Whether you've fallen out of love with the color scheme or your space is just feeling a bit tired and lackluster, over time our homes can begin to feel dated and in need of a refresh. Sometimes, it's not so easy to put your finger on exactly what the problem is – it might be one design decision that's making the space feel off, or it could be a combination of a few.
If you can relate, it might be time to step back and take a look at your home to see what exactly is making your home feel dated in 2024. This way, you can identify the main bugbears and work on designing a home that never dates.
Not everyone finds it easy to identify the things that are making their home feel out of style, so we've asked interior designers to share their thoughts to help you spot the problem areas much more easily.
What's making a home look dated in 2024?
Finding the dated parts of your home and updating them might seem like a daunting task, but it can also help you find fun ways to inject character back into your space. And don't worry, sometimes you'll only need a quick fix to make your home feel rejuvenated once more.
With 2024 being coined the year of anti trends, you won't be surprised that interiors that lean too far into specific design trends can instantly make your home feel dated, especially if the trend in question has fallen out of style.
'After 2023 was so dominated by micro-trends – from Barbie-core to Dark Academia – decorating your whole home, top to bottom, in one viral aesthetic feels a little dated,' says Kathy Kuo, CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.
'Keep your interior design motif timeless, as well as full of real soul and personality, by carefully selecting high-quality furniture pieces that may cost a little more, but are designed to last much longer and pair beautifully with different small decor items that are easier to swap in and out.'
Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry.
2. Lack of color and pattern
Spaces with little depth of color and lacking pattern and personality will instantly feel dated. 2024 is all about adding character and individuality into interiors, so if your walls are sitting bare other than a cold shade painted on them, it's time to re-evaluate.
'We feel the overuse of tan, white, and gray are making spaces feel bland, uninspired and ordinary,' says the team at Houz of Rebel. 'To us, lack of smart home and eco-friendly features, popcorn ceilings, and matchy-matchy furniture sets are the sure-fire signs of an outdated look.'
So how do you inject a sense of character into your home? It's all about adding interesting textures to add dimension to your space. 'While one might think that certain design elements like dark woods, decorative moldings and bold, busy texture and pattering might be what makes a home look outdated, that is simply no longer the case. Homeowners are finally embracing the need for color, unique design and aspects of tradition and culture woven into their home’s personality,' they add.
'For bold and unique interior design to flourish in 2024, the key is to embrace unique artfulness, innovation, personal expression, and sustainability when possible. Move away from the safety of just decorating with neutral colors and embrace bold and vibrant color schemes. Have fun with color in statement furniture pieces, through vibrant art pieces to inject personality into the space, mix and match different textures and finishes and consider a marble kitchen countertop that doesn’t look like everyone else’s home from the past 5 years.'
3. Matching furniture
Gone are the days of matching your bedside tables, chest of drawers and bed frame. If everything in a room is all made from the same material in matching colors, it can leave your space feeling flat and in need of a refresh.
'In my view, what truly dates a home nowadays is the penchant for overly matching furniture pieces,' says interior designer Lauren Gilberthorpe. 'This approach always feels outdated. Instead, embracing a more eclectic, collected aesthetic is not only contemporary but also adaptable over time. It allows for personal expression and the ability to refresh your space without needing a complete overhaul.'
An effective way to create that more collected look is embracing vintage and decorating with antique pieces. They're not only beautifully made, but they will add an abundance of character into any room. A beautiful vintage dresser in the bedroom will certainly make a statement, or an old farmhouse kitchen table in a dining room will add a charming touch.
'Moving away from uniform finishes and incorporating a mix of unique, standalone pieces and antiques can significantly update and enhance the appeal of a space. This adds depth, interest, and a sense of individuality to a space,' adds Lauren.
4. Accent walls
Many design trends come in and out of style, and while some endure, others are making your home feel stuck in the past. 'Accent walls made a brief comeback, but they are back through the revolving door. While it was once a modern "pop", it feels too forced now,' says Barrett Oswald, partner and principal designer at Barrett Oswald Designs.
