Whether you’re relying on an outdated home décor trend or leaning too far into a current one, these errors might be bringing down your home’s aesthetic.
Interior design is forever in flux. One day white kitchens and rattan furniture are all the rage, and the next, we’re embracing warm tones and plusher, more comforting textures. If you’re not paying attention to these tiny tweaks made over the years, your home may not evolve the way you want it to.
If it’s been a while since you last gave your home a refresh, don’t fret: Even the smallest details and changes have impact. In other words, you don’t need to jump into an expensive and laborious renovation (or order a bunch of new furniture) to make that refresh happen.
In fact, it’s probably more helpful to understand the mistakes you might be making so you can course-correct—and who better to ask for insights on outdated home décor trends and styling faux pas and techniques than interior designers who navigate these decisions day in and day out? From buying too many fast finds to pushing furniture against the wall, here’s what they say to stop doing— and what to start trying, instead.
Sticking to Just One Design Era or Style
Boho, shabby-chic, or mid-century pieces aren’t entirely out, per se—but your home shouldn’t feel one-note. Rigidly sticking to a singular design era, movement, or style can ultimately make your home feel too thematic, says Julie Brayton the principal designer at Brayton Exteriors.
Having a few pieces that speak to these styles is great, but it’s important to branch out to create visual interest. “Mix in some great finds from vintage shops or heirlooms, swap on-the-nose pillows with an irreverent print that makes sense in the room but adds interest and depth, and switch pieces around to create less of a themed environment—which can feel really stale,” Brayton says.
Pushing Furniture Up Against Walls
Placing furniture along walls is a default move for many—and it has been for years—especially since it might feel like it makes the space appear larger. However, using your walls as the anchor point for furniture ends up looking unplanned and too spread out. Plus, it’s not always conducive to conversation. “Pulling furniture into the room allows for a more intimate and conversational furniture plan,” Brayton says. “Don’t be afraid of arranging your furniture pieces close to each other, within reason.” Then, if you have the space, you can place a console or cabinet along the perimeter of the room to create more storage and aesthetic interest.
Using White-Washed Wood
Making everything light, bright, and white—including your home’s wood—was a trend that lasted many years, but it’s officially time to mix things up. “We love seeing depth coming back to wood stains and wood tones in all things interiors, from furniture legs to wood flooring,” says Heather Fujikawa, co-owner and principal designer at House Sprucing. “A good mix of wood stains helps to bring a layered dimension and makes it feel current, yet long lasting all at the same time.”
She suggests mixing two to three wood stains in a home for a layered look, which helps bring in dimension—something white-washed wood just can’t do (especially in a neutral-heavy space).
Maximalist design is trending , but today’s iteration takes a more thoughtful, personalized approach. Having too many little objects on tables or shelves can look busy, distracting, and disorganized, says Brayton. Instead, curate your tchotchkes, keeping the new cluster core trend in mind.
Interior designer Kara Childress agrees. “My design philosophy centers on crafting a home that reflects my clients’ interests, pastimes, and way of life,” she says. “Clustercore involves seamlessly integrating art, antiques, and personalized objects to curate authentic and effortless moments throughout a home.”
Filling Up Your Home With Fast Finds
Fast finds are officially an interior designer faux pas. “We all want to feel good about our homes, and sometimes we buy furniture and accessories spontaneously or quickly,” says Ami McKay, president and principal designer of PURE Design. “Hasty decisions often end up not working in your space or withstanding the test of time.”
In other words, we end up collecting a bunch of stuff for the sake of having stuff. This can often lead to a dated, stale, and inauthentic feel. We can fix this by putting a bit more time into our buying choices. “Spend more energy looking for items you love,” says McKay. “Find inspiration through research and visiting shops to see the piece in person if you can. Invest in homewares, either new or vintage, that you love so much, you can see yourself living with them for years to come.”
Taking Minimalism Too Far
Maximalism might not be for you, but make sure you’re not swinging too far in the other direction—an all-white, overly minimalist space is often a cold one. Leaning into warmth, depth, layers, and visual interest is a better way to go, even when you’re working with neutrals, says McKay. To be clear: You don’t have to give up the streamlined aesthetic you love, but you should try to make your space more inviting. Consider a texture change if you’re still loving your cream-colored space: “A simple way to freshen up white walls is to incorporate gentle texture with a light lime wash or plaster on the walls and ceilings,” says McKay.
Looking for some additional ways to breathe new style into your minimalist space? Try adding natural organic lighting (warm bulbs only!), vintage pottery with striking oversized branches, or flowing open-weave drapery. Brayton is also a big fan of fresh floral arrangements in place of knick-knacks. “Adding layers for warmth and texture creates depth when styling—and gives a whole new life to a clean and minimal environment,” says McKay.
Buying Matching Furniture Sets
Many of us have walked into a big-box furniture store and walked out with a brand new matching set. This might work sometimes, but in most scenarios, the result is too uniform and expected, says Fujikawa. “Design trends right now are all about organic living and making things feel beautiful and livable all at the same time,” she says. “You can still match a set of something—like two white sofas in the same silhouette or two occasional chairs—but shake it up by adding in a unique coffee table with different legs and wood stains.” Do so, and you’ll be well on your way to an intentional design scheme that feels fresh—and stays that way for decades.