“Dated” Home Designs that People Shouldn’t Throw Out the Window Just Yet

Lindsey - December 4, 2023
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In the ever-changing world of home design, trends come and go. However, some styles, considered “dated” by traditional standards, have not only stood the test of time but have become timeless classics that still captivate homeowners. From the cozy mid-century modern style to the comforting vibes of vintage and antique furnishings, these design choices prove that true elegance never goes out of fashion. In homes that embrace them, these “dated” home designs not only survive but thrive, bringing character, history, and a comforting sense of home to spaces. As we journey through the past, we uncover the secrets behind the enduring allure of designs that continue to win the hearts of homeowners.

Photo: Elle Decor

Sliding Barn Doors

Once popular for their rustic charm, sliding barn doors may be considered overused and cliché in certain design circles. The perceived lack of security and farmhouse feel aren’t for every home. Sliding barn doors do, however, offer practical space-saving solutions and contribute a touch of woody warmth, making them a functional and visually appealing choice for many homeowners. Plus, installation may be cheaper and more accessible than other door types. So don’t be scared that this is one of those dated home designs you added to your home too quickly.

Photo: Emma Jane Palin

Gallery Walls

Naysayers might think gallery walls are too busy or predictable. The excess of framed artwork could overwhelm some spaces, too. But a well-curated gallery wall expresses personal style in droves, showcasing memories and art. Its adaptability allows homeowners to refresh and update without major renovations.

Photo: Custom Home Group

Farmhouse Sinks

Traditional farmhouse sinks – extra wide and extra deep – may be considered too country or outdated to fit into modern kitchen aesthetics. The enduring appeal of farmhouse sinks lies in their functionality and classic design though. Many appreciate the rustic charm and functionality they bring to kitchens. Plus, modern variations in neutral colors offer versatility in integrating with various styles.

Photo: Maison de Cinq

Brass Fixtures

Shiny brass fixtures fell out of favor during periods favoring sleeker, cooler metal finishes like chrome or brushed nickel. Brass is making a comeback, adding warmth and character. Yesteryear’s brass may look cheap, but today’s styles trend less yellow and bright. The metal’s versatility complements various design choices and may make your kitchen’s hardware gleam.

Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

Subway Tile

The simplicity of subway tile may have been overshadowed by more intricate and diverse tile options. That, and its popularity as a neutral background works against it. But don’t call subway tile basic! Timeless and affordable, this choice endures as a classic for its clean lines and adaptability. There are so many patterns to use in subway tile installation to keep things interesting, too! Even though some might disagree, one could argue its classic appeal transcends design trends.

Photo: The Guardian

Gray Interiors

The term “millennial gray” emerged in 2023, referring to the once trendy gray interiors favored by adults born in the 80s and 90s. Though some see the color as monotonous and boring, gray is still a cool neutral choicel. Gray, when used thoughtfully, can create a sophisticated and calming atmosphere. It serves as a neutral backdrop for diverse decor and allows for easy integration of pops of color.

Photo: Liliana and Liam

Word Signs

Live. Laugh. Love. We’ve all seen the memes. Overused word signs may appear kitschy and lack the personalized touch of original artwork. Strategic use of word signs can inject personality into a space, serving as poignant reminders or whimsical decor. When chosen thoughtfully (or even ironically), they remain a charming and expressive design element. Pro-tip: If you love word signs, consider choosing a word for your new year’s theme and hang it in your bathroom for daily inspiration. You can even DIY your own word or phrase of choice!

Photo: Avalon Flooring

Laminate Floors

Are laminate floors really less luxurious than hardwood or other flooring materials? Not necessarily! Advances in technology have elevated the quality of laminate flooring, offering cost-effective options that mimic the look of hardwood. Its durability and ease of maintenance make it a practical choice for many households. “Real” wood has a positive reputation, but it doesn’t always win.

Photo: A Beautiful Mess

Painting Brick White

If you mention painting brick, you’re likely to encounter a lot of conflicting advice. Painting brick white, once a popular trend, may now be perceived as diminishing the character and texture of natural brick. While opinions on this trend vary, painting brick white can create a sleek, fresh look. It allows for a clean backdrop and can suit contemporary or minimalist aesthetics. It’s also a great way to reset discolored or aging facades.

Photo: Pasha is Home

Open Shelving

Are your cabinets display-ready? Open shelving receives criticism for showcasing clutter and requiring constant, meticulous organization. Open shelving remains popular for its airy feel and the opportunity to display curated collections. Proper styling and a commitment to organization can turn it into a functional and aesthetic asset in kitchens and living spaces. Just make sure you’re making realistic decisions about your lifestyle needs when you choose it.

