You’re not a trendsetter – you have too much sense (and not enough money) to keep chopping and changing the decor and furnishings of your home. But let’s face it: some styles and fixtures date or transcend their function. This can make your home look tired at best and affect resale value at worst, by alienating potential buyers.
There are some outdated features that are particularly awful, causing people to think the house is older or in worse condition than it really is. Fortunately, changing these features often isn’t expensive or time-consuming. And switching from the past to cheerful talk (or better yet, timeless) can be fun whether you’re planning to put your home on the market, or just want to prioritize remodeling projects to improve your life.
Here are seven styles that scream “outdated” and ways to update them.
1. Light-colored imitation wood cabinets
Light wood cabinets with a distinctive raised design have been a standard in the kitchen and bathroom for a long time, along with light woods such as pine. But they’re out of fashion now — and perhaps in literal ways, if your outfits are your latest go-to.
“We recommend customers replace their 80’s cabinets because they usually fall apart anyway,” says Ariana Lovato of Honeycomb Home Design in Pismo Beach, California. Depending on its condition, “sometimes it’s more expensive to paint cabinets and upgrade hardware than to replace them entirely.”
Trends now are toward cabinets made of more luxurious materials and/or exotic finishes, such as white oak or driftwood (if a paler look is your preference). However, it is still possible to save on using less expensive engineering materials, including more modern (and realistic-looking) forms of fiberboard and wood veneer, in which thin sheets of high-quality timber are glued with a plywood core.
While you’re at it, consider a frameless cabinet, which offers a sleeker, streamlined look (because the door hinges attach directly to the sides of the cabinet box, rather than the front-facing frame). “Plus, a frameless cabinet will provide more usable storage throughout,” since it lacks a central hub in the middle of the cabinet doors, Lovato points out.
2. Intense or trendy wallpapers and paints
Wallpaper can be a beautiful addition to a room, but it can be difficult on the contemporary eye if it’s a print that was in its heyday a few decades ago—or done in colors that evoke a certain era, like the ’70s (I’m looking at you, golden rudd, olive green and burnt orange). ). The same goes for paint colors. “One of the most historic elements of design are muddy colors: beige, khaki, and muted yellow,” says Megan Hirsch, interior designer, co-founder and COO of roomLift.
You don’t have to completely neutralize your decor. But if you strategically choose some of the louder or more whimsical wall treatments to replace them, with warm gray, white, or off-white, you can give your home a look that’s a little less than a time capsule. “A new coat of white paint—my favorite these days is Valspar Bistro White—will instantly bring updated life to the space,” says Hirsch.
3. Analog thermostats
A traditional analog thermostat with a simple knob to move the temperature up or down can really look older than it is, simply because many homes have switched to digital style thermostats.
And it’s not just about a screen that makes the house look younger. Contemporary programmable or “smart” thermostats will make home function better, too. Their sensors can adjust the temperature based on the time of day or the number of people in the house (based on the degree of movement); It can be set on a schedule based on your family’s preferences and activities. Either way, your thermostat avoids waste, boosts efficiency and saves money, while also making it look like your home is a “smart home” – and what could be more?
4. cluttered rooms
The look of “minimalism” seems to be here to stay. If you leave your home full of ornate furnishings and furnishings, a great design option is to work to reduce clutter. Keep the pieces you use often and like only, and spread things out to make use of the space. There are even suggestions that having an uncluttered space can be less stressful and boost productivity, making the benefits more than just a home update.
This does not mean that your rooms have to be barren. “Timeless trends definitely include houseplants (more O2!),” says Hirsch. Just be sure to get ones that “work with your specific space and your ability to take care of them (let’s be real).” Also, splurge on getting some “good looking boxes” or baskets that hold papers, magazines, mail, and other everyday items, says Hirsch. “Life can be messy but when everything has a place, everything can fall into place.”
5- Carpeted bathrooms (and carpets in general according to age)
Unlike hardwood, which is in vogue now and forever—it can be refinished in ways that make it “like new”—rugs become antique. Too old to be too old. In particular, very few homes can have carpeted bathrooms and still look modern.
“Many of our customers are drawn to engineered wood flooring throughout the home, and fewer people want carpet because of allergy issues,” Lovato explains. “We usually install the same flooring throughout the house, except in the bathrooms and sometimes the laundry room, where we’ll be installing the tiles.” Other options include waterproof laminate or durable stone floors that are easy to clean. If you fear that your feet will freeze on cold mornings, you can always add underfloor heating to the floor.
For other parts of the home, carpet may still fly—although patterns or colors that are discolored, damaged, or unusually loud, all will be red signs of age. Carpets can also retain odors, especially from pets or smoking. So one way to remove the smell from its source at the same time and update the look of the house is to lay a hardwood flooring or hardwood-look vinyl plank.
6. Tired kitchen countertops and appliances
Modern (or modern looking) kitchens are always in demand. But some details can date them. Case in point: tile countertops. Although they were great looking when installed, they quickly become impractical, due to dirt accumulating in the grout. Kitchens should be easy to clean, and with an uneven or even somewhat smooth tile surface, it’s hard to keep it clean and fresh.
As an alternative, “we recommend installing solid countertops throughout (either natural stone or engineered quartz countertops). It’s easier to clean and looks 100 percent better,” says Lovato.
The hardware in the cabinets and drawers also has a huge impact on the look of the room. says Lynne Tocchet, director of interior design at Pacaso, a San Francisco-based real estate broker that specializes in second homes.
“For a timeless look, consider a sleek, sophisticated look,” she advises. “Chrome has always had a place in decor and never looked out of date, so this is a good choice if you’re looking for a lighting option. In the dark hardware category, matte black has officially appeared as a new ‘oil-rubbed bronze’ alternative for the next 30 years.”
7. Heavy curtains
Thick curtains on which dust collects set a date for a space, giving Grandma’s living room feel. To fit in with the trend toward clean living (both literally and stylistically), many homeowners prefer the elegant look of solid window treatments, such as blinds or blinds, especially if they are of the automated or smart type.
But this does not mean that they are curtains for curtains. Just swap out thicker fabrics for lighter options, like linen or rayon—and don’t let the texture fool you: Just because it’s muslin doesn’t mean it can’t filter light and heat.
“This is a quick fix because many retailers sell pre-made curtain panels that you can even hang on your existing rods,” says Hirsch. RH (Restoration Hardware), West Elm, and Annie Selke are among those she recommends.
A final word on renovating your home
Of course, you should always remodel the house yourself first, and for sales second. And if you’re happy with how everything looks (and works), don’t cut and change for fashion. But if things are looking cluttered, updating the decor now can reduce work and expenses later. Focus on the features you like to update often, especially in key areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Ideally, you can implement some home décor ideas that will benefit you in the near term and boost desire for your home down the road.