AD’s DIY Design Trends for 2024 Home Renovations!

Hi Everyone,

We’re (mostly) taking a break from the renovation today to discuss an article I found in Architectural Digest concerning the top seven DIY design trends for 2024 that are dominating home renovations.

The subtitle is: Contractors, builders, and designers predict a return to warm, organic interiors.

Okay, this is not the first time I’ve pulled apart examined a magazine’s efforts to help the public understand what they should be focusing on in their homes. That is if they want to be an accepted member of society and not ostracized because of a total cluelessness about the latest decorating trends.


Not surprisingly, DIY is always a real attention grabber.


You mean, *I* can do this because it’s easy? Hot Diggity dog! I won’t have to deal with a contractor who doesn’t return my phone calls, not to mention shell out half my life savings to have him do so.

Right off the bat, one of the issues is that they’re making these trends specific to only one year.

They are doing so because it’s just talk and talk that sells magazines and gets people to subscribe to their online articles. It’s how they make money.

In all fairness, and so as not to be accused of hypocrisy, I’m no different. But still, I’m hoping you’ll stay, so I’ve made it my mission to always tell it to you straight, no matter what.


However, as anyone who’s read my blog for over six months knows, I couldn’t care less about design trends.


Look how long it’s taken me to plan AND have the plans executed. If I had gone by the design trends for 2021, I’d already be woefully out of date.

But, I don’t care. I don’t care because

I know what I love (which is a lot of things!)
This is all wildly expensive, and I am unlikely to change any of it soon, if ever.

So, let’s begin with number one of the seven design trends for 2024 that Architectural Digest wants us to know about.


Please follow along with the article by going here to read it.


Incidentally, your link looks like this (below):

My link looks like this: It’an image of the link, and therefore doesn’t work.)


That endless stream of numbers is code for:



Okay, let’s dive into the design trends for 2024 that, according to Architectural Digest, are dominating home renovations.


1. A return to wood cabinets


Oh dear, me. They mean stained wood as opposed to painted wood. Right? I mean, most cabinetry is made from wood. Sure, stained wood is brown, and brown is a warm color. However, just because one uses wood for their cabinets doesn’t mean their kitchen will be warm, cozy, and inviting.

Sure, go ahead. Drop 60k for wood-stained cabinets, then put in a couple dozen bright white LED recessed ceiling lights. I guarantee it’s going to look awful. And, what about your wall color, tiles, countertops, and floors? Wood stains are not created in isolation. To create that warmth, there needs to be a balance that’s much more than just getting some stained wood cabinets because there’s a trend toward organic materials.


By the way, they’ve been saying there’s an organic materials trend every year for at least the last decade and maybe longer.


Please check out this post to read about some paint colors that look fabulous with stained wood.

Many of you may recall in January 2023, I tackled (virtually), a kitchen off of a family room that was full of wood cabinetry. The kitchen didn’t feel particularly warm. It felt awfully heavy and unwelcoming. The culprits were largely lighting and wall colors. I have to say I loved how the virtual design turned out.


Number 2 on this list is:


Old money upgrades.


The focus here is on moldings or mouldings if you’re English or an American who learned that spelling in design school.

You guys already know that applying wall mouldings is not a trend. This is standard operating procedure for at least 80% of all homes, excluding the entire western third of the USA.

But, the question is: Can you do this yourself?


Is it going to look as good as when a professional carpenter does it, or at least someone with a lot of experience?

It most likely won’t.

While you can get ready-made panels that get stuck on the wall, sometimes by peeling off a backing, they usually aren’t customized to your wall. And that’s just the panels. Crown moulding is much trickier.

However, I’m including a mini widget below of sources where you can put up your own panel moulding yourself. (excluding stairs.)



3. Faux built-ins


This is a great idea where one takes a cheap piece of furniture and then gives it the appearance of being built-in.


Horrible cabinet casing

In fact, I’m hoping to do this with the crappy louvered cabinet in my vestibule. However, I’m not doing the work. This is not something a novice could do easily.


4. Colorful tile work


My response can best be expressed with music.

(Please click the arrow in the middle of the screen for a 16-second clip. Or, if you’d like to listen to the entire song, watch it on YouTube)


YouTube video

5. Anything but drywall


This is like saying, “anything but skin.” Maybe they meant plain drywall because, of course, there are walls. This one includes mouldings, MURALS, and paneling. Again, these are not trends. However, Justina Blakeney says that wallpaper BORDERS are making a comeback.

Please, this can’t be true. I’ve met Justina a few times and heard her speak, and she’s fantastic. I am not saying, never, but in general, most wallpaper borders are pretty tacky and dated-looking.


6. Mudroom-laundry room combos



My garden level entry Ananbo India
Do you mean something like this?


And, the last of the DIY design trends for 2024 is:



Fluted everything.


Han Xizai Evening Banquet by Gu Hong Zhong

Han Xizai Evening Banquet by Gu Hong Zhong

Fluting, indeed!

fireplace with black marble surround + anglo-indian sconce
By the way. Eric from Frangioso Marble in Braintree, MA, found me a beautiful black marble! More about that soon! However, if you missed this, please read about it, here.


my wainscoting 1.8.2024


refreshed door casing

I added none of this fluting. It is all from the 19th century, but in the case of the kitchen, trimmed to fit.

However, fluting suits my 19th-century home. It might or might not suit you. You might not care for fluting.

You don’t have to have a mural or colorful tile you’ll hate.

The next time someone says “blinding white” or “safe subway tile” or something like that, I’m going to mentally punch them.



If you want to stay safe, go with what you love.

I mean, really love. It’s the thing that takes your breath away. Of course, not everything will, but if it doesn’t, I wouldn’t put it in my home just because someone else says it’s a good idea. And that includes me.