Photo: Wit and Delight

Colorful Bathroom Tile

Bright and colorful tile selections trended in the early 1900s. Since then, neutral and monochromatic bathroom designs gained favor over the vibrant tiles, which might be perceived as a dated home design or too overwhelming. Anyone who has visited their grandparents’ home knows colorful bathroom tiles can infuse energy and personality into a space. When chosen thoughtfully, they create a unique, visually appealing environment, adding character to a commonly overlooked space.

Photo: Houzz

Shiplap

Shiplap, wide wood plank walls once associated with rustic or farmhouse aesthetics, found fame through home renovation programs in recent years. Though somewhat overexposed, shiplap owes its enduring popularity to its versatility. It can be adapted to various styles, providing texture and visual interest to walls. Its classic appeal and warmth continue as a design element with timeless charm.

Photo: HGTV

Wallpaper

Wallpaper sometimes gets sidelined in favor of painted accent walls or more contemporary finishes. Its historical associations and outdated patterns have burned many homeowners, though. But there is hope for wallpaper lovers! Modern wallpaper options have redefined this trend. Bold patterns, textured designs, and easy-to-remove options make wallpaper a stylish and practical choice for adding depth and personality to a room.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Accent Walls

Even then, sometimes an accent wall cannot win. The concept of accent walls, particularly painted ones, has faced criticism for potentially creating visual clutter or disrupting the flow of a room. When applied judiciously, accent walls can enhance a space, drawing attention to architectural features or creating focal points. The trend persists as a dynamic tool for personalizing and revitalizing interiors. Plus, you can try a paint color without committing to a full room of it!

Photo: Style by Emily Henderson

Wood Cabinets

Wood cabinets, especially medium hued varieties, may have taken a backseat to lighter and more contemporary options. The timeless appeal of wood cabinets endures, with lighter tones and natural finishes gaining popularity. Wood adds warmth and texture, making it a versatile choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Photo: Heather Hess Designs

Open Concept Floor Plans

Open concept living faced criticism for noise and lack of privacy, leading some to prefer defined spaces for specific functions. Despite critiques, open concept floor plans remain sought after for their spacious and inclusive feel. They allow for flexibility in design and foster a sense of connection between different living areas.

Photo: Homes and Gardens

Mixed Materials

Some may argue that using a variety of materials can lead to a disjointed or cluttered appearance. The trend of mixed materials continues to thrive as it allows for dynamic, layered spaces. Thoughtful combinations of color and texture – like dark cabinets and bright brass fixtures, for example – can create visually welcoming environments and showcase the beauty of diverse materials.

Photo: Esquire

Furniture Sets

These days, pre-matched furniture sets face criticism for lacking individuality and personal expression. Coordinated furniture sets are making a comeback, particularly with customizable options. They provide a cohesive look and simplify the design process for those seeking a polished, well-coordinated aesthetic. It’s also possible sets will prove less expensive when you’re shopping!

Photo: House Beautiful

White Countertops

White countertops, while timeless, face competition from darker (dirt hiding) and more patterned options. They are another trend that’s a victim of its own popularity. It’s easy to see that white countertops endure for their clean, classic appeal. They brighten spaces, create a versatile backdrop for various design styles, and contribute to a timeless and elegant aesthetic.

Photo: HGTV

Two-tone Kitchens

Some may view two-tone kitchens – those with an upper cabinet set that’s a different color than the lower cabinets – as overly busy or challenging to balance effectively. The trend persists as a way to add visual interest to kitchens. When executed thoughtfully, two-tone kitchens can create a dynamic atmosphere, allowing for creative expression in the heart of the home.

Photo: Architectural Digest

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Wall-to-wall carpeting faces criticism for its potential to trap allergens and its association with outdated design trends, especially for those with messy pets. Advances in carpet technology and a growing appreciation for comfort have rejuvenated this trend. Soft textures and eco-friendly options make cozy wall-to-wall carpeting a practical choice for bedrooms and living spaces. And if you have trouble deciding to fully install carpets, it may be a good idea to install a room-sized rug for the look and comfort without the commitment.

