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7 Design Choices That Can Make Your Home Look Dated

These styles could be holding your home back.

Good home decor is subjective—and pinpointing "outdated" interior design isn't as easy as pointing to an old piece of furniture or decor. For example, your mom's old lamp from the 50s that you used to hate? Well, we call that mid-century modern now, and, in the right context, it could be the decor item that makes a room look cool and unique. Plus, with a rising interest in vintage furniture, "dated" pieces are in high demand—and they can help you add more charm and style to your home.

However, there are certain design choices—like following trends too closely or furnishing your entire home with matching sets—that can make a home feel unintentionally dated. Below, design experts explain which styling moves can keep your home looking stunted in the past—and how to opt for more timeless design.


Trend Traps

In order to keep your home tasteful in any decade, avoid trend traps, aka ultra-trendy home decor that’ll be outdated in just a few short months. “The biggest setback to constantly pursuing trendy home decor is it hits hardest in your pocket book,” says Ventura-based interior designer Megan Paulson, founder and principal designer at 22 Design House. “Home decor trends, now more than ever, are constantly evolving and changing—from colors, to finishes, to shapes and sizes. It’s best to stick with what you love and collect those pieces and items that you’ll treasure for a long time.”

Instead of trying to keep up with all the newest trends, focus on “curating a timeless and personalized environment,” says Atlanta-based interior designer Jasmine Crockett, founder & CEO of JoyMeetsHome. “The trendy approach often neglects the essential elements of functionality, comfort, and the homeowner's unique personality, making the design appear superficial and short-lived. The key is to strike a balance between having timeless elements and incorporating trends in a way that can be easily updated as styles evolve.”

Discontinuous Decor

If there’s one thing we love, oh boy is it color. And while bold shades and hues can become a lasting design choice in your home, it’s important to make sure that everything flows just right. “As a designer, a home feels dated to me when there's a lack of cohesive design throughout the space, resulting in a mismatched and disjointed feel,” says Crockett. To avoid a disconnected and dated home, find a color palette that you can use throughout the entire house.

Oak Furnishings

Though the 20th century favored a bevy of wood-centered interior design trends, this fad doesn't feel quite modern enough for your home today. “1980’s oak and country pine pieces came in everything," Paulson says. "Think dining room tables, hutches, hall trees, secretary desks, cabinets, bookcases, dressers etc. When you have these pieces repeated throughout your home or other matchy-matchy furniture, like all dark espresso furnishings for example, it screams yesteryears.”

Themed Bedrooms

While we can totally agree that themed bedrooms are without a doubt cute to boot, they don’t necessarily age well. “Overly themed or overly coordinated bedrooms can look outdated as design preferences change,” says Crockett. Extravagantly themed decor, like nautical wallpaper and heavy use of floral patterns can quickly date a space, she says. Rather, implement low-commitment elements of your fav themes to ensure that your space is both fun and fresh. For example, if you’re as obsessed with “mermaidcore” as we are, try opting for a couple accent pieces, like a pearlescent lamp or a aqua blue side table, rather than making over your entire space with ocean-themed decor.

Too Much Texture

Playing with textures is a great way to add dimension to any space. However, some elements just aren’t current enough for the here and now. According to Paulson, these include popcorn ceilings, heavily textured walls, dark wood paneling, and tiled countertops. “These elements can easily give a space an old-fashioned and outdated appearance,” says Crockett. For a modern approach, stick to sleek stones and materials, such as marble and concrete, for more chic and natural-looking texture.

Matching Furniture Sets

Matching furniture sets are an easy and efficient way to decorate any space, but their rigid uniformity could be holding your home back (in time, that is). “Matching furniture sets can give a room a predictable and outdated appearance,” says Crockett. Instead, mix up the shapes and textures of your furniture pieces so that you can avoid any excessive similarities.

Flamboyant Flooring

Flooring is an incredibly important aspect of any room—and not just because you need it to walk around. Because flooring reflects or absorbs light, which means it often dictates how bright or moody a room feels, choosing the right option can make or break a space. According to Paulson, it’s best to ditch yellow-gold hardwood floors, carpet throughout the home, and linoleum and vinyl flooring. Instead, go for lighter, brighter wood and ceramic tiling.



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