40 Outdated Home Trends. But, Are They All Passé?

Last summer, my nemesis (but not really);] Elle Decor, wrote a post about 40 Outdated Home Trends.

(please open up the ED post in another tab to refer back to)


And, they’re hoping they never come back. These are trends dating back to the 70s (actually, some to the 60s) through the early 2000s.


I thought that it would be an interesting exercise to go over all 40 (I know) of them to see if:


  1. these home decorating trends ARE really outdated?
  2. And, if so, should they stay away?


Of course, you can chime in your thoughts. But, maybe keep it to at most a handful.

And, please be nice! In other words, please disagree in a way that if someone said it to you, it wouldn’t make you feel badly. This is for the 1%; most of you are beyond nice!


Certainly, 40 outdated home trends is an ambitious number.


Some of these I’ve gone into more detail than others.  And, there are many of outdated interior decor trends that I’m in complete agreement with. However, some of these are not passe, IMO. And, some are. And, the majority, I agree, should not come back.


Let’s begin


1) Tile Countertops


Oh yeah. I concur! Anyone who has them will say that they are a bitch to keep clean. Of course, they are! So, is the only solution an entire redo? Not necessarily. I actually found a very helpful article here that gives several solutions. However, it appears that Lazy Granite is out of business.  This is another helpful article about countertop overlays made from granite and other stone products.


2) Shag Carpeting


Agreed. Shag carpeting was big in the 60s and 70s. And, it made something of a come-back with the boho (bohemian) trend I associate with a young, trendy aesthetic. I wouldn’t call it a mainstream trend. And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a trend that can stay away.


3) Wood Paneling

Well, there’s wood paneling that’s the vertical stained stuff.


paint wood paneling Federal Style Home living room - Alexandrian, VA


And then there’s the cool kind like this lovely home has. (Although, I’d probably paint that too) The vertical stained paneling that was prevalent in homes built in the 60s and 70s. Ugh. Some of the old wood paneling isn’t even real wood. And, some of it is real wood, but with ridiculously heavy knots. I have worked in several homes that had this stuff.


In every case, we did not remove it. We painted it. And painted, it looks fabulous. That’s my recommendation.


painted paneled room

This isn’t the vertical paneling, but the look is the same with everything being painted one color. We either painted the paneling a white, cream or often a light khaki shade like Benjamin Moore Richmond Gray – hc 96, one of the Laurel Home Paint Collection colors.

But, you could do any of the lighter shades in the Laurel Home grouping of khaki and warm beige. Just so you know; I do not have any “pinky beige” in my paint collection because I feel that the world is saturated quite enough with barf colored walls and furnishings, as it is.


And, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE a good, warm, not pink beige.


There are several taupe shades, however, in the Laurel Home Paint/Palette Collection. But taupe has far more gray and sometimes a whisper of lavender which is lovely on a wall.


However, if you do have pinky beige tile, (or something that can’t be changed easily) I do have one white in the laurel home paint collection that looks fabulous with it. (without being pink!)


If there are heavy knots in the paneling, then I might look into minimizing them. I don’t know if this is a DIY job or not. But, perhaps some wood filler and a little sanding will do the trick.


before dark paneling office - dated interior design trends

There is a wonderful example of this type of wood paneling makeover in this post featuring the lovely home of Sarah Wagner. Above, is the before. And, if you click on the link, you’ll see the fabulous after.

For more of Sarah’s gorgeous home, please check out this post. She’s very talented.  Sarah also has her own beautiful website now, Sarita and Gail.


4)  Linoleum Floors


Mostly agree. However, if you’re doing a retro style kitchen, I think that linoleum floors would be great.


Eclectic mystic home - linoleum kitchen floor - best kitchen floor - Apartment Therapy photo - Bethany NauertVia Apartment Therapy – photo – Bethany Nauert


5)  Terrazzo

Are they forking kidding me? In fact, I saw this earlier which spawned this post which talks about the ages old and fabulous terrazzo flooring.


Oh, and haha! That post was about 17 outdated home trends as so stated on a different website. So, great. That might save me some time as I imagine there will be some overlap.


6) Tiffany Lamps


Okay. I know that there are a number of you who love these stained glass lamps and chandeliers. And, indeed, I remember when I was about 13, I adored what I thought were “Tiffany” lamps and even owned one. Of course, back then, I had no clue that it was a totall fake Tiffany Lamp.

I’ve seen the real ones at the Metropolitan Museum. And, they are indeed works of art.

The issue is that Tiffany lamps are difficult to work with most decorating styles except for some Victorian and/or Arts and Crafts homes. But, that is when they were originally created. They belong in dark, heavily paneled homes. Lots of stained wood. Otherwise, I feel they look sorely out-of-place. And, the fake ones are pure granny, IMO.


7) Millennial Pink



India Hicks


Oh, hogwash! If India Hicks can paint her living room pink, who am I to say it’s outdated?


And, for Pete’s sake. Can we stop beating up on those darling Millennials? They’ve gotten such a bad rap and I for one would like it to stop.

As for the color pink; it’s fabulous. And I’ve devoted two posts to this color. rethinking pink tell me what you think and how to work with the color pink, it’s not just for millenials I even created a pink Christmas tree page!


8) Word Art


Yes, please. Make them all go away. And, stay away! We’ve talked about that one before, as well.


