When Outdated Trends Lists Get It Wrong

The trouble with outdated trends lists is that they so often get it wrong. Or, to be more specific, they focus on a tiny element of an older trend and then declare it’s wrong and “prove” it by showing an old, dated, version of that design detail. I’ve even been quoted in similar articles, including this one in Elle Decor titled Twelve Colors Designers Wish They Could Stop Using. So, while I said I was a little over beige and gray, there are fine details of why this is which often get lost. I posted a followup “Why I don’t like beige and gray” here which explained exactly what I was talking about. The real problem with these articles is that they aren’t particularly thoughtful which leaves the reader feeling like they are old and outdated because they might like that specific element. And nobody likes that feeling!

So, when I came across this article on Elle Decor  30 Outdated Design Trends We Hope Never Come Back I was intrigued by what they came up with.  All I can say is, please, just stop. Or, at least, be a little more discerning in your declarations!

I’ve picked 5 of their outdated trends picks which I wholeheartedly disagree with.

No greenhouse interiors!

home-trens-fern Elle Decor Outdated Trend
via Elle Decor

So, the writers are correct that ferns became a somewhat overused element at one point, it’s not exactly right to suggest that too many plants should be left for the greenhouse. Cosmo magazine seems to agree with their article “Ways to use plants to make your home look lovely“. This is where I found the following lovely image:

1a © Adam Robinson Design Sydney Outdoor Landscape Design Potting Trees Palm Tree NOT Outdated Trend
Adam Robinson Design

Sadly, I have a black thumb, so I’d never have so many beautiful, healthy, plants in my house. Moving on…

Ban the rattan!

Really? Rattans and wickers are having a huge moment right now. The Reese Witherspoon movie Home Again featured lots of easy breezy and updated rattans.


No Mad Plaid!

 home-trends-plaid-1970s-outdated trends
via Elle Decor
Jane Hawkins Hoke plaid master bedroom canopy drapes headboard Annie Schlecter outdated trends
design by Jane Hawkins Hoke

House Beautiful doesn’t seem to have a problem with plaids.

No fake flowers!

home-trends-fake-flower-bouquets-outdated trends
via Elle Decor

Okay, so the thing with artificial flowers and plants was always that they tended to sit too long (years) and become faded and dusty. Even faux has a life limit.

Washington post fake flowers making a comeback outdated trends
via Washington Post

This is a recent article in The Washington Post. Ironically, this is one of the quotes in the article “There is a place for faux flowers today,” says Whitney Robinson, editor in chief of Elle Decor. “They are essentially copies of what you would buy fresh.”  Oops. Get your stories straight people!

Tufted Headboards Aren’t Glam?

Click here to see the lovely image of a bedroom with a tufted headboard that the writers feel is outdated.

I’m pretty sure tufted headboards have never, ever, been out. They are a classic classic. (hmmm, note to self – write a blog post on just what is a Classic Classic). 

Homes to Love Australia designer Natalee bedroom pale blue tufted headboard not outdated trends
via Australia House & Garden via Homes to Love, designed by Natalee (no last name given)

How beautiful is this bedroom? The fresh styling and luxe silk bedding, the wallpaper – it all works for me and is certainly an updated, modern glam look.

And that’s pretty much the takeaway. It’s not the specific design element, it’s all in the execution. If you love your granny chic – rocking chair out baby! Just do it in a more modern way, fresher colors, or what have you. And don’t let anyone – even me – tell you you should kick something you love to the curb.

What’s one of your favorite “outdated trends”?

8 thoughts on “When Outdated Trends Lists Get It Wrong”

  1. I am very fortunate to have beautiful things I inherited from my family on both sides. Most are traditional. I had an appraisrer recently tell that no one wants what I have now. Mid century modern started it and now the shelter magazines are showing room after room of very modern design. I don’t totally dislike it, but it gets boring. The hating of brown wood furniture and painting everything in sight is a tad disturbing. Fine pieces are being ruined. My point is a classics list is a great idea! There are mid century modern classics that can be mixed in too. And modern pieces destined to be. Nina Garcia wrote a pocket sized book on classic clothes and accessories that was really great. I would love that for decorating classics.

    • Hi Sydney,
      Thanks so much for your comment! It is sad that so few younger folks will take old furniture – it’s so much better than the new stuff. I don’t so much mind pieces being painted – but only if they aren’t precious such as mass produced items. But handmade antiques should always be respected. Plus, the prices are so good these days!

  2. You bring up some very good points. Personally, I feel to be a good designer one must take trends with a grain of salt. It takes talent to design well outside of the current trend. If one designs to the architecture of the space and lifestyle of the home owner it will yield a timeless result.

  3. Enjoyed this article so much, Linda! I still love brass, be it polished or antiqued. One minute it’s in, the next minute it’s out. It will always be “in” with me, I love its warmth.
    The word “trend” is a bad word in my decorating dictionary. Who wants a house full of trendy decor that will only be in style for a minute, before it’s out.

  4. Oh boy, if these are outdated friends, then I’m the queen of outdated trends! Since I don’t have a family, I’m about to turn my family room into a garden room/sun room/study with wicker chairs, a couple of orchids and a big date palm (if I can find one). I’ve been looking at fabrics lately and plan to upholster a tufted headboard in Cowtan & Tout’s Bailey Rose chintz.

    I would love to read a post on classic classics! I know what I consider classic and can’t get enough of – it would be wonderful to hear what your classics are.

    • Hi Squeak! No kidding. As I said, It’s all in the execution and your new sunroom/garden room sounds like it will be divine. Bailey Rose Chintz is beautiful! Thanks for the feedback on the Classic Classics post. Will start making my list! Have a great weekend! l


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