Some home design features from the past have a charm that makes them feel historic or vintage. Others? They haven’t quite stood the test of time. A trend that was so ubiquitous in one particular era that it instantly dates your home can be a flag to friends (or future homeowners, if you’re thinking about selling) that you haven’t renovated in decades. Of course, you may not care if your home is on trend. If you absolutely love a quirky feature, by all means keep it. But if you’re planning some renovations or if you’re thinking about resale value, you should consider updating these 10 things that make your home feel outdated.
Dark Wood Paneling
Dark wood paneling was so popular in the 1960s and ’70s that it was once nearly almost impossible to avoid in any neighborhood. Today, while many homeowners have phased out the dark and dreary feature in favor of neutral or brightly painted drywall, paneling remains in plenty of homes that haven’t been remodeled in decades. If you have real wood paneling, consider bleaching or painting over it to freshen it up. If, however, the walls are covered by sheets of wood-look panels, pull them off now!
There was a time when wall-to-wall carpeting was a luxurious must-have, but these days it’s all about hardwood. Although carpeting adds comfort underfoot and absorbs sound—which is especially important in bedrooms—consider upgrading to wood on the main floor of your home. Not only is it more in step with today’s home trends, but it’s more hygienic too.
Honey Oak Cabinets
A staple in kitchens of the 1980s and ’90s, these golden-toned wood cabinets have fallen out of favor as white and gray cabinets have risen in popularity. If you don’t like your light-stained cabinets, but they’re in good shape, consider refinishing or painting what’s there.
It’s a subtle change, but as the neutral of choice has shifted to gray, warmer beiges—ones with undertones of pink, yellow, or peach—are starting to feel out of date. If gray is too cool for you, consider a greige (that’s gray + beige), which is a light neutral with both cool (gray) and warm (brown) notes.
This nubby treatment gave ceilings everywhere a textured look through the mid-20th century—and provided a challenge to anyone trying to clean cobwebs from the upper corners of a room. Despite their current lack of popularity, popcorn ceilings are still around today in lots of homes, because removal of these ceilings, some of which contain asbestos, can be expensive, messy, and potentially health threatening.
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Fremont, CA
Pink toilets, tubs, sinks, and more were popular in the 1950s—so if they’re still in your home, that’s a clear sign that no one’s remodeled since then! But before you renovate, be aware that these throwback fixtures are still popular among a certain set, so see if you can find your old porcelain a new home.
Popular in the 1960s and ’70s for their durability, wipe-clean convenience, and low price point, laminate countertops, particularly Formica, were a mark of pride. Though the material is still a good, affordable option, it’s no longer as popular as natural or engineered stone countertops like marble, granite, and quartz.
Shiny Gold Fittings
In the early 1990s, shiny brass faucets, light fixtures, and hardware were the norm, beloved for their flashy sheen. Though gold-toned hardware is on its way back into style, these newer versions are more muted in tone and feature rounded or geometrically inspired silhouettes instead of the clunky shapes of 20 years ago.
Avocado Green Appliances
The first kitchen appliances were white, but the 1950s brought a rainbow of pastels, and the late 1960s introduced bolder shades, most infamously avocado green, which peaked in the ’70s. If you have an avocado green oven in your kitchