10 décor trends that date your home

dated living room decor with floral couch

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted August 31, 2021


An Art Deco light feature? Absolutely. Keeping the plastic on the floral couch? Maybe not. 

Many of us have items or family heirlooms around the home that are hard to part with. A blanket your child has had since they were born, or an antique cabinet that has been passed down for generations. But when it comes to furniture and décor, there may be certain items that, whilst once considered in vogue, now just make your house look seriously dated – and not in a retro or kitsch way.

While some items from lauded style eras such as Victorian or Deco will always have a sense of panache, it might be time to trade in the items below to give your home and the people in it a fresh new start. Here’s how to fix trends that need a little updating.

Pine wood kitchens – (or really, pine anything)

There’s no getting around it – pine wood instantly gives us flashes of a ‘before’ photo in any kitchen. While it may be quaint in a country farmhouse, it’s a very overwhelming look that is quite passé and, in modern times, makes your home feel dated and uninspired.

The fix: Luckily, there’s nothing that a good paint of paint can’t fix! Whether you want to turn your kitchen into a clean white wonderland or you’re looking to go the whole hog with a brand spanking new kitchen renovation that can add value to your home, lighter palettes or shaker style kitchens have stood the test of time and will give your home a welcome into the 21st century. 

Pine kitchens instantly date your home. Image: Getty.
You can't go wrong with a clean white look to brighten up the space. Image: Getty.

Old light fittings

While many of you will be thinking, ‘light fittings? Who even notices?’ The answer is, everyone. The smaller things in your home can be what brings your house from fab to drab – and no one wants their light fittings to be the reason they look like a haunted innkeeper.

The fix: Light fittings and lampshades are relatively easy to replace (or have a tradie assist with) and can be bought for a variety of budgets, styles and needs. If you want to go all out, statement lights are really having a moment, such as old school chandeliers and gold pendant lighting.

However, if you prefer a more budget-friendly style that never fades, simple globe lights should do the trick. 

Old lamp shades can make your house look passé. Image: Getty.
Classic bulbs never go out of style. Image: Getty.

Vertical blinds

The 1980s called, and they want their dramatic drapes back! Whilst these may have looked good on daytime soaps, along with shoulder pads and throwing martinis on people, that time has come and gone.

The fix: While it would be lovely for all of us to get plantation shutters that instantly add value to the home, these can be costly. Consider shutters, horizontal white blinds or colours with a lighter or neutral palette that will lighten up and modernise your home. 

Vertical blinds are a house trend that date and darken your home. Image: Getty.
Consider a lighter palette to open up the space. Image: Getty.

Fake flowers

Fake flowers were all the rage in the 70s when everyone's nan had a pot of fake peonies that sat atop the plastic covering on their kitchen table. But times, they are a-changin'. Whilst fresh is preferred, these can be expensive (and get messy).

The fix: These days, it's all about the dried flower trend. A home centrepiece that has exploded online in recent years, dried flowers have all the appeal of fake – they're cheaper, more sustainable, last for years and don't shed – but avoid the somewhat tacky and dated look of fake flowers. Plus, many outlets let you customise your own arrangements so you can find the colours that perfectly suit your home. 

Save the fake flowers for Nana's house. Image: Getty.
Dried flowers give a more modern look - and last for years! Image: Getty.

Plastered phrase or word art on your wall 

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert had a lot to answer for when she set homes alight with inspirational phrasing around the globe in the early noughties. Homes became adorned with wall decals such as ‘Home Sweet Home’ and ‘Live, Laugh Love’ to celebrate the house and people within. However, over time, word art has become a bit naff and keeps your home permanently stuck in the early 2000s.

The fix: Instead of generic wording, why not replace it with a print that means something to you and your family unit? Think of a personalised artwork of your home, a framed print or quote from your favourite book, or happy and loving photos. You could even put them all together in your own gallery wall. It will stay more meaningful - and the people in your life will never go out of style. 

Affirmations are lovely, but perhaps are better suited to a personal journal. Image: Getty.
Instead, consider photos or prints that mean something to you personally. Image: Getty.

Futons

For some reason, futons became the fold-out of choice during the 90s and early 00s, despite the fact that they are incredibly uncomfortable and not particularly stylish either. If someone offers you the opportunity to lay down on one of these, it's safe to say the expensive chiropractor bill may not be worth the free night's stay.

The fix: While nothing compares to your own bed (we have plenty of tips on getting a good night's sleep while you're at it), sleepovers have stepped up a notch since springy couches and crusty old futons. So unless you're still in a share house, many budget couches now have an in-built sofa bed in the underframe with additional storage – no need to sacrifice on comfort and style!

Unless you're in a share house, the futon has got to go. Image: Getty.
Consider a fold out couch with style AND substance. Image: Getty.

Feature walls

Remember these? Everyone who was anyone had a cool ‘feature wall’ in the early 2000s, such as bright green behind the bed, or a violent red behind the tv. But over time, as we have become savvier with style and space (due to our household reno tv addiction, perhaps?), we have realised that bigger and louder is not always better – and that your feature wall has become a bit of a misplaced eyesore.

The fix: This is an easy one – paint it! Whether you’re going a crisp white, want the whole room to have a fun colour, or you’re ready to explore with a fun wallpaper, no feature wall doesn’t mean no fun – just take your creativity in a modern direction!  

Step away from the red paint. Image: Getty.
Consider a more neutral palette to open up the space. Image: Getty.

Bedding that hasn’t been updated since 1850

While many Australians left their waterbeds safely in the 80s where they belong, unfortunately, some of the décor didn’t get the memo. Anything overly floral, old, ruffled, or looks like it’s been through the machine a million times makes your house look like it's stuck in a time warp – and not the cool, Back to the Future kind.

The fix: Luckily, there’s easy solutions to stop your house from looking like Little House On The Prairie. It’s amazing how much a new doona cover can add life to your décor and bring your room into the 21st century – not to mention improvements to your comfort level as well!

It's time to ditch the frill and floral and step into the 21st century. Image: Getty.
Have fun mixing up colours and prints that reflect your personal style. Image: Getty.

Ruffled bed skirts

Also known as a dust ruffle, unfortunately, these scream ‘outdated.’ Whilst it can definitely be handy to have a bed skirt that brings your bed together (particularly for a king bed, for which the base is normally two singles), ruffled bed skirts are quite old-fashioned and not really seen anymore in a modern home.

The fix: If you need one (like for the aforementioned king), look into a bed or box spring wrap, which brings your mattress base together without the frill. The fun in this is that you can choose a colour and style that goes with your room palette to add some colour and personality to where you rest your head.

Alternatively, many beds serve a double function these days, with the bygone ruffle era replaced with under bed storage or exposed bed frames. 

This look has your room feeling rather dull and old-fashioned. Image: Getty.
Why not upgrade to a stylish base with extra storage instead? Image: Snooze.

Floral furniture

Floral furniture can elicit many happy memories for those who were exposed – it was undoubtedly used on shows like The Nanny, The Golden Girls and in practically every nan’s home. But unless your style is ‘Retirement Chic,’ the busy, floral patterns that were probably adorned with plastic coverings at your great-auntie’s place may have a place in your heart – just not in your home.

The fix: There’s no easy way to say this – it’s got to go. Think of donating the armchair, drapes or couch to a nearby charity shop or community centre, and look for a new furniture piece that better reflects you and your personality- we have a guide for this here.

With a few easy swaps, you’ll have your home looking and feeling brand new in no time.

It's time to say goodbye. Image: Getty.
Doesn't that feel better? Image: Getty.

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