| Homeowners

At the risk of dating ourselves, being in the real estate biz, we’ve seen endless home décor trends come and go. Although some have true staying power, there are far more that have a short-lived day in the sun that can cost you big time when you decide to sell. As the fashion guru Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashion fades. Style is eternal.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re of the mind that there are plenty of “fashionable” décor schemes that are best left in the past, and frankly, some new ones that will be about as long-lasting as “meggings” (yep, actual male leggings!).

To help you avoid some major home décor faux pas sure to date your home and impact value, here we look at some décor trends we are so over we find them cringe-worthy.

Ughly Gray Toned Floors

Sorry to all of you out there who bought into this flooring trend. Gray-toned floors are so dated it hurts. It becomes even worse if they happen to be laminate. 

The fix

If you’re installing new flooring and are still attracted to this look, we suggest looking at light-toned natural woods instead to help maintain the value of your home! Hopefully, if they are already installed, they are at least wide plank and/or luxury vinyl, as this flooring is still trendy enough that people might overlook the gray. 

Thinking of selling your home in today’s market? The posts below will help:

Tsk Tsk on Tuscan Kitchens

The Tuscan kitchen is far too over the top to have staying power in the finicky world of home décor. In fact, anything too fussy and distinct tends to go by the wayside in the blink of an eye. 

The fix

If you jumped on this décor bandwagon, it’s not too late to help tone it down and create something more appealing to the modern eye, including:

  • Paint or reface those dark wood cabinets to brighten up the space
  • Replace or remove those faux finishes and plaster textures with a smooth neutral, more modern colour and wall surface
  • Downplay that travertine by adding modern tile accents to your backsplash, focusing on pleasing greens and blues

If you can’t afford a complete redo, these ideas will tone down all that Tuscaniness. 

Enough with the Shiplap Already

So, shiplap is still showing up on a lot of home décor shows. But here’s the thing: If you look at when the episodes originally aired, you’ll likely find they date back close to 10 years. That said, shiplap is still popping up all over the place. And hey, it does have its moments and uses. It’s just that this wall treatment is in the autumn or maybe even late winter of its life, which means if you install it now, it will look really outdated in a few years. 

The fix

If you must have shiplap, don’t go overboard (no pun intended), slapping it on every wall and across the ceiling. Create a simple accent wall or use it behind shelves so you can remove it with much less sweat equity or simply ignore it. Then, add this design mistake to your list of lessons learned.

White Kitchens are All Washed Up

Designers and real estate agents alike have praised the white kitchen as the ultimate design scheme sure to remain classic and timeless. The problem is no one told young homeowners this. They’re all about trending cabinet colours like those deep or robin’s egg blues, sage or forest greens, OR are crazy about the surprising wood revival, making those timeless white kitchens timeless no more. 

The fix

So, what can you do if your kitchen looks washed out and white? Here’s some quick and affordable fixes:

  • If they’re wood (oh, all that time and effort painting them white – we feel your pain!), you can sand them down and bring back the natural wood with a modern neutral stain. 
  • If they aren’t wood but paintable, you can repaint them in a modern colour that will breathe new life and modern appeal into them.  
  • If you don’t want to paint, adding a modern tile backsplash (consider quick and easy peel-and-stick tiles) or new countertops will help take focus away from the cabinets.
  • You can also upgrade your pendant lighting and cabinet hardware for a quick refresh and an impactful finishing touch.

Blinded By the White

White isn’t just outdated in kitchens but has also fallen from grace as the go-to neutral throughout the home. Today, colour reigns supreme in home décor, adding warmth, interest, and a sense of personality.

The fix

We’d say pick a side: either go with white furniture or white walls. Going with both is just too much white and can feel overwhelming and downright blinding on a sunny day. Since colour is in, you can either paint the walls, or hang some colourful art, toss some vibrant pillows on your white couch and chairs, and lay down a colourful, patterned area rug to make things feel more lived-in and dynamic.  