9) Futons


Indeed! I’m sure that there are folks out there who still enjoy sleeping on a piece of bedrock; but, I never took to the notion. And, when I was pregnant with this bruiser, it became impossible. So, off it went.


10) Fast Furniture


Hmmm… Well, they all but spelled it out. I.K.E.A. But, basically their def of “fast furniture” is cheap furniture that’s considered a “throw away.”  However, some people can’t afford anything else. And yes, there are alternatives such as thrift shops and tag sales, etc.

But, just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean it won’t last.

In fact, IF you really want a piece of furniture to fall apart, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have it for the rest of your life! haha! Isn’t that the way it works?

Besides, I think the room they used is pretty darned cool!


outdated-decor-trends-via Elle Decor - via Getty ImagesImage via Elle Decor/Getty Images

Love the old rug, too!


However, I do agree with this statement from their post:


Recycling and reusing existing decor allows you to reduce waste and also collect pieces that are special and have their own story.


So, here’s the deal. I just spent 90 minutes looking for that freaking table. It’s freaking because I couldn’t find it. But, I do like it.

IT DOES NOT EXIST. (although, I’m sure it did at one point)

So, if you find one. Guess what? It’ll be a vintage aka: recycled table! Problem solved.


YouTube video

OR, you could make your own.


I said, “you;” not me. ;] This one isn’t white. However, you could definitely modify it and paint it white. And, I like the video. The guy isn’t trying too hard to sound like something he’s not. Ya know? But, his explanations are clear and easy to follow.

That’s genius!

blacks-hdx-casters-30260 home depot - DIY coffee table

home depot 4″ casters


However, I would use larger casters, than he did, like these 4″ casters above. He used 3″ casters which I think are a little small for that big, handsome coffee table.


11) Nautical Motifs


Oh, yeah… Really, I would be careful with any kind of “theme.” If so, it should be exceedingly subtle. Just doing a room in blue and white with a little shiplap and it’s ALREADY inherently nautical.


12) Edison Bulbs (please see this other post for my thoughts about them)


13) Tufted Headboards


I don’t have a problem with tufted headboards unless they’re too puffy and bloated.


14) Tuscan Kitchens

Haha. We’ve certainly been through this one. What has been given the designation of “Tuscan” is about as similar to the true Tuscan style as an elephant is to an ant.


15) Damask

Easton Neston Main Parlor. brown damask wallpaper


What??? NEVER!!! Damask has been around for centuries. And, it is not a “trend.” It’s not over and it never will be. Therefore, it can’t possibly be one of the outdated home trends either. Above is the glorious living room of Easton Neston decorated by Lady Henrietta Spencer Churchill. You may recall that we saw the exterior here, in a photo that I took during my trip to England nearly two years ago!


16) Wallpaper Borders

I have to concur, however, with fairly rare exception. The exception would be a super-well done trompe l’oeil or other sophisticated or whimsical design. But, these are high-end European papers; not the usual poorly rendered floral vine in equally insipid colors.


Cole & Sons Wallpaper - Ardemore border

Ardemore wallpaper border sold at Decorator’s Best from Cole & Son


Cole & Son has some lovely borders. It takes a skilled designer to do this so it doesn’t look hokey.


17) Matching Window Valances


outdated home trends - original source unknown - via Elle Decor


I’m not sure I understand this. Of course, the valances should match the draperies. I guess they mean valances which match the drapery and the drapes match the furniture. The room they are showing is lovely. I would, however, like to see more white. I would’ve done a white coffee table. And, a rug in the seating area. Maybe seagrass.

In any case, this is kind of a non-issue, for me. Or, maybe they needed a better example of their point.

I do agree, however, that frou frou valances and heavy, every-hair-in-place swags are not classical


18) Mason Jars


Okay. Sure, anything done in excess can be too much of a good thing. But, I think that mason jars are classic and if you have a collection of antique mason jars, I think that would be pretty cool! And, I’m fine for using them to store other items.


19) Wicker Furniture


Their advice is to get a bright sofa, instead.

Does that even make sense? You’re supposed to replace a wicker accent chair with a bright sofa?

But, even so, tell that to the likes of Bunny Williams, John Rosselli, Furlow Gatewood, John Saladino, Vicente Wolf, Ralph Lauren…

And Mark D Sikes who wrote this wonderful post hi-lighting how fabulous wicker is, in interiors.

I could go on and on…

In addition, I’ve often used wicker in my interiors. I had a mix of wood and wicker chairs in my old dining room.


20) Dusty Pastels


Yes, definitely passé in the dated room Elle Decor presented. That’s because it’s also fussy and one-note. AKA: classic “granny.” But, give it some heft with some black, white, gold and rich brown. If so, those “dusty pastels” would be lovely. Just please not too many different ones in one room.

home decor trends - Manuel-Rodriquez-photo-dransfield-and-ross-one_kings_lane_lavender

This is a better example of a dusty violet looking beautiful in this living room. Source unknown.



We’re halfway there! Don’t poop out on me now! If I can write this, you can read it! haha And, some of the best worst and most obvious outdated home trends are coming up.


21) Hollywood Lights


I’m not sure I knew that they were a trend. Maybe in the 60s-70s. But, I think they’re long-gone. They say 90s. Okay. I agree. Those lights suck. Certainly for a residential bathroom.


22) Avocado Green & Harvest Gold


Moot point. haha. NOBODY will ever do this ever again and hasn’t for at least 30 years, or more! Therefore, I daresay that one of the worst interior design decorating trends in all recorded history is dead and buried.

