8 Trends Our Designers Avoid (And What They Embrace Instead)

8 Trends Our Designers Avoid (And What They Embrace Instead)

8 Trends Our Designers Avoid (And What They Embrace Instead)

We asked six designers to reveal which design trends they avoid in their own home, and which stylish alternatives they incorporate instead.

Our designers love gushing about their favorite interior trends—from sculptural pendants to their latest wallpaper obsession. And while we could wax poetic about the latest and greatest in design for hours, we often find ourselves wondering which trends our designers aren’t so fanatical about. Recently, we took the plunge and asked them which trends they secretly tip toe around in their own homes, and the answers were far from expected.

Modern Pastel Furniture

Julieta Alvarez: One specific trend I don’t recommend is the use of ultra-modern furniture in pastel colors. Buying furniture in these colors will date your space faster and potentially reduce the value of your investment pieces. It will also probably look out of place with the surrounding rooms unless they are all done in that specific style.

Designer-approved alternative: If you still want a pastel fix, consider inexpensive pastel items, like removable wallpaper (as showcased in the room below) and throw pillows, that you can easily swap out if they begin looking a bit dated.

Design by: Deanna Dewey
Photo by: Genevieve Garruppo

Rattan In Excess

Ana Claudia Schultz: Don’t get me wrong, I like a beautiful rattan headboard or the comeback of 1930s canned chairs—but sparingly. If you have a whole room with rattan furniture, then you’re pretty much on the Golden Girls set.

Designer-approved alternative: If your heart is set on rattan, invest in one piece or set that complements the other design components in your space, as Tali Roth and Crystal Sinclair deftly demonstrate below.

Design by: Tali Roth, Crystal Sinclair
Photo by: Claire Esparros

Excessive Photography

Allie McMunn: My personal design pet peeve is when people display too many photos. I know it can often be difficult to downsize family photo collections, but nothing ruins a perfectly styled home more than hundreds of mismatched frames on a beautiful console.

Designer-approved alternative: Build a well-thought-out gallery wall of photos. This allows you to display a large number of photos in an organized fashion.

Unwanted Heirlooms

Megan Crawley: The first thing that comes to mind for me is family heirlooms that my clients don’t actually like, especially large furniture pieces that don’t fit in the space or work with the client’s design style. I love mixing in antiques and pieces with history to create a curated feel, but sometimes a piece just doesn’t work. When it has sentimental value, it’s hard to let go, but doing so is important to creating a space that is cohesive and well-balanced. Passing the piece on to another family member is often the best way to find it a new home. Moving it to storage in case it works in a future space is another great option.

Designer-approved solution: Find creative ways to incorporate sentimental touches—think a personal gallery wall of printed and framed family photos. Pro tip: change the color to black and white or sepia and enlarge them to create a cohesive feel (as Gianna Marzella and Liz Lipkin nail in the images below).

Design by: Gianna Marzella, Liz Lipkin
Photo by: Seth Caplan, Sean Litchfield

Floating Shelving

Crystal Sinclair: I’m not a fan of floating shelves at random levels. Floating shelves are tricky within themselves and are often not grounded. When there are multiple shelves at different levels, it looks too un-thought out.

Designer-approved alternative: Opt for symmetrical or built-in shelving units that add purpose and function to your space—they’ll give your books, art, and decorative items the moment they deserve.

Design by: Shelby Knowles
Photo by: David Berlekamp

Fake Plants

Ana Claudia Schultz: With the insurgence of cactus and succulents, caring for plants has never been easier, so there’s no need to fake plants. I do use dried plants sparingly in the winter because fresh flowers are harder to get upstate during the cold-weather months.

Designer-approved alternative: When it comes to plants, invest in the real deal (like Emma Beryl showcases below) for an authentic, Eden-like vibe.

Design by: Emma Beryl
Photo by: Nick Glimenakis

Cookie-Cutter Style

Cindy De Luzuriaga: Sticking with old trends, copying inspiration images, and cookie-cutter kitchens should be on the out list. Trust designers a little on new trends so your space doesn’t look dated in a year or two or look like everyone else’s space. I understand wanting to have a timeless space, but a little character and personality doesn’t hurt.

Designer-approved alternative: Add personality through eclectic touches that are unique to you and your taste—as Katherine Carter masters in the living room below.

Design by: Katherine Carter
Photo by: Meghan Beierle O’Brien

Modern Overload

Ariel Okin: I personally tend to gravitate more toward warmer, traditional aesthetics in my own home, so super sleek and shiny modern elements are a no go for me. While I definitely appreciate the sparse vibes of a highly modern space, I like having a little bit of patina in my personal abode.

Designer-approved alternative: To give your space a lived-in vibe, select unstuffy pieces that don’t feel too precious.

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