Icksnay on the Minimalist Esignday

Minimalism is way older than you might think, dating back to the 20s and 30s when the Bauhaus movement combined utility and beauty. It’s evolved quite a bit since then, with a rebirth in the 60s and 70s that is more familiar to homeowners today. While some feel comfortable with the minimalist look because it feels very mid-century modern (another trend we advise you to avoid below), it creates a very cold, uninviting space where guests have to ask if it’s okay to sit on the couch. 

The fix

Minimalism is easy enough to fix because it just takes adding more colour using area rugs, curtains, art, and things like pillows on the couch. So, if you love your minimalist design with simple furnishings and neutral monotones, rest easy knowing when it comes time to sell, you can revamp your space with pops of the latest colour trends with “minimum” effort. 

Closing the Door on Open Concept 

Open-plan living spaces do still have appeal, providing more light, increasing square footage, and adding a nice flow throughout your home. However, the lack of privacy leaves everything open, so you have to stare at those dirty dishes in the sink, can’t avoid your work spread all over the dining room table, or block out your partner binge-watching Lord of the Rings movies every Sunday afternoon. That’s why more people want walls today!

The fix

Walls create more privacy and purposeful living spaces that are out of sight, out of mind when you don’t need them, and warm and welcoming when you do. They bring harmony to busy homes where quiet space is non-existent and can even help you enjoy a healthier relationship with your significant other! If installing walls seems too extreme, get creative using bookshelves to cordon off a workspace, floor-to-ceiling frosted glass to let the light shine in but provide privacy, or adding decorative dividers in metal or wood to define spaces. 

Mid-Century Modern Design: Vintage or Tacky?

Mid-century modern is an offshoot of minimalist design that peaked in the 50s and 60s but lingered well into the 70s. It consists of clean lines and is free of fussy details like panels or frames on kitchen cabinets. It also utilizes accents on walls like large-scale parquets. The problem is it costs a fortune to achieve this design in a room like a kitchen, and it is so distinct it only appeals to a very limited group of home buyers. Most people will be wondering if you’ve achieved vintage excellence or are teetering on the abyss of tackiness. This makes it risky when it comes time to sell. 

The fix

We would advise channeling your Frank Lloyd Wright obsession on furnishings and textiles instead of installing that tambour wood paneling everywhere or investing in an overpriced and overly simple mid-century modern kitchen. Think mid-century modern pendant lights, textured wood or metal wall hangings, and space-age-influenced geometric curtains, pillows, and area rugs.

Want more ideas for your home improvement projects? Check out some of our related reads below:

Gratuitous Granite

Oh, those granite countertops. They’re dark, busy, and altogether horrid and sure to be the eyesore in the kitchen and elephant in the room for today’s home buyers and beyond. Granite was the must-have countertop in the 90s and early 2000s that needs to take its cue and walk off into the sunset of home design.  

The fix

Granite isn’t easy to hide, camouflage, or take focus away from, as it is just so darn obvious. You can try to simplify the appearance of granite countertops by reducing the contrast in the kitchen, but this honestly just makes everything feel dark and more dated. It’s probably one of those situations where you need to bite the bullet and replace them. Interestingly, you can do this affordably as today’s home buyers will likely prefer a simple, non-curvaceous-edged laminate countertop over that imposing, ugly granite. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to décor trends, we have an easy rule of thumb to follow: Embrace style with your permanent installments and trends in your décor accents and features. Things like paint colours on walls are easy to update when you feel the urge for a new look while replacing ultra-modern kitchen cabinets costs a pretty penny. Another example is choosing to gut your master bathroom and replace it with a massive walk-in shower, leaving buyers wondering what happened to the tub. We believe you should never feel interior design shy in your own home. Embracing your favourite trends and colours on easier-to-change surfaces and more personal features of your home provides the perfect way to express yourself and avoid designer remorse.

Call The Christine Cowern Team at 416.291.7372 or email us at hello@christinecowern.com with any questions about Toronto real estate. We’d love to work with you!