There is nothing as peaceful and pleasant than a well-designed room. It’s been proven that an attractive, visually appealing, and clean room is more calming and soothing for the mind.[1] As a result, it’s important to take stock of your interior design on a regular basis. Do you love your home, or are you guilty of some of the worst interior design trends of all time?

Did you know that your interior design is proven to affect your subconscious and affect how you feel from day to day? It’s true! Your colour scheme, furniture choices, and artwork will all affect your mind, affecting your overall mood.[2] Different elements will make you feel happy, others will frustrate you, and still others will evoke nostalgia or even melancholy. That’s why it’s a smart idea to design every component of your home with care and consideration.  

Of course, everyone has their own preferences and pet peeves. Part of the beauty of interior design is that everyone is individual. We all have our own sense of personal taste, and sometimes it just doesn’t matter if something you love is ‘out of style.” We’re all for filling your home with things that bring you joy!

However, sometimes we don’t realise when a once-beloved element has seen better days. When you take a step back and look at your wall paint, framed art, or sofa with fresh eyes, you might realise you’re simply over it. Does this sound familiar?

While there are countless interior design trends out there that may have seen every day, a few come up again and again.


Which interior design trends should you avoid?

Check out our list of ten design trends that it might be best to avoid. Are you guilty of any of these bad interior design no-nos?

Quotes on your walls

Inspirational quotes may look good in a gym or a school, but they can be especially grating when they’re spread around a home! While we appreciate the sentiment behind a saying like “Live, Laugh, Love”, quotes on your walls look dated and dare we even say, basic. A recent poll of women across the UK listed inspirational wall quotes as their number one interior design pet peeve!

According to the survey, people cited hating, “trite quotes about families or love or brainless spirituality…  and any twee signs that say how sassy and independent you are, or how you seize the day and dance in the rain.”[3]

Decals on your walls

Carrying on from the point above, nothing is tackier or more dated than a big decal on your wall instead of artwork. At best, they look like a lazy way to bring interest and art into a space, and at worst they look like a bad ‘90s tribal tattoo!

Elevate your home, respect your space and take the time to select actual artwork rather than adhering a decal on your walls.

Wood-panelled walls in any room


Wood panelling was the hottest design trend in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and even into the ‘80s (full disclosure – my childhood home was packed with the stuff and looked exactly like the photo above!). While it was occasionally made from the real thing, wood-panelled walls are usually comprised of a cheap laminate made to look like the grain of actual wood.

Sure, you’ll occasionally see articles that announce that ‘wood panelling is back,’ but don’t fall for the hype.[4] White shiplap and real wood panelling in light colours may look on-trend now, but they’ll soon be as dated and out of style as their ‘70s counterparts.

Using too much animal print and/or exotic animal hides

Animal print can undoubtedly be fun, flirty, and eclectic, but too animal print is often considered tacky and gauche. If you do decide to use some animal print in your interior design, make sure you avoid using real animal skins and fur. Not only is it considered a design faux pas, but it will also certainly turn off your guests.

Making things to matchy-matchy

Does the room above make you feel calm, or are you stifling a yawn? For most of us, it’s the latter! Having a cohesive colour scheme is always a good idea, but it’s very easy to go overboard and end up with a dull result. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a room loaded with too much of the same bold or bright colours is just as bad (if not worse). It can be jarring and frenetic to be surrounded only by varying shades of red, blue, or yellow.

Instead, try the 60 – 30 – 10 rule, in which 60% of the room (usually a neutral on the walls and some of the furniture) is one colour, 30% is a secondary colour (a bolder colour), and 10% is an accent colour (another statement colour that complements the secondary colour).[5]

Keeping your clutter out in the open

Sure, some design trends emphasise layers upon layers of knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, and tchotchkes. Victorian design, for instance, is all about ‘organised clutter’ – previous generations thought it looked elegant and classy to display all of their attractive possessions [6]

Today, too much clutter looks, well, cluttered! It can cause visual stress, overwhelming your senses and leading to more tension in your day to day life.[7] Display your favourite objects and keep the rest tucked safely away.

