Home Design Elements That Might Be Dating Your Home

Nowadays, trends seem to come and go in what seems like a matter of minutes. From fashion and hairstyles to home design, what was "in style" last month or year, may not be in anymore. Luckily, when it comes to home design, trends seem to stick around for a little bit longer, but what was in style last decade is certainly not in anymore. And while you might not notice the outdated design elements in your home, guests certainly will. And these things, no matter how big or small can make your entire home look outdated and much older than it is. But fear not, with the help of our team of designers, we've compiled a list of many home design elements that could be dating your home. Continue reading below for a list of “not-so-hot” home design elements, as well as what their “hot” counterparts are.

Not Hot: Popcorn Ceilings

First things first, let’s start with that popcorn ceiling. Back when popcorn, swirl and other "raised" ceilings were in style, their main purpose was to absorb sound. They were otherwise known as "Acoustic Ceilings" for this very reason. But since then, the materials we build with have advanced quite significantly. From the drywall to the insulation, today's building materials provide excellent sound absorption and eliminate the need for the bumps on your ceiling. In many cases, these ceilings can also make your ceiling feel much shorter than it is. This is because light will hit each bump and create shadows, making rooms feel darker and shorter.

Hot: Smooth Ceilings with Recessed Lighting

Today’s trend is smooth ceilings. So, what should you do if your home is full of popcorn ceiling rooms? In most cases, with some basic tools and some elbow grease, you can actually scrape the “popcorn” part of your ceiling off and then simply repaint to refinish your ceiling. If however, you plan to renovate the room anyway, you may want to consider having your renovation team remove the ceiling altogether. This way they can install a new, perfectly flat ceiling as well as some recessed pot lights (another home design trend). Together, these things will work wonders in making the room feel tall and bright. And don't worry, this is one design trend that we don't expect to go out of style for a long time— if ever. 

Kitchen with Recessed Lighting

Not Hot: Wood Panelling

Next on our “not-so-hot” list is wood panelling. You know, that paper thin, wood lookalike stuff that seems to be all too synonymous with basements. Yes, that stuff. Not only does wood panelling look very much outdated, but it also does a very lousy job of separating the sounds of one room from another. Not a great quality if you’re looking to add an extra bedroom, a home office or a movie lounge to the space.

Hot: Reclaimed Wood Feature Walls

Once you’ve ditched the wood panelling and replaced it with clean drywall, consider adding a wood feature wall if you’re craving some extra rustic charm. But don’t just use any wood to create your wall, one of today’s hottest home design trends is to create a feature wall using reclaimed wood. The wood can come from an old barn, century home, industrial building or even sometimes shipping pallets, and with some light sanding or planing and varnish, these once forgotten about boards can be transformed into the center of attention in any room.

Reclaimed Wood Feature Wall

Not Hot: Shag Carpet

Moving from the ceiling and walls down to the floor, it’s also time to ditch that shag carpet. Not only does the 70’s want its shag carpet back, but if you still have shag carpet in your home, chances are it’s very much in need of being replaced.

Hot: Hardwood Floors

Give your room a much-needed haircut and swap the shag carpeting for some gorgeous hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring comes in many different plank sizes as well as stains, so it's sure to fit with any design style you're trying to achieve. And even if hardwood isn't in the budget, there are many other budget-friendly options that can give you the look of hardwood. And for rooms that need something a little cozier, we recommend large, oversized rugs. They're easily replaced when they get tired, much more affordable, and they're also available in any shape, pattern or colour imaginable— perfect for when your room's colour palette changes. Hardwood and other wood lookalike floors are also proven to be more desirable to potential buyers than carpet should you ever decide to sell your home.

hardwood floor

Not Hot: Coloured Bathroom Fixtures

Remember the time when pink, brown, black and sometimes mint green bathtubs and toilets were in style? Dating back to the 1950s, yes, these fixtures were once in style. The Keyword here being “were”. Gone are those days (thankfully) and with them the coloured bathroom fixtures. So, if your bathroom is still sporting a tub or toilet that isn’t white, it’s time to remodel.

