7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated (and What to Do Instead)
Prevent any "What was I thinking?" moments a few years from now with these fresh —not faddish—ideas from Elements of Style author Erin Gates.
The Backsplash Accent That Cuts the Walls in Half
That once-popular stripe of tiny, sea-toned square glass tiles—or practical, 4-inch strip of granite—above the stove isn't just out of vogue; the contrasting color cuts your walls in half, making the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. To open things up, choose stone mosaic tiles in a herringbone pattern, or rows of white subway tiles, and extend them all the way to the ceiling (even behind and around the hood), recommends Erin Gates, the interior designer and blogger behind ElementsofStyle.com, and author of the New York Times-bestselling book, Elements of Style.
The Throw Pillows That Set Pinterest on Fire
If the social network created a time capsule to chronicle its meteoric rise to fame in 2011, you better believe it would've included a pair of turquoise-and-white throw pillows. While the zigzag itself is timeless, its use—and that particular color combination—has been overdone, Gates says, much like green Imperial Trellis fabric years earlier. The easiest way to freshen things up? "Find a more unexpected way to use it, like black-and-white tile in a chevron pattern on the floor, or an ikat-chevron fabric on curtains, which doesn't have the same crisp lines you normally associate with the print," she explains.
The Stylish Pouf That's Better Off as an Ottoman
Moroccan poufs have been touted as the entertainer's standby for extra seating, but they're typically too low to the ground to actually be comfortable to sit on, Gates says. Swap it out for a pair of X benches—you can tuck them under a console table when they're not in use, and at 18 to 19 inches tall, they're the same height as most chairs and sofas. For a truly timeless style, try a pair in leather.
The Cabinets Used in Almost Every Early 2000s Home Makeover Show
Maple and oak wood-stained cabinets (especially those with ornate, French-ish carvings) instantly age a kitchen, but thankfully, it's nothing a few coats of paint can't fix. White is a no-fail choice—Gates swears by Decorator's White and White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Navy or black paint makes carved details less noticeable, though Gates recommends painting only the lower cabinets and island in darker colors, if your ceilings are 8 feet tall or shorter.
The All-Caps Word
Consider a more subtle alternative to those metal signs spelling out "eat," "family" or "love" in 16-inch letters: In place of the "eat" sign in a kitchen, Gates suggests wrapping a corkboard in linen and framing it with molding to create wall art that doubles as a command center for your to-do lists, recipes and postcards. She recommends gallery wall of black-and-white photos of family members that you add to over time that telegraph the theme. "Just avoid those collage-frame kits or only using photos from one group photo shoot, or it will look too matchy-matchy," Gates says.
The Pendant Light Fixture Installed in Every New Home
If your house was built in the aughts, there's a good chance you've got overhead lights that look like frosted wine glasses dangling from the ceiling. The real problem with these mini-pendants? They're always too small, Gates says. For a better—and more timeless—source of light, try an orb shape with an antique brass finish, like Hinkley's Congress light or a two-tone David Hicks pendant.
The Sleigh That Doesn't Come with Eight Reindeer
As grand as a sleigh bed looks, it can really swallow up a bedroom, making the space seem cramped. Canopy beds have been making a huge comeback recently, Gates says, though the posts are thinner and less detailed than what you remember from late '80s, and the top is kept bare. The tall posts draw your eye up, but they don't take up as much space, making the room seem airier and more open than its predecessor. Plus, this streamlined style doesn't require that you live in a Georgian manor: The thin frame doesn't overwhelm standard 8-foot ceilings. Pair with an upholstered headboard to add a touch of plushness; otherwise the bed can look sterile.