 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!
Showing Your Age
If you're looking to sell, update those old design trends.
Want to step inside old, new, bold, beautiful, weird and wonderful homes around the world? Subscribe to the House Lovers newsletter today!