Photo: Dezeen

Terrazzo

Terrazzo could seem old-fashioned due to its prevalence in mid-century designs and the perception of it as too busy. It’s also popular in public buildings like malls and museums, giving it a less homey feel. Terrazzo has experienced a resurgence, celebrated for its unique, speckled appearance. Its versatility in flooring and countertop applications allows for creative expression in color and internal texture, making it a stylish and enduring choice.

Photo: Kraus

Matte Black Finishes

Glossy and shiny finishes once dominated, making matte black finishes seem less conventional and daring. When they became common, though, they became less popular. Matte black are making a comeback, though! The finishes exist to add modern sophistication to a space. In fixtures, hardware, and furniture, they add a touch of luxury and create a sleek, contemporary aesthetic that continues to be in vogue.

Photo: Backsplash.com

Navy Blue Accents

Neutral tones often overshadow darker hues like navy blue, which may have been considered too bold or challenging to incorporate. It also has a preppier vibe than its other neutral sister colors. For some people, though, navy blue accents persist as a timeless choice for injecting depth and richness into spaces. They provide a versatile backdrop for various color schemes and styles, offering a classic, elegant, and preppy touch.

Photo: House & Garden

Velvet Furniture

Furniture made of velvet, once the epitome of style – could be seen as high-maintenance and associated with traditional or opulent aesthetics. Think of chaise longues in the Victorian era. Velvet has made a comeback as a luxurious and tactile fabric. Its versatility allows it to complement both modern and classic design styles, adding a touch of glamour and comfort to furniture pieces. As a bonus, velvet fabric makes sense for homes with cats: they don’t like to scratch velvet furniture!

Photo: Home DSGN

Concrete

Once confined to industrial settings, concrete gets often overlooked as a harsh and cold design element. Concrete accents have become popular for their raw, minimalist appeal, though. From countertops to decorative pieces, concrete adds an edgy, contemporary touch while providing durability and a connection to industrial aesthetics. Custom colored concrete allows for even more options in the material, too.

Photo: Vox

Wicker and Rattan Furniture

Wicker and rattan furniture faced periods of dismissal as being too casual or associated with outdoor use. It has a Golden Girls on the lanai appeal. However, the resurgence of bohemian and natural design aesthetics has brought wicker and rattan furniture back into favor. Their lightweight and airy qualities make them perfect for creating a relaxed and inviting atmosphere indoors.

Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

Floating Vanities

Traditional vanities were once preferred for their solid and grounded presence, making floating vanities seem less substantial. Floating vanities are embraced for their modern and space-saving design, though. They create a visually open and clean look in bathrooms, showcasing a contemporary and minimalist approach.

Photo: The Spruce

Coastal and Nautical Themes

Nautical themes, deemed too literal or kitschy, experienced a decline in popularity. There are cases that perfectly fit this theme, though! Coastal and nautical themes endure for their timeless and calming appeal. Subtle nautical elements like color schemes, decor, and textures can evoke a sense of seaside tranquility without feeling overly themed. Think of a chic beach cottage instead of a local crab shack.

Photo: Sunset Magazine

Convertible and Multi-Functional Furniture

Traditional, bulky furniture was once the norm, making convertible and multi-functional pieces seem unnecessary. But at some point in the 2000s, they got a bad rap for being a dated home addition. In compact living spaces, the demand for convertible and multi-functional furniture has surged. A murphy bed could be a lifesaver for a city dweller in a studio apartment! These pieces, designed for versatility, cater to the practical needs of modern living while optimizing space and functionality.

Photo: Guilin Cabinet

Quartz Countertops

Many homeowners favor natural stone countertops like granite, perceiving quartz as an artificial alternative. Quartz countertops have become highly popular for their durability, low maintenance, and vast range of styles. The ability to mimic the look of natural stone while offering enhanced practicality has contributed to their enduring appeal in modern kitchens and bathrooms.

Photo: House Beautiful

Patterned Tiles

Minimalist and monochromatic designs (like the subway tiles mentioned above) once dominated, making intricate patterns on tiles seem overwhelming and too trendy. Even so, patterned tiles have made a strong comeback, offering a versatile way to add personality to spaces. From geometric to floral designs, these tiles provide a means to infuse visual interest and vibrancy into various areas of the home, from floors to backsplashes. Their adaptability to both traditional and contemporary styles has contributed to their continued popularity.

Photo: Domino

Sunken Living Rooms

Sunken living rooms or conversation pits hold sway as important architectural relics from the 1970s and ’80s. They are making a comeback as a unique design feature, especially for those favoring designs from that time period. Whatever your taste, a sunken living area offers a distinct separation of space and a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are often associated with older homes and may be considered visually unappealing and difficult to maintain. While less common in modern construction, some homeowners appreciate the acoustic benefits of popcorn ceilings, and they can be found in certain design contexts. These days, a textured ceiling, without a true popcorn texture, proves popular.