I mean, everyone knows this is what happens when people do LSD and ludes and then go to their 9-5 designing kitchen appliances.


“Hey man. coooooooool green. Looks psycho-delic with that gold, too.  Groovy. Do you have a joint? Everything is sooooo beautiful… Let’s throw in some Brady Bunch orange while we’re at it. Peace out, bro.”


Please, please stay away from that stuff!


23) Granite Overload


Oh Yeah. That one I definitely concur with as pointed out here.


24) Ferns Everywhere


Their example isn’t very good because there is one beautiful green fern which is about the nicest most interesting, refreshing thing in that room. However, yes, I agree. Plant overload can be a bit much, unless you’re this amazingly talented woman (at the end of the post).


25) Plaid


Okay. The photo they’re using is depicting a bloody ugly plaid wall covering in a putrid mauve colorway with a matching (can’t get too much of a bad thing, I guess) mauve bedspread.

The anti-chic, for sure.

However, are ALL plaids created equally?

Absolutely not.


Scot Meacham Wood Design - color scheme - Benjamin Moore Gentleman's Gray - interior color scheme - Chest-photography by Thayer Allison Gowdy for House Beautiful


Apparently, they have not seen the work of the brilliant designer, Scot Meacham Wood.

Shame on them. I could write an entire post on the beauty of plaid.

Plaid is as timeless and classic as can be.

You don’t have to ask SMW either. Ask any Scotsman. They’ll set ye straight.


26) Pine Furniture


Well, yes admittedly, that scrubbed pine of the 80s – 90s certainly went beyond its saturation point. But then, so has cerused wood. Right? And you may notice that it’s not going anywhere.


But, come back in another 15 or 20 years.

We’ll see.

Of course, there’s pine and there’s PINE!!!


Antique English Pine Wood Highboy Chest - timeless decorating trends

For instance, this stunning antique English pine highboy I found at One King’s Lane Vintage. Click here for your promo code give you 20% off all vintage pieces at OKL!


27) Avocado Green Fridge


Well, I guess we haven’t beaten that dead horse enough? lol However, the fridge they are showing is quite cool and retro looking. And, sorry, but it’s not Avo green.


Below is Avocado Green.


outdated home trends - classic 70s hideous kitchen - featuring - avocado green fridge - oven - orange cabinets


However, this way cool kitchen below with a retro-style fridge from Big Chill similar to the ED example is MINT green.


via Remodelista - Megan-Garrett-green-fridge - first seen on Design sponge classic retro styleImage originally via Designsponge but found on Remodelista


Can you see the difference?


Hope so! Of course, the styling is different and the orange cabinets just make the avo green fridge, all the more hideous.

***BTW, you must, must, must check out the instagram account (@mylifeeclectic) of the woman who owns this kitchen, Megan Garrett . She has the coolest beautifully decorated Spanish-style house in L.A. And, wow is all I can say. It’s so well-done. And totally accessible. I think that y’all are going to like it. I can’t believe she only has 1,110 followers. That’s just not right.

PLUS, she has the most interesting BLACK FRAMED windows. And here, we can see another example of where they are absolutely perfect!


28) Vertical Blinds


hahahahahaha! Blight on humanity.


29) Bean Bag Chair


Awwww… I was breast fed bean bag chairs! That’s not fair. I mean, I don’t especially like them. But, it’s fine if you do and they’re jolly good for a play room, rec room or basement.


30) Giant Silk Plants


There are situations where I’ve actually thought that the real plants were fake. And, I’ve been fooled by fake plants, as well. However, it is fine to hate them. However, yes, there is nothing worse than a fake looking plant. Of course, their beef is with GIANT silk plants.

What I have an aversion to is GIANT plastic “water.” lol

I can’t believe we’re talking about this. ;]


31) Sponge Walls


You know… I will never forget the time a friend of ours invited half a dozen of her friends and my wasband and I were two of the friends to a painting party. Yeah, sponge paint. But, that was the 80s. I have to say that I’m hoping that trend doesn’t return.


32) Glass Blocks

Not a fan. At least not in residential settings. I think that’s in the other post. I recall getting a little flack for that one. But, most of the time, I feel like I’m sitting behind an igloo.


33) Popcorn Ceiling


Who in their right mind actually LIKES popcorn ceilings? If you’re in your wrong mind and you like them… Well, that’s a different matter.


34) Ruffled Bedskirts


Again, there are good ruffles and bad ruffles. The latter are polyester royal blue or some other bad bedroom color, ruffled bedskirts. However, a wonderful linen that’s gathered. Please check out the hot sales bed and bath page for some pretty bedskirts.

Their image has a double tier lace-y thing. And it looks like a girl’s room. It’s had its day. And, I don’t think it’s coming back either.


35) Fake Fruit

Seriously, plastic fake fruit is disgusting. That’s a home decor trend that can safely leave the earth. But I actually got these acrylic mini pears at some big box store a few Christmases ago. And I love them. They really do look real.


36) Heavy Headboards


What they are showing is a heavy brown bed. The design here, is a little funky. But, I’m actually having more of an issue with the footboard with those things all set to impale someone. This bed would look a lot better if the room were balanced. For instance, a dark blue wall would make the bed not appear as heavy. Food for thought. Sometimes we blame the furniture but it’s not really the problem.


