Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

An interior designer shared the items and designs she’d never put in her own home.Shutterstock

  • Jennifer Walter, an interior designer, shared the decor items she’d never have in her own home.

  • Matching sets in bedrooms and kitchens are missed opportunities to add personality, she said.

  • Walter also recommended replacing canvas pop art with one-of-a-kind, elevated pieces.

Decorating your home can be simultaneously fun and overwhelming. Because so many trends come and go, it’s more important than ever to know which decor items are worth the investment.

Jennifer Walter, the principal designer and owner of Folding Chair Design Co., has over 13 years of interior-design experience, so Insider asked her to share the pieces she’d never put in her own home.

Canvases with scenic photos or pop art can look more like stock images than home decor.

photo of city on canvas sitting on gray cushion

Walter avoids hanging printed canvases and orders reasonably priced pieces online instead.Shutterstock

According to Walter, low-quality photos and artwork on canvases have faded in popularity for a reason: Many look like stock images or mass reprints.

“While high-end art does in fact come on a canvas, it’s those pop-art frogs and scenic sunsets we can’t put in our homes,” the designer told Insider.

As an alternative, Walter recommended looking for reasonably priced artwork on sites like Etsy, Minted, and Society6. These pieces give rooms a more elevated style. Plus, they usually come framed and ready to hang.

Even though barn doors are popular, they don’t necessarily work in every type of space.

bedroom with barn door on the left, fan on ceiling and bed on the right

Many people use barn doors to cover big walls, but Walter doesn’t like them.Shutterstock

Though the modern-farmhouse aesthetic has been in style for some time, Walter said you’ll never find a barn door in her home.

“The barn door seemed to solve all of our woes with its large scale, its ability to cover a wall needing art, and the way it conveniently closes over a door,” the designer told Insider. “However, we’ve never really been fans of the trend.”

Walter’s clients have asked for barn doors in many different rooms that aren’t in farmhouses, and she said they just don’t work in all types of spaces.

Tuscan kitchens can look dated and dark inside.

tuscan style kitchen with wooden cabineta, a stone stove backsplash, and iron black chandelier

Tuscan kitchens have earthy tones and iron finishes.Shutterstock

Tuscan-style decor is another trend that needs to be put to bed, Walter said. Think pink terra-cotta floor tiles, focal-point tile patterns behind range hoods, and swirly iron accents.

The good news, according to Walter, is that artisan tile is back in a big way.

“If you liked the natural look and feel of the materials from the Tuscan era, take a look at Zellige tile,” Walter told Insider. “It’s handmade, comes in a multitude of colors, and has a very age-old look to it.”

School pictures and family photos shouldn’t be a room’s focal point unless you display them in a creative way.

family photos on fireplace ledge

People can display photos of their loved ones in original, aesthetically pleasing ways.Shutterstock

It’s OK to have a few framed family photos on nightstands or console tables, but Walter said hanging kids’ 8-by-10 class photos on a huge wall with nothing else can zap the style out of a room.

If you choose to display pictures of your family, opt to do so in more artistic ways.

“Find very abstract or less obvious photos, blow them up to 24-by-24 squares, and frame them together in a hall,” Walter told Insider.

For instance, if you want to show off your pup, use a black-and-white photo of the animal sleeping in a bedroom as the focal art.

Halogen floor lamps can pose fire hazards. Luckily, there are many more glamorous options.

halogen light bulb on bamboo background

The 500-watt bulbs can reach temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.Shutterstock

“If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s you probably had a halogen lamp,” Walter said. “You’d throw it in the corner of the room, walk in, and turn its dimmer up to light the room in halogen goodness.”

However, torchiere-style halogen floor lamps can pose major fire hazards, as their 500-watt bulbs’ temperatures can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The designer recommended exploring other modern floor lamps with glamorous designs instead.

“The floor-lamp game is pumped up right now with amazing new shades in rattan and velvet as well as models with huge shades, making them sculptural statements as much as light sources,” the designer told Insider.

Mixed flooring materials and synthetic wood finishes often clash.

laminate floor on home

Floors should be the same material, or at the very least, they should complement each other.Shutterstock

“Nothing says poor decisions like a home with hardwood in one room, laminate in a completely different color in another, and then tile in the mudroom beside it,” Walter told Insider.

The designer suggested installing one type of flooring and finish. If you can’t afford to refinish or replace hardwood flooring, she said to opt for another material that complements it, like a large format tile or even carpet.

Matching furniture sets take away the opportunity to add personality to rooms.

simple plain bedroom

You don’t always want your headboard to match your dresser.Shutterstock

“When renovating, we see a lot of homes with an entire bedroom set. Bed, dresser, highboy, nightstands – they’re all the same,” Walter told Insider. “Same goes for kitchens. The white-legged table with the veneer top and matching chairs have all seen their day.”

Decorating is about personality and variety, the designer said, so when everything in the room is the same, there’s very little that’s special about it. She likes to pick all the individual pieces that go in a room.

“With the influx of stain-resistant fabrics on kitchen and dining chairs, the option to infuse upholstery into these rooms is easier than ever,” Walter told Insider.

Metal window treatments can give rooms a sterile feel.

black kitchen with silver sink and metal blinds

Walter prefers blinds with more texture.Getty Images

No window treatment should have metal as its primary material, according to Walter. There are so many options to choose from online and through workrooms (if you’re using a designer), making horizontal metal blinds obsolete.

“Soft woven shades used to be hard to come by, but now, most online blinds companies carry a variety of finishes and textures to make your windows pop without the expensive price tag that custom treatments sometimes carry,” Walter told Insider.

Wood signs with slogans on them aren’t the best use of wall space.

wooden sign that says "home sweet home" hanging on wall

Walter opts for vintage signs instead of wooden ones with slogans.Shutterstock

Wood script signs are officially dead, according to Walter.

“We know you are living, laughing, and loving, but we don’t need a sign to say it,” she told Insider. “Same goes for ‘Café,’ ‘Bless This House,’ and ‘It’s Wine O’Clock.'”

For those tempted by signs in their local big-box store, Walter suggested sourcing a vintage one from eBay or Etsy instead.

“Artwork also comes in all shapes and sizes now, so you can find just the right piece for above the doorway,” the designer said.

Sofas with cupholders tend to be bulky, and they typically don’t exude style.

gray cushion sofa with cupholders

Sofas with cupholders and charging stations can feel oversized.Getty Images

Sofas with built-in features to charge electronics, hold beverages, or light up typically don’t exude style, according to Walter. And you won’t find one in her space.

If you have a theater or a room for relaxation, she suggested getting a sectional or seats with matching ottomans and chaises.

“They can be made in hundreds of different fabrics and still feel chic in any space,” she said.

Read the original article on Insider


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