Choosing the wrong scale furniture for the room

Some trends champion oversized sofas and stuffed chairs, while others recommend daintier, smaller furniture. But as trends come and go, you’ll be better off with the ‘Goldilocks’ approach – find something ‘just right!’

The ideal lounge room offers a mix of scale and shapes, but if your sofa is too big for the space everything will look cramped and cluttered. It can really make the entire room feel too small! On the other hand, a sofa that is too tiny for your needs is pretty useless – just have a look at the photo above!

Choose a sofa, coffee table, and chairs that fit the size and shape of the room, and that work for you and your family.

Choosing an overly trendy rug

Every year, there seems to be an ‘it’ rug that makes the rounds on interior design blogs, Instagram, and in magazines. It’s cute, it’s affordable, and suddenly it’s everywhere, from Ikea to Homesense to Debenhams! While you might be lured in by its charms, just remember that in a few years it will seem very ‘of its moment.’ Not only will everybody have it, but the design will also seem dated and played out. Instead, choose rugs that are individual to your tastes and really work with your interiors.

All Icy Grey Interiors (or all neutrals)

While a soft and neutral colour palette can make a room feel sophisticated and fresh, when you go over the top with the scheme it can look bland and boring. Don’t get us wrong – a classic icy grey interior can look fantastic but remember to implement the 60-30-10 rule mentioned above. Be sure to add a secondary colour and pops of an accent hue.

Popcorn ceilings

Popcorn ceilings were a massive trend in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and now they just look incredibly dated. They were originally meant to hide imperfections and add texture and interest to a room, but now they just look like you’re stuck in the past. According to interior paint expert Meghan Stewart with Paintzen, their strange texture of popcorn ceilings disrupts a clean finish.[8] Instead, she says, “if you want to make your ceiling stand out, we recommend adding some colour and treating it like your fifth wall. It can still be eye-catching, without the rigid finish.”


At the end of the day, go with what you love

At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of bad interior design. The best strategy when designing your home is to choose a classic design, add a few trendy elements, and add decorations and art that you love.


Reference list

Bourg Carter, S. (2014). Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies#:~:text=Clutter%20bombards%20our%20minds%20with [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Hathaway Timmons, D. (2019). 60-30-10 Color Rule: How to Use It, and When You Should Break It. [online] The Spruce. Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/timeless-color-rule-797859 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Home, I. (2017). The worst interior design trends according to the internet. [online] Ideal Home. Available at: https://www.idealhome.co.uk/news/worst-interior-design-trends-180345 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Lauren, A. (2019). Interior Designers On The Design Trends They Hate Most. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/06/18/interior-designers-share-their-least-favorite-current-design-trends/#199b8de52b76 [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Lee, K. (2019). Battle on Bric-A-Brac: America’s Changing Views on Clutter - Fishwrap The official blog of Newspapers.com. [online] Fishwrap - Newspapers.com Blog. Available at: https://blog.newspapers.com/battle-on-bric-a-brac/ [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Ryback, R. (2016). The Powerful Psychology Behind Cleanliness. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201607/the-powerful-psychology-behind-cleanliness [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Steelman, L. (2017). Why You Should Reconsider Wood Paneling. [online] Real Simple. Available at: https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/wood-paneling [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].

Taylor, C. (2016). Aesthetics and Well-Being: How Interior Design Affects Your Happiness – PsychologyTomorrowMagazine. [online] Psychologytomorrowmagazine.com. Available at: https://psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/aesthetics-and-well-being-how-interior-design-affects-your-happiness/ [Accessed 24 Sep. 2020].


[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-truisms-wellness/201607/the-powerful-psychology-behind-cleanliness

[2] https://psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/aesthetics-and-well-being-how-interior-design-affects-your-happiness/

[3] https://www.idealhome.co.uk/news/worst-interior-design-trends-180345

[4] https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/wood-paneling

[5] https://www.thespruce.com/timeless-color-rule-797859

[6] https://blog.newspapers.com/battle-on-bric-a-brac/

[7] https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies#:~:text=Clutter%20bombards%20our%20minds%20with,relax%2C%20both%20physically%20and%20mentally.

[8] https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/06/18/interior-designers-share-their-least-favorite-current-design-trends/#199b8de52b76