37) Floral Everything

Well, their room is not my taste, but I’ve seen a lot worse. For folks who do the floral thing and make it fun,

home decor trends via One Kings Lane Madcap Home Tour_Turquoise interior mahogany china cabinet - Granny chic decor


please check out Madcap Cottage. And true. I realize that this look isn’t for everyone.


38) Lace Tablecloths


It’s a tough sell for me too. There are some exceptions, perhaps. And, if you have your grandmother’s lace table cloth, just forget I said anything at all. :]


39) Lace Doilies


Same. But, if you have antique doilies and the right kind of house, I’m fine. But, it needs to be an old Victorian. And, maybe just a couple. I know that you inherited them from your granny. That’s different.


40) Window Valances

Well, this room they’re showing is pretty horrible. In the first few years of my business, back in the 90’s I did for two clients, some tailored valances. It wasn’t my preference, but it was just two windows. They wanted something and didn’t have the budget for more.

Yes, it was more common-place to do valances alone. Still, most of the time, I think it now looks dated. So, yes, I’d concur there. Instead, I would do Roman shades. And, please, no fake Roman shades if you can help it.

Oh, wow, we did it! I hope you enjoyed reading about these home decor trends. And, I just passed 3,000 words. One of the longest posts ever.


Update on my mom.


Thank you again for all of your kind messages and support regarding my mom. She had two good days last weekend, but come Sunday, began her descent again with renewed fervor. Her hospice caregivers are amazing! I don’t want to go into any details. It’s not pretty. But, they are keeping her comfortable.

Much love,



PS: Please check out the newly update hot sales!


107 Responses

  1. Fun post Laurel! When I moved into my house (about 10 years ago now), it was one of those ranch houses that hadn’t been updated since the 60’s. I was getting rid of lots of Avocado Green & Harvest Gold. So I’m at the paint store picking out colors (blues, purples, etc) and I’m noticing that everyone else is choosing… Avocado Green & Harvest Gold! The names had changed, but the colors were the same. Lol! So, I’m sure they will all be back again. No one thought gray would come back from the 80’s, but here we are!

    As far as Valances go, I always hate it when “they” say it’s not the thing. I am a Window Treatment Specialist and do Valances all the time. I often think the “no valance” advice is given because it takes a lot more thought and talent to use them correctly. It’s so much easier to tell people to do Panels or nothing. Valance styles change (as does everything), and there are lots of lovely styles that fit with today’s decor. At least there are in my shop! 🙂 I believe there will always be a place for Valances and really, Window Treatments in general. They make such a difference in a home!

  2. I’ll have to agree with word art, “Tuscan” kitchens and popcorn ceilings needing to be done and buried. And I chuckled at the mention of sponge walls because my aunt, an avid DIYer, sponged so much of her last house and it was cringe-worthy.

    Some of the elements that I think should live on are terrazzo, millennial pink, tufted headboards, damask, wicker furniture, matching window valances, and floral everything. Each of those elements can be perfect in the right space!

  3. Sorry about the mum. It’s hard, and it will be hard.

    Regarding the terrazzo, wish I could afford it, I’d have it in every room. I would swap it for this trendy bamboo floor we have in every room. Seriously, bamboo is a grass, not a wood. Leave the grass in the yard.

    First thing I did when we bought this house, was toss the vertical blinds ; Husband didn’t even blink and asked, should he take down the wood valances too? Gotta love a man who knows a dead horse when he sees one.

  4. Saw a couple today oogling over a small breakfast-sized table and two chairs at a pricey store near here. The next town over you can get a breakfast-sized table and two chairs at a thrift store that would cost practically nothing (though you might have to add some paint and change the fabric on the seats) Someone came into the pricey store and asked if they carried cedar chests. Again they would have to head to the next town over to the reasonably priced furniture store. I like to look at the thrift stores first and just go to the pricey store for inspiration.

    1. Hi Susie,

      My step-father, coincidentally was in the furniture business. At one time, he, his father and brother owned three stores. Then, it was two, but my step-father’s store was going under. This was in the mid 70s! So, he had a close-out, liquidation sale. EVERYTHING MUST GO! And, ya know what? Suddenly, business was booming.

      Being the smart guy he was, it gave him an idea and thus, a new furniture store was born, which sold nothing but cheap crap. But, the people still flocked in to get it. I worked in that store for a time and even though I was not yet into interior design (at least consciously), I kind of had to hold my nose, lol when I walked past the furniture with the tacky fabric coverings.

      After about a decade, my stepfather realized that his heart was in another business (I talked about it here) and so, he sold the store for real, this time.

  5. Hi Laurel,

    You are hilarious. I really needed that laugh too as I am recovering from last week’s incident with a very mean client. It’s only happened twice in my whole working life but it sucks the spirit out of you when it does. I can never understand why people need to be mean spirited.

    Anyway, loved the sensible observations in this post and the exceptionally funny comments. To offer some advice to those painting paneling, if there are holes in the knots, use a good dense wood filler such as timbermate, sand well and prime all knots at least twice with BIN primer, that contains shellac. This will prevent bleed through of the knots. You definitely don’t want that happening. It is also important to prime the walls prior to painting them.