Yes, in some design styles a tub or toilet in a colour other than white is a must, but with over 30 years of design and home renovation experience, we’ve found that the majority of homeowners we work with have a design style that lends itself to white bathroom fixtures.

Hot: White Bathroom Fixtures & Curbless Showers

As you already know, white bathroom fixtures are the way to go 99.9% of the time. By using white fixtures, the design of your bathroom focuses on that gorgeous vanity, unique shower tile or some other design element that isn't your tub or your toilet. The last thing you want is for your toilet to be the center of attention. But we're not saying ditch all forms of colour in your bathroom, instead look to incorporate colour in your paint, décor, shower tile or even linens. If you find yourself getting bored with colours quite quickly, then we strongly recommend the décor or linens route. These things are much easier and less expensive to replace.

Lately, we’ve also been seeing a shift in bathroom design from tub and shower combos to homeowners ditching the tub altogether and installing a freestanding, curbless shower. These showers are great ways to make the bathroom feel much bigger than it is and provides a spa-like appeal to the room. From seamless showers without curbs and even doors to tubs being incorporated right into the custom shower stall, bathroom design has seen a significant shift to a cleaner, more modern and unobtrusive design.

curbless shower

Not Hot: Carpeted Bathrooms

Sticking with the bathroom theme, if your bathroom is sporting carpet of any sort, it’s time to remove it. Why? Because, well, gross…

Hot: Tile Floor Bathrooms

Instead of carpet, use tile to create a durable, easy to clean floor for your in-home spa. In settings where moisture is involved, tile has been proven to be more durable than hardwood and laminate flooring. This is why you'll often find tile in the bathroom and the kitchen. Tile comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours and patterns so we guarantee you can find something you love that fits your design and budget. And while you're at it, why not incorporate heated flooring into your bathroom for a pleasant surprise stepping out of the shower each morning?

tile floor

Not Hot: Tile Countertops

Moving to the kitchen, it’s time to address the tile countertop that seemed to be quite popular during the 70s and 80s. Most of the time, these countertops will use medium-large square tiles, but sometimes it varies. And yes, you may have read that these countertops are trying to make a comeback, but if you’re about to renovate your kitchen, we suggest against them. This is because while they can be quite affordable and easily customized, they can also be a pain to clean— requiring you to scrub every last line of grout to achieve a perfectly clean countertop. And over time, that grout will break down and become brittle much quicker than a solid slab countertop. This will require additional spending and could very well end up being more expensive than if you had of gone with a solid slab countertop in the first place.

Hot: Solid Slab Countertops

Instead, choose a solid slab countertop for a timeless, seamless and durable countertop. These countertops are available in a variety of colours, patterns, materials and textures (yes, textures) so it's easy to find an option that suits the design of your kitchen and your renovation budget. And as we mentioned above, as a solid slab with minimal seams, they're much easier to keep clean and less of a chance of needing to be replaced. They truly are a win-win.

When choosing your countertop material, we suggest consulting with an expert. While they all may look similar, they are very different. Depending on what type of material you choose, they all have their pros and cons so speaking with an expert will ensure you select the right option for your home and family.

Slab countertop

Those are just a handful of home design elements that could be dating your home. And although we’ve shared our opinion on what design features are “in”, it’s important to remember that your home should reflect your family's personality and design taste. If you love that vintage mint green bathroom in your home, then love it. Don't let other peoples' opinions determine what you like and don't like. At the end of the day, it's your home, and only you have to love it. But if you feel your home is in need of some updating and are having trouble envisioning the transformation or finding a place to start, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone, email or on social media. A member of our team would be more than happy to walk you through our renovation process and help you narrow down your unique design style.


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Canadian Home and Renovation Team has 40 years of experience as renovators and builders in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.

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Professional designers, craftsmen and renovators in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding area since 1980.