Photo: The Decor Diet

Mirrored Furniture

Mirrored furniture gained popularity in the 80s, but it may now be viewed as overly flashy or reflective. The style is making a comeback with updated, subtler designs. Think about a mirrored nightstand or end table. It adds glamour, enhances light, and can create an illusion of space in smaller rooms.

Photo: starlightblinds.co.uk

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds may be considered outdated and associated with a more traditional or corporate aesthetic. Some find vertical blinds practical for light control and privacy, though. The modern iterations, featuring sleeker designs, introduce a contemporary touch that can seamlessly blend with various interior styles. As a versatile option, vertical blinds continue to find favor among those seeking a balance between functionality and aesthetic appeal in their living spaces.

Photo: Crafty Little Gnome

Brick Accent Walls May Be A Dated Home Statement, But Still Has Its Shining Moments

Exposed brick walls may be perceived as too industrial or reminiscent of past design eras. You could even be tempted to paint them white! Brick accent walls remain popular for their rustic, industrial charm though. Painted or natural, they add texture and character, creating focal points in various interior styles.

Photo: Depuley

Hollywood Vanity Mirrors

Hollywood-style vanity mirrors with bright bulbs look overly theatrical or reminiscent of vintage dressing rooms. Many people like this, though! These mirrors have a timeless appeal, providing even, flattering lighting for makeup application. Modern versions with LED lights offer a balance of functionality and style.

Photo: Interior Design

Bamboo Furniture

Similar to wicker, traditional or vintage bamboo furniture may be associated with tropical or beach aesthetics, limiting its versatility. It is gaining popularity for its sustainable and eco-friendly nature, though. Its light and airy appearance suits various design styles, contributing to a natural and relaxed atmosphere. Indeed, some modern bamboo furniture looks nothing like the traditional.

Photo: Molly Hensley Photography

Formal Dining Rooms Are Coming Out of The Dated Home Trend Vault

Formal dining rooms tend to gather dust. Or, if they are used, they’re likely underutilized, especially with many homes existing with open-concept living spaces. Some homeowners value the elegance and tradition of a formal dining room for special occasions and entertaining, though. It creates a dedicated space for shared meals – holidays and beyond!

Photo: Brush Brothers Painting

Faux Finishes

Faux finishes, such as sponge painting or marbling, may be seen as outdated decorative techniques. However, faux finishes are making a return with more subtle and sophisticated applications. They offer a cost-effective way to add texture and depth to walls without the permanence of wallpaper. As with much on this list, make sure to check with your landlord (if applicable) before adding a faux finish to your walls or ceiling.

Photo: Homedit

Tuscan-Inspired Decor Won’t Always Be A Dated Home Design

We’ve all seen Under the Tuscan Sun, right? Well, Tuscan decor, characterized by warm earth tones and heavy furnishings, may be considered too ornate for contemporary tastes. Elements of Tuscan decor, such as rustic textures and warm colors, are being reimagined in a more modern context. The enduring charm of Mediterranean aesthetics continues to influence interior design.

Photo: Studio McGee

Vertical Paneling Is Often Seen As A Dated Home Trend

Vertical wood paneling, popular in the mid-20th century, may be seen as outdated or reminiscent of older architectural styles. Modern takes on vertical paneling add texture and visual interest to walls, offering a contemporary twist on a classic design element. The modern version is more likely horizontally oriented.

Photo: Barron Designs

Barn Wood Accents

While barn wood accents may be perceived as overly rustic or closely tied to specific design themes, the use of reclaimed barn wood introduces both character and sustainability to interior spaces. Despite potential concerns, the enduring popularity of barn wood’s weathered charm persists, making it an enduring choice for those seeking to infuse warmth and history into modern environments, establishing a timeless and eco-conscious design element.

Photo: Bandd Design

Inset Cabinetry

Inset cabinetry, with doors flush with the frame, may be considered traditional and less practical than overlay options. This style of cabinetry is making a comeback for its clean, tailored look. It appeals to those seeking a classic and refined kitchen aesthetic without a lot of added texture.

Photo: Essential Home

Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Iconic mid-century modern chairs may be seen as overly cliché due to their widespread popularity. These chairs are timeless classics that continue to be celebrated for their sleek lines and functional design. And, with many established designs colors to choose from, mid-century modern chairs fit seamlessly into a variety of interiors.