    Painted panel walls are beautiful. I would also like to comment on Linoleum – it is such a hard wearing, eco friendly product. I love it and have seen wonderful use of it. It’s easy on the feet, easy to clean and I think we should be using these sustainable products, including terrazzo- how could anyone not like terrazzo. Also sustainable. Mining and harvesting granite and marble ultimately is not sustainable, as beautiful as it is. There is an environmental cost to this. To finish, last year I painted a bedroom F&B calamine pink and painted out the dark antique furniture in simply white. So pretty. Pink forever! It will never be passé. Thanks for the entertainment and wisdom.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Oh, I am so sorry about the mean client. It is horrible when it happens. But, the only thing I can say is that it surely must suck to be them.

      Thank you too, for all of the great advice regarding the rest and especially painting paneling that’s already been stained and dealing with those horrible knots.

  6. What a wonderful post! I love the way you use humor to share opinions and knowledge. I always learn so much from you. I’m especially grateful for your tips on Roman shades. I’ve been saving up so I can have a pair made for my 112 y/o living room. They really are pricey. But now that you’ve explained it all, I understand why.
    I don’t always have time to read your posts, although I save them all, so I am late to learn of your mother’s health. I’m sending love and the warmest wishes for you and your mother. Thank goodness for the hospice team your mother has.

  7. It is clear that you do not read thoroughly, because Laurel was commenting on the ED article. Also, if you really read her, you would see that she loves classic design. That said, she always always encourages people to do what they love and can afford. It has nothing to do with ‘upper brow’ or ‘snotty.’

  8. Thanks for this fun post! Wish I could see all the examples you mentioned. Is it possible?
    Sorry for your difficult time. Do take care of you.

  9. In the early ‘70s my family moved to a rental house temporarily that came complete with pink appliances. We brought along an avocado frig😳
    My room was painted a bright pink that kept me up until it was painted. My parent’s bathroom was also pink fixtures and wallpaper of a white poodle getting ready for a date with a black. Poodle in a top hat. Also a sheepdog doorman. Still remember that house clearly🤣. Also terrazzo should never be where living beings walk much, it was in an ED where I worked and after 19 years I needed new knees.

  10. Blimey Girl, how much did you even read? You might want to read through something before commenting, because Laurel actually defended IKEA in this post.

  11. Praying for your Mom, and for you as well. Watching a loved one suffer is profoundly difficult. Take care of yourself Laurel❤️

  12. Ha! I enjoy your blog. Laurel, and I agree with you on most of these trends. Glad you pointed out Word Art. There must be a how-to guide for prospective Airbnb hosts that tells them they must have some Word Art in their rental unit– some smarmy sentimental saying about travel. Gag!

    Avocado green appliances– I agree, though my mom loved her 1970s kitchen with avocado green appliances and bright turquoise formica counters!

    However, I think REAL linoleum is a great product, environmentally sound, and more comfortable to stand on. It can be laid in big sheets ( for fewer seams), even with a decorative border inlaid. Most people confuse it with vinyl sheet flooring, which it is not. Here’s a good article: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/working-linoleum-flooring What’s worst about vinyl is when it has those little indentations in the surface. . . these collect dust, etc.
    My kitchen currently has an ALL WHITE vinyl floor (what were the former owners thinking?) and white tile counters with yucky grout. I dream of the day we can remodel!

    Best wishes with your mom.

  13. I have to say that I agree with most of what Elle Decor says. I don’t know what’s wrong with tile surfaces, though, except that they can be high maintenance, but some of them are quite beautiful. I also happen to think that outdoor white wicker furniture is really pretty if it is consistent with the rest of the overall design. I’ve never been a plaid person, but that room by Scot Meacham Wood is beautiful. And I’ve no idea what Hollywood lights are!

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, Laurel. I’ve lost both of my parents. It’s really hard. God bless her.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you so much and I’m so sorry for your loss. Hollywood kind of like the lights that are in dressing rooms in theaters with stage productions for putting on make-up.

  14. Though I’m not a fan of glass block window, either, my house has two rooms with it that were there when we moved in 37 years ago. They’re both big windows and do let in a ton of light. They have both kind of grown on me, especially the one in the kitchen. When we remodeled, I put my stove in front of it as it comes down to the countertop. I have light all day without having to look at a garbage can. It’s also much easier to clean than the painted wall around it is.Plus, it would have been really expensive to replace either of them

    1. Hi Mary,

      I hear you so well. I have a lot of things in my apartment that I never would’ve put in. They’re not ideal, but for now, that’s the way it is and it’s all fine. While I love beautiful things and making this world more attractive, the most important thing are the people in it. Things are not really that important; they are replaceable. People can’t be replaced.

      I was talking to a friend earlier today about this very thing. It seems that some people treat objects and people in exactly the same manner. And, that’s a very sad situation that my friend and I concurred on.

      So, when I write about something and say it’s no good, it’s from a place of idealism. But, of course, it isn’t really realistic. It sounds like you’ve come up with a creative and beautiful solution for your glass block.

  15. Just when I think you cannot come up with another entertaining blog about decorating, you prove me wrong. Should I worry about my pine tester bed from Ethan Allan circa 1989 that I surrounded with antique pine chests and side tables (and a silk pleated bed skirt which is holding up well)? You make me smile,and laugh and that is what life and friendship is all about. God Bless you during this time of transistion with your Mom.

  16. Hello Laurel, The best idea is not to decorate by accepting or rejecting one item at a time, but rather to form a plan that coordinates your interests, life, and existing space, and then execute it well or get good advice. However, if you have bonded to, say, avocado green or certain dusty pastels in a formative stage, you might consider moving on.

