Popular interior design trends to stop following, and what to do instead

  • Insider spoke to three interior designers to find out which popular decorating trends people should stop following and what they can do instead.
  • All-white kitchens are a popular trend, but one designer told Insider you're better off adding a pop of color to the room through your cabinets or countertops. 
  • One expert said you may want to skip the shiplap and instead try using wallpaper or beadboard to decorate your walls.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

From accent walls to all-white kitchens, interior-design fads come and go. Fortunately, many dated trends are fairly easy to replace.

Here are some popular decorating trends you may want to stop following and what you should do instead, according to interior designers. 

Shiplap had its moment, but other decorative wall accents like wallpaper or beadboard can look great, too.

If you really love shiplap (a type of wooden board that's often used on the exterior of homes and installed horizontally), consider using it in small doses rather than putting it on every vertical surface, Suzan Wemlinger, principal interior designer at Suzan J Designs, told Insider.

Wemlinger said you might want to instead cover walls in beadboard (a type of wooden board that's typically installed vertically) because, unlike shiplap, it's "classic, not trendy."

She said you could also try using a graphic wallpaper instead because it can "make more of a statement."

Many people replace their upper cabinets with open shelves, but you may be better off following this trend in smaller doses.

Open shelving is popular in kitchens, but Wemlinger told Insider that it's not exactly a "sustainable way for a kitchen to function well."

So if you love the look of shelving but want to try something more practical, Wemlinger said she suggests putting smaller shelves on either side of your stove, and using them to store oils, spices, and a few plates and bowls.

"That way, the spices and oils are readily accessible for cooking and you still get your open shelves," Wemlinger said. 

Using the same pattern over and over again in your home creates a matchy-matchy vibe. Instead, try mixing and matching prints.

"It usually isn't a good design move to have the same pattern everywhere, especially if it's one pattern, but not matching fabrics," Wemlinger told Insider.

Instead, she said suggests mixing patterns of different styles, such as geometrical with floral — or switching up the textures in your room by having a variety of fabrics on your draperies, rugs, and upholsteries. 

Instead of picking up cheap furniture that you build yourself, consider shopping secondhand.

Due to its affordable pricing, "disposable furniture" that's not meant to last very long is an easily accessible and popular way for those on a budget to buy trendy furnishings.

But interior designer Iantha Carley, owner of Iantha Carley Interiors, told Insider that she'd like to see more people buying furniture from thrift stores.

For starters, the pieces you find secondhand will often be rather durable and be made of higher-quality materials.

"Think about the lifespan of each item," Carley told Insider. "If it's something that will end up in a landfill on your next move, consider furniture from a second-hand shop."

All-white kitchens can look sparse, so you might want to try changing up your countertop stone or adding a pop of color to your cabinetry.

Unless you're going for an ultra-modern look, you should opt for a hint or more of color for your cabinetry or countertops, Carley told Insider.

"If you have an island, spice things up with a mix of paint and stain finishes," she said. "But as far as countertops go, there are so many exotic marbles and other natural stones that create a lot more interest than white marble or granite."

Instead of making your walls a pale, neutral color, try covering them with patterned wallpaper or painting them a brighter shade.

Interior designer Taylor DeBartola said he is tired of seeing rooms with white walls, pastel wallpaper, and "few, if any, strong colorful elements in the room." 

"My hope for 2020 and beyond is that people have the boldness to trust themselves to embrace the idea that color doesn't have to only exist on the spines of books and a throw pillow or two," DeBartola told Insider.

He said painting walls in colors like white, gray, and pale pink can make a room look dated, since those shades' trendiness peaked around 2015. 

"Paint your walls an actual color, experiment with wallpaper, have an abstract mural done on your ceilings," he said. "You'll find that there's usually only a couple of wrong answers and hundreds of right answers for what to do with your space."

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