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18 Responses

  1. Addendum to previous post: the painting was in the highlighted part of the article labeled ‘Old Money’

  2. Whoa! My husband, accomplished painter/artist Larry Dodd Wheeler, did the painting of the jockey in green and yellow silks over the mantel in the Polo Bar photograph in the AD article! I was reading and scrolling, looking forward to getting back to your blog, Dear Laurel, when, BAM!, in my face, was his painting! Rather like seeing a photo of your child in an unexpected place… but delighted that it came to me via AD, through your blog!

    Larry is mostly known for his work in Equine circles, his paintings featured in several books on Equine fashion/design in the homes of people who ride to hounds or who are trainers or owners of thoroughbred horses.

    I’m in love with your hard work and dedication to keeping your renovation aesthetic to high standards of authenticity and tradition!

  3. Stains are timeless? Golden oak? You can have a beautiful home without breaking the bank, but you have to work with what you have, change what you can afford to change and then love it! The wallpapering so you look better on the Zoom call killed me. Do what YOU love!

  4. Nancy
    The lady who moved from Deep South to PNW
    contact Mariann Simon. Her office is in Madison Park in Seattle. She’s a wonderful interior designer in Seattle does traditional design, she even bought a home for herself in Charleston remodeled it to respect classic architecture. Go check her out in Instagram. She’s done homes in my old neighborhood Magnolia in Seattle.
    As a Seattle native, there are wonderful classic traditional designers especially catering to Queen Anne, Magnolia, Capitol Hill, Laurelhurst.

  5. Hi Laurel,
    I’ve painted my exterior Hale Navy with White Dove trim and shutters. What do you think about either Adobe Orange or Raspberry Blush as a front door color? I live in Florida and I am south facing. My front door is mostly glass. Any advice or other color suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  6. My dilemma is my entire adult life I have lived in small 1900-1940s homes in the Deep South . Now we have retired to a large modernish house in the PNW and remodeling it. I need decorative help and not designer help. There’s a big difference. No one wants to help with colors and finishes. I can’t pick what I love because it’ll look strange here. Big open spaces have to be same same overall. So, basically, I’m scared of my house.

  7. Ah yes, “trends”. As identified in the AD article as somehow originating or proven to exist by that well regarded source and arbiter of anything contemporary and relevant, Tik Tok. The subject does make great click bait and surely generates plenty of subsctibers but it always seems to me that people who follow trends because they are a trend never seem content. I think you’ve got it right Laurel, take time to identify what you like, go for it, cherish it forever and leave trends for those who don’t know what they want.

  8. Great post -and I got 2 gems that I can use elsewhere!!
    The shut-up song (LOVE it!!) and the comment from Rachel – “Timeless “You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”.
    If I had a nickel for every time I have seem the word “TIMELESS” on a blog –I’d have a lot of nickels 😉

  9. Hi Laurel,
    I always fall for the click bait & read articles about trends. Mostly for the chuckle. I don’t take any of it seriously. I think one’s designs should be in step with the design of the home. And folks should just do what they love. If for no other reason than that they’re more likely to love their home. And not want to rip out everything a few years later.
    I follow some designers on Instagram that have done stained cabinets in older homes. They were lovely & fit the style of the home.

  10. glad stained wood cabinets are coming back because that’s what came in my condo and I don’t have the money to change them (I prefer painted cabinets). I actually like wallpaper but again due to financial reasons, I’m currently staying with the white painted walls that came with my condo.

  11. My last home was built in 1897 – lots of fluting on door frames. My current house was built in 1922, and is an Arts and Crafts home. No fluting. And I won’t be adding any.

    Wallpaper borders? Gack!

  12. I cannot. believe. the return to stained wood cabinets. The evidence of how badly this comes out in an average home is all over every kitchen design blog. The beautiful inspirations of stained wood are breathtaking–with a price tag to match, I’m sure! Nothing like what a DIYer (or even homeowner with a contractor) is going to install. As soon as you put stained wood cabinets in a home with all painted white doors and trim, you’ve made a choice out of step with the character of the home. From there, you can pull together a nice look only with serious design chops, figuring out a way to incorporate the white from the rest of the house into the stained wood design. It’s like choosing to wear a really eclectic outfit with contrasting styles and materials. You need to be very deliberate to make it look good.

    “Stains are timeless,” says the VP of a large homebuilder in the AD article. Insert eyeroll. That’s why we have spent twenty years learning that the popular cabinet stain dates a kitchen to the decade of install? I’ve decided that the current trend IS the obsession with “timeless.” Maybe the quest for timeless should go away, and people should instead seek to install finishes in step with the time period when their home was built.

    Timeless. “You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  13. Your entire blog post in a nutshell Is summed up in the last paragraph! (and I totally agree with you!)
    Do what you love, love what you do 😉

  14. love the shut up song

    wallpaper borders?? are they insane??

    home design trends are even worse for the planet than fast fashion trends

    haven’t mudroom/laundry rooms been standard for decades and decades? I really wish I could turn my garage laundry area into a mudroom/laundry room with heat. even here in CA, the garage is dreary and cold in the winter.

    and even published writers don’t seem to know English vocabulary and grammar anymore. even in the NYTimes which once taught me a lot about writing more than half a century ago.

    I am extra cranky this week. don’t mind me.

  15. Laurel, this is why I stopped subscribing to AD and a few other mags – and now follow you. I confess that I had some of these decorating trends in my home 20 or 25 years ago. They were bad then and have not gotten any better. However I do like fluting. And AD can go pound sand – white kitchens and subway tiles are classic and always in style. By the way what is the latest with your railing?

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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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