  17. Hi Laurel,
    Thanks for the chuckles today. I imagine a lot of these ideas became trends because that’s what was being sold at the time. Or was it being sold because that’s what was being purchased? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
    But whatever, at the time we all thought we were being stylish. I’m sure in 50 years they’ll be laughing at what we consider stylish now.

    1. Hi Mary,

      No doubt some of today’s trends will be fodder for our descendants to point and laugh…

      Oh, remember when the appliances used to be in plain view? Don’t know how my grandparents lived like that! haha

  18. I’m really sorry to hear about your dear mother, my greatest sympathy goes to you and your family. I am also truly honored to have a video featured on the Great Laurel Bern’s blog! Thank you for your kind words, I’m slowly learning the amazing science behind your profession and it’s been an amazing journey! Thank you!

    1. Oh, hi Sean! Master Carpenter! I really liked that video. And, terrific, I see that if folks click on your name, it’ll take them to your youtube channel. I’ll have to check it out too. Wishing you every success!

  19. Fantastic post. You always make me laugh. I agreed with most of them, but when I saw terrazzo my heart stopped. I have loved terrazzo since I was in grade school. I wish I could afford to have the entire apartment done with poured terrazzo.
    Best wishes to you – I’m very sorry about your mother. So glad she has good caregivers.

    1. Thanks so much Melody!

      Yeah… Whoever wrote that should be horsewhipped for poo-pooing terrazzo. And while they’re ripping out the “outdated” terrazzo, they should tear down the Parthenon and the Colosseum in Rome. They’ve had their day too. (eyes rolling)

  20. Hi Laurel! I love reading your posts. I’m curious to know your thoughts about painting the wood paneling–I see lots of creams, whites, and khakis/oatmeal shades covering the wood panels…do you think those are the only choices for those kinds of walls?

    1. Hi Charlotte,

      No, not at all. You could paint them red or blue or green, too. It just depends what else is going on. I actually live in a pretty conservative area. Not all clients but many just want things a certain way and won’t deviate from that.

  21. Interesting list and analysis. I bought a 1955 house with 3 bathrooms had been updated with Hollywood lights. I removed 2 out of 3 but the third is quite charming after I switched to frosted 3000K LED bulbs. Also, I think the bad rap on harvest gold, avocado green & even brown kitchen appliances is more about the whole picture including stained oak cabinets. Would love to see some kitchens with real retro colored appliances (not just the retro styles) and white or complementary colors.

    1. Hi Terri,

      I’m not sure I’m understanding the last line. Do you mean authentic retro fridges from the 50s? Some of the styles are either the same or almost the same. But the old fridges are not energy efficient and they need to be defrosted. No thank you!

  22. No matter how much something seems “over” and “tired” in design, you know it will make a comeback in 20 years or so and be hip again. I personally am not a fan of mid-century modern either, but I don’t care if other people are. Same for these other trends – also, not everyone can afford to redo popcorn ceilings, bathroom lighting, etc., just because it no longer trends. As for granite countertops – are we really going to throw them into dumpsters because people have moved on to a new look? Also, tile countertops are chic again particularly cement or encaustic tile that looks Moroccan. I think it’s interesting that shelter magazines always say to find your own personal style, but then poke fun at people whose style seems outdated to the publication. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family regarding your mother.

    1. Hi Terri,

      Some interesting points, particularly about the magazines sometimes contradicting themselves.

      I’ve written about popcorn ceilings before and oftentimes, it’s just a matter of nailing up some 1/4″ sheetrock, taping it and of course, prime and paint and voila, it’s fixed. I don’t think it’s a super-expensive thing to do. Sometimes it can also be skim coated if it’s not too pronounced.

  23. I was horrified to see Tiffany lamps on this list haha! I have about 5 in my house, 3 unmatching (but complimentary) floor lamps and 2 table lamps between my entry and living room and I love them. And I live in suburbia NOT a victorian or arts and crafts home, although I’ve adopted a somewhat international style with inherited art and furniture (e.g. oriental screens and furniture, wood carvings from South America, etc.) Alas, even though I am a millenial I am outdated!! I will try not to bring anymore home 😉

    1. Desiree,

      I’m sure that your home is incredibly charming! Not to worry. It really sounds it. And, I stand corrected. You don’t have to have a Victorian home. And, let’s here it for the millennials who are, IMO the coolest generation!

  24. What a fun list, that was great! 21. We have accidental hollywood lights in the bathroom, i don’t remember how it got there. It is VERY bright, but at least I have a chance at seeing a chin hair before going out into the sun for real. 7. love millenial pink, 16. I knew! there was a way to do borders hahha, 31. Used to babysit for a lady that had a sponge dining room. It was brightest orange over white, & I really liked it back in the 90s. I still think of it. They never had any light bulbs, but the house looked great! 35. Awwww fake fruit, reminds me of my grandmother’s house. The dining room they only used for Thanksgiving, when I had to eat in the kitchen anyway as a kid. Best of luck to you, your family & Mom!

  25. Hi Laurel,

    I really enjoyed this post, and I, too, think terrazzo, linoleum, and damask can be great! I love my 20-year-old celery green/ivory damask sofas. While I think they may be a bit larger than you would approve, they look similar to some you’ve shown. I may have them re-worked at some point, per one of your very helpful posts about couches. Maybe.

    I just ordered a sisal/chenille rug through your site from Pottery Barn, because I was breaking the ‘too small rug’ rule. I now start every sentence to my husband with, “Laurel says…” and he’s okay with it!