The alternative to an accent wall needn't be just a white room – there are plenty of ways to maintain character in an on-trend way. 'To upgrade this look, commit to fully wallpapering or painting a room which completes the story,' recommends Barrett. Wallpaper can be used in a number of ways, whether you take Barrett's advice and opt for a full papered room, or try a different route with a wallpapered ceiling.
If you'd prefer to move away from wallpaper altogether, there are other ways to add interest to your walls in an effective and timeless way. Wood paneling is always a great option as there are so many different styles to choose from depending on your style. 'Flat woodwork like shiplap is losing momentum,' warns Barrett, adding 'we expect to see more intricate moldings and detailed paneling this year.'
Barrett Oswald Designs is an interior design studio based in New York. Founded in 2015 by Barrett Oswald and MaryBeth Long, they focus on creating homes that are stylish and elevated that retain a sense of practicality and feel lived-in.
5. Abstract artwork
Sometimes it's not the larger design features such as wallpaper or color that are making your home feel dated. Sometimes it's the decorative additions, which are a much quicker and easier fix. One area of decor that can make or break the overall feel of your space is the art.
'While we come from the camp of "art is subjective", a heavy focus on abstract artwork is starting to look dated,' explains Barrett Oswald. 'We'll see people gravitating more toward unique pieces like photography and sculpture that really speaks to them,' she adds.
Similarly, leaning toward vintage prints and paintings will add plenty of interest to your space, and offers an easy solution to adding more color into a room. Or, if the artworks you already own are too sentimental or much-loved, try reframing them is something more bold or colorful. A red frame lends itself to the unexpected red theory, or simply introducing mismatched frames in a room adds a more eclectic feel.
6. Underwhelming lighting
Lighting is an aspect of the home that is often ignored and overlooked, but it has a huge effect on the overall appearance of our interiors. Every room in the home requires a different type of lighting – in a kitchen you might prefer something brighter as you cook and prepare meals, but in a living room or bedroom, more cozy, ambient lighting is much better suited.
The first thing to consider is the hue of your light bulbs. Anything too yellow will immediately make your home feel dated and uninviting. Opt for a white illumination in utilitarian rooms, and a subtle orange glow for a more ambient effect in cozier spaces.
The second component to look at when it comes you your home's lighting is the fixtures. Do they feel current and in-keeping with your interior design style? Ceiling lights in particular are a subtle detail, but change the whole feel and illumination of a room. In a living room, opt for a statement chandelier or pendant light, and add additional table and floor lamps for an added decorative element and to allow better control over lighting throughout the day.
7. Too much carpet
Carpets boast many qualities – they're a popular choice for making a room feel warmer and cozier. However, rooms with wall-to-wall carpets could be dating your home, so it might be time to consider a hardwood floor for a more timeless feel.
'A carpet covering almost the entire floor especially in the living areas makes a house lose its age. Transferring to hardwood floors or modern tiles immediately changes and modernizes the space, introducing grace and ease of maintenance,' says Artem Kropovinsky, founder & principal designer at Arsight.
You can still make hardwood floors feel warm – add a rug or two for softness underfoot or to introduce some color and pattern. Rugs are much easier to clean than carpets, and easy to swap out if your tastes change overtime.
8. Heavy window treatments
Thick, oversized curtains can date your home for a number of reasons, but the main problem is that they block natural daylight, leading do a dark and uninviting space. This style of window treatment can also cause a clash if your interior design style is more modern.
'Rooms become gloomy when heavy drapes prevent natural light. The new window treatments are lighter and more translucent, helping the area get the natural light and so, the place looks modern and more energetic,' says Artem.
Opt for sheer drapes if you want to keep some form of curtain, or opt for modern blinds or shutters for something more minimal. In this living room, natural-toned wooden shutters have been added, instantly adding warmth to the scheme.
It seems 2024 is all about introducing color and personality into your interiors. Whether you add interest with decorative items and art pieces or add dimension to walls with wallpaper or paneling, interior designers are recommending you decorate your home with the palettes and items you love most. Bland and boring designs are dating your space, so have fun with reinventing your interiors this year, and don't be precious about making everything look perfect.
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Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.
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