Interior design history is filled with examples of bad home design trends that were wildly popular at first, then soon became regrettable. In the 1970s fuzzy flocked wallpaper was all the rage, until real-world living left areas around light switches irreversibly soiled. The 1980s was arguably the height of waterbeds with their constant rolling motion, regrettable punctures and extreme difficulty to move.

Here’s a list of bad home design trends from the past 20 years. From the uncomfortable to the impossible-to-clean, take a stroll with us down memory lane.


The 1980s and 1990s seemed to be the height of faux. From faux paint finishes (like sponge painting) to faux flowers, this trend seems gimmicky and insincere today. The Wabi-Sabi aesthetic, and the return to quality over quantity, emphasizes authenticity.

Instead of using paint to create the look of wallpaper, opt for the real thing. The same goes for plants and flowers.


Open Kitchen Shelving Fort Lauderdale Luxury Home

Photo: Tessa Neustadt

The allure of open kitchen shelving is the ability to create a light and airy feeling while displaying your wares as art. Unless you like your dinner with a hint of dust, or perhaps a dead fly or two with your morning beverage, you’ll likely need to wash dishes left on unprotected shelves before every meal.

Instead, use open shelving as an accent instead of main storage, where you can display special items. Another way to achieve a more open and airy feel is with glass cabinet doors.


Dining Bench


The popularity of farmhouse-chic décor had folks replacing dining room chairs with a bench. Anyone who has tried maintaining good posture on a backless perch knows that slouching becomes inevitable. Benches are often heavy and hard to move. Plus, determining the ideal distance between the table and bench leaves occupants at the mercy of table-mates. If you’re the unlucky middle-seat person, it takes a lot of skill to leave the table gracefully.

Instead, stick with a traditional dining room chair. Today dining room chairs are made in many different styles, colors and materials, so you should be able to achieve whatever look want.


Bathroom Vessel Sinks


These first appeared in luxury homes as a contemporary take on old-time wash basins that were perched charmingly on dedicated washstands. The impracticality of this trend quickly became evident; mounting the sink required an uncomfortably low counter height, plus it was difficult to clean the crevice where the basin met the countertop.

Instead, go with an under countertop mounted sink. For a design flair, consider a hammered metal sink.


Brass Patina on a Fountain Pen

Photo: SilkenB via Reddit

Brass exudes warmth, complements many designs and can give a home an air of 1950s or 1970s glam. Left unpolished, brass will develop a charming patina. As deterioration continues, your fixtures and accent pieces will take on a more rustic look, thus changing your design aesthetic.

Instead, opt for lacquered brass, which will maintain the look you opted for over a longer period of time. Plus, you will save time not having to polish the pieces.


Sheepskin Rug


When featured in interior design photos, sheepskin rugs and throws look pristine and seductively soft. In real life, they are likely hiding an errant Lego piece or food particles from a past meal. The material’s two-inch long fibers tend to “felt” over time, creating a matted mess that resembles a wild animal’s coat.

Instead, consider a more practical cow hide. The piece will evoke warmth and earthiness, while being easier to clean with a little soap and water.


Black Flooring Living Room


Ebony flooring offers urban sophistication when paired with white walls. However, if you’ve ever owned a black car, you know how quickly a dark surface can attract dirt and magnify a single spec of dust. Also, a chair pushed or pulled too aggressively can leave a scratch as glaring and regrettable as a permanent face tattoo.

Instead, a rich, deep stain on wood floors can add depth to a room. Plus, it’s more forgiving of everyday needs to move furniture as you go about your life.

Thanks for taking a stroll with us down memory lane at 7 bad home design trends from the last two decades. Trends come and go so quickly that even some of the items we mentioned in our 2016 Kitchen Home Design Trends post are already outdated! The key is not to go overboard with any one trend.