    Take care,


  26. I agree with your comments but the one that made me laugh out loud…”everyone knows this is what happens when people do LSD and ludes and then go to their 9-5 designing kitchen appliances.”

    Your mom is in great hands. Both of my parents were on hospice care at the end of their long lives and I spent several years as a hospice volunteer. What a wonderful service they provide!!

  27. Laurel,
    I look anticipate your posts for the excellent design sensibility but equally for your humor which never fails to brighten my day. You’re brave to keep it up in light of your mother’s ill health. All of us who have lost their mothers, share your pain. I will pray for comfort for you both in this very difficult time.

    1. Hi Christine,

      My mom would not want me to stop doing what I’m doing. Her mind may have lost the ability to comprehend, but her spirit and soul understand completely what’s driving me and she’s grateful and very proud of me, too.

      For most of my life whenever I had a problem, she was my #1 go-to. And even when her memory became shot and her judgment was already quite impaired, the part of her brain– the part she used to help her therapy clients remained intact.

      It was uncanny. I remember remarking to my sister one day about six years ago that I had been talking to mom about my problems and it was like the mom from 15 years ago. She knew just what to say to make me feel better. But, not long after, that part too, left her.

      And so, I’ve been left to figure it all out for myself. But, it’s okay. I already know exactly what she would say, if she could.

  28. Hey Guys! Lots of comments today which I love. But, I’m going to go and take a ballet class, lest I turn into a bowl of jello.

    I’ll moderate and publish the rest, this afternoon. xo ~ Laurel

  29. vertical blinds–good for detecting earthquakes (like when I was living in San Diego)
    thematic decor–yeah, not good. A few nautical touches, good. Over the top thematic, bad.
    tablecloth-I have a croqueted tablecloth made by my grandmother.

  30. Laurel, a little late to the party but I’m so sorry about your mom. Dementia is such an ugly thief of human relationships and dignity. My mom went through the same and I was her caregiver. I am thankful for lovely memories with her and it sounds like you have the same. Sending hugs and prayers as you go through this difficult time.

  31. P.S. my vote for a trend I hope never comes back….. »Tuscan » kitchens and maybe those vertical blinds too 😉

  32. This was a fun post Laurel and your takes of course are spot on. Damask an outdated trend?! Are they kidding? Never !!
    I agree with you about the pine furniture too, sometimes a piece can be quite nice.

  33. I find you’re comments on IKEA rather snobbish, in fact a lot of you’re comments seem, to be “upper brow”. The comment “throw away furniture” as if their designs are complete rubbish and have no merit in your uppity little world. I, like a lot of folks love traditional furniture with a mix of eclectic and quaint pieces I have found while traveling. I also love to throw in some modern pieces from stores like IKEA who come up with some very well thought out beautiful and functional designs. I shall no longer subscribe to this site as over a period of time it’s obvious you only cater to a certain kind of snotty decor mindset, that has nothing to do with “taste”.

    1. Not at all! I LOVE IKEA!!! I am commenting on ED’s commentary. THEY are the ones who are talking about “throw away furniture,” not me. I am all about getting whatever you can afford and making it work. And, that room with its simplicity really works for me.


      I am only leaving this in so that people can see that I do receive abusive comments; although, I rarely publish them. This is why you’ll see the notes once or twice a month to “be nice.” I probably shouldn’t bother because the people that feel the need to shit all over me, aren’t reading that anyway.

  34. Just wanted to let you know that my daughter insisted that she did not want a standard wood dresser with drawers for her teenage bedroom, about 4 years ago. So we ended up with a rectangular Kallax console from Ikea that you can put Ikea casters on (they sold them there) with plastic bins for the drawers. The style is very similar to the coffee table you showed above. Can’t say that she always used the bins, or that she would have used the drawers, and maybe we would have been better off putting a giant box on wheels for all the clothes to be dumped in!
    P.S. Sorry to hear about your mother–treasure the good memories. Prayers for your sister, too.

  35. I agree with you on most everything. Some are definitely no’s, but some are more about what you choose and how you apply it to an overall room. I do have a trick for faux fruit… I have a seagrass bowl on my island. It is quite large and took me two bags of green apples to fill regularly. I would rotate one bag in at a time, moving the “old” ones to the bottom, over and over. I found some fake ones at Target, that look pretty real. I put those in the bottom of the bowl, then throw a bag of real ones on top. The two just sort of blend, and it is less work and money!

    1. Hi Amy,

      I love your fruit bowl trick! And, sorry that some of the comments are out of order because I got behind today and missed some that came in earlier. But, I’m getting to them now.

  36. Quite a mixed bag of trends from Elle Decor-some very old and some new but as they may be outdated or out of fashion, do we really hope that all will never return again?

    I like terrazzo floors and prefer them to the cement/concrete floors of the late 90’s. They’re still popular here in Europe and terrazzo tiles are still as popular as encaustic and Moroccan.

    Things like paint colors (millennial pink, charcoal grey), valances, floral fabric, plaid, and pine furniture may tired and out of fashion but I would look forward to seeing them again reimagined.

    1. Hi Susan,

      I don’t know who writes these things. It’s probably a copywriter with little or maybe even no interior design experience whatsoever. So, they don’t understand the history, say of the color pink, as one example. They most likely haven’t heard of India Hicks, Ruthie Sommers, Stephen Schubel, or Steven Gambrel… (and more!)