Photo: ShabbyChicHouse

Mirrored Backsplashes

Like mirrored furniture, mirrored backsplashes may be considered impractical and visually overwhelming. Mirrored backsplashes reflect light beautifully, though, creating the illusion of space and adding a touch of glamour to kitchens. Modern designs often incorporate this feature in a more subtle way – perhaps adding only a few mirrored touches in an otherwise neutral tile backsplash.

Photo: KitchenAid

Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances sometimes appear cold and sterile compared to warmer finishes. However, stainless steel maintains its popularity for its durability, versatility, and modern appearance. Advances in finishes and fingerprint-resistant coatings keep stainless steel appliances a viable option for contemporary kitchens that homebuyers want.

Photo: Moretti Interior Design

Indoor Water Features

Indoor water features may be seen as impractical, requiring maintenance and posing potential water damage risks. Water features, when thoughtfully integrated and well-maintained, contribute to a serene and spa-like atmosphere. Modern designs typically focus on low-maintenance options for indoor use. No koi ponds inside!

Photo: Havwoods

Chevron Patterns

Chevron patterns can be considered overused and too trendy, losing their initial appeal. When used selectively, chevron patterns add dynamic visual interest to floors, walls, and decor. Like quirky stripes, their twist on classic versatility and ability to create movement keep them in style. Plus, simple chevron DIY art options can add visual interest to your space.

Photo: ELLE Decor

Floral Wallpaper

Floral wallpaper gets a bad wrap, often associated with traditional or outdated aesthetics. Picture small flowers and intricate patterns. Modern floral wallpapers offer fresh, contemporary designs. Often favoring bigger, less kitschy patterns, they provide a bold and artistic way to introduce nature-inspired elements into interiors.

Photo: Livingetc

Tiled Countertops

Homeowners may see tiled countertops as impractical due to grout maintenance and a dated home design aesthetic associated with past eras. When executed with modern materials and patterns, tiled countertops can offer a unique, customizable look. They appeal to those seeking a vintage or eclectic vibe in their kitchens.

Photo: Interior Design Ideas

Salmon Interiors

Salmon or peach-colored interiors, popular in the 1980s, may be considered simultaneously too bold and bland, certainly reminiscent of past design trends. These warm hues are making a comeback in a more subdued and sophisticated manner. Used sparingly, they can add a touch of retro elegance and warmth to contemporary spaces.

Photo: Yanko Design

Suspended or Hanging Fireplaces

Would you consider a hanging fireplace in your space? Well, suspended or hanging fireplaces could read as impractical and less efficient compared to traditional options. However, modern suspended fireplaces are embraced for their sleek, sculptural designs. They serve as focal points in minimalist interiors, providing both warmth and visual interest.

Photo: Far & Away

Wrought Iron Furniture

Compared to lighter, more contemporary materials, wrought iron furniture may add too much weight – literally and figuratively – to a situation. Wrought iron is experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to its durability and timeless appeal. Modern designs often incorporate sleek lines and innovative shapes, making it a versatile choice for both indoor and outdoor settings.

Photo: Country Living Magazine

Sunrooms

Sunrooms are making a comeback as flexible spaces for relaxation, home offices, or indoor gardening. Detractors say sunrooms may be seen as underutilized spaces, potentially too hot or cold for year-round enjoyment. Advances in insulation and climate control make them appealing for those seeking a connection to the outdoors within the comfort of their homes all year round.

Photo: Brennan Enterprises

Glass Block Windows

Glass block windows gained popularity in the 1980s are considered a dated home design and may block at least some degree of natural light. These windows are making a comeback in contemporary designs, though, in personal and public spaces alike. They offer privacy while allowing light to filter through, and their geometric patterns can add a unique architectural element. They could make a perfect choice for a bathroom!

Photo credit: home-designing.com

In Conclusion?

In the world of design, “dated” often stands the test of time, proving that style has a way of coming full circle. As shown through the exploration of these once-dismissed trends, it’s clear that calling something “dated” is a brief judgment – and a personal one! What was once a marker of a specific era now becomes part of a larger choice of expression. Perhaps most importantly, amid ever-changing design preferences, it’s essential to recognize that a home’s beauty isn’t just about keeping up with trends. Reflecting on the unique stories, tastes, and memories of its inhabitants, and what you want for your own space can endure well beyond time and trends.

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