      These are all A-list designers who I know have used pink and some of them prolifically. All the copywriters know, or are assuming, rather, is someone deemed it to be “millennial pink.” And, that must be because it ONLY became popular with people who were born between 1981-1996.

      But, that is not true that it ONLY became popular with that generation and ONLY for a finite period of time which is over.

      And yet, they continue to publish erroneous information which only serves to perpetuate it further. And then some copywriter, writing for another online publication sees the ED article and uses that information for their article.

      I just feel if people are going to write about a topic, they should know what they are talking about? I love the articles when they have expert designers discussing these things.

  37. This is a great reference post. We are designing our first home and we’ve LOVED absorbing information from you’re blog. Consequently we are frequently asked questions about where we get our decorating advice. It usually sparks a conversation about trends vs classics and I can’t help getting into it with them…thanks to you Laurel! Whenever they say something that’s a classic is just a trend I started using the phrase…trending classic…then I point them in your direction for the real education. Cleaning up the world one trend follower at a time! And I’m so sorry about your sweet mother. My grandmother helped raise me and she just ended her tenth year of dealing with dementia. She was so ready…but I wasn’t. Mother figures are precious.

  38. WOW, divine Miss L, lots of work on your part, but my take away was, “Good design is never a trend and is always in style.” A great design plan can make all the difference in using each element with some measure of success. BUT without a doubt, popcorn ceilings are the worst things ever. Never seen one that didn’t make me cringe.

  39. Laurel, I’m so glad you had those good days. My dad passed away six years ago from dementia and as tough as the last week was, I remember vividly a wonderful day toward the end that was filled with his friends, much laughter, and Kiri Te Kanawa’s “Un Bel Di Vedremo”. It’s a forever gift.

    Much love,

    Deb Coons

  40. Sponged Walls, Floral Everything and Popcorn Ceilings are the worst I think as I feel most everything else can be used in moderation or a variation of it can be used tastefully

  41. You have just catalogued my entire life! Had to chuckle at the doilies. Not only did I have them and use them, I MADE them! What was I thinking? However, I have seen the light and your wonderful website has guided me out of the woods.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I think that’s incredibly charming that you made your own doilies. Honestly, I’m not all hung up on people’s homes looking like the cover of House Beautiful. Some of the rooms they show in mags are so over-done, anyway. Not all, of course. The current issue of Traditional Home is a beautiful issue on the whole. And, it features a gorgeous spread about a place Ray Booth (Bobby McAlpine associate)

  42. I agree, Word Art must die. But what will happen to the Chip and Joanna Gaines empire? Every episode has her welding some insipid phrase out of rusty piece of farm equipment and nailing it to a wall. TODAY IS A DAY FOR TODAY.


  43. I pretty much agree with your comments rather than theirs, Laurel. But some of their example photos show the worst possible type when the thing itself can work done in the right way and in the right context.
    Example: I wouldn’t describe their example (3) as wood panelling. It’s wood cladding, not quite the same. Re your DIY idea: no, sanding and filling won’t do the trick. What will is treating the knots to eliminate bleed-through, then painting them in a wood tone to match the rest before going on to any final treatment.
    I won’t go on, but their pink isn’t done as well as your example — it’s not pink per se that’s the problem. I would say ditto with sponging: it depends how it’s done. Theirs has too much contrast, but sponging can look good done in monochrome with small variations of intensity of hue, especially when your walls are uneven.
    I’m surprised at their suggestion of replacing lace tablecloths with brightly coloured modern ones — how do you examine your wine against a coloured cloth? White lace over a white cloth can be very pretty.
    And finally, continued thoughts and best wishes for you at this difficult time with your mother’s decline: even at a distance, or perhaps especially at a distance, it’s hard.

    1. Hi Gilly,

      You bring up such a great point and it only serves to show what Neanderthals us Americans can be. We DO call that stuff “paneling.” And, I have always struggled with it because of what real paneling is! So, yes, cladding is a much better word. Wood cladding, it is! But, people would look at me a little strangely, perhaps. But, they do anyway! hahahahaha!

  44. Enjoyed this very much and you of course hit the nail on the head with your insights and humor. I do disagree with the take on linoleum. Linoleum is an old material that flooring designers are updating with contemporary patterns and colors. It a good choice if you want green/environmentally sound materials. I wonder if Elle was referring to sheet or tile vinyl, (gross) because linoleum hasn’t been commonly used since the 1950s and their selections start with the 70s. Linoleum isn’t as beautiful as the gorgeous wood floors in the kitchens you feature, not does it have the application range and style of tile. But it doesn’t deserve to be confused with vinyl! Thanks as always for your blog.

  45. I am thinking about your mom. It’s very hard I’m sure. Take care.
    I enjoy your blog and you were a big help when I Re-did my whole condo.

    My only thought on outdated is that the new long shag may be fun for my bedroom. White shag with dark wood floor. haven’t decorated yet though.

  46. Valences look outdated on 8′ ceilings but they love amazing on higher ceilings. Look at India Hicks drawing room again, with the 14′ ceiling, and try to visualize it without that romantic sweep of the curtain valence. Which ties back to the romantic paintings.
    In the green room, those walls are 13′ high with another foot in the ceiling box. Without the valence that room would look colder. I sincerely believe the English country manor look is coming back in, with print drapes matching furniture for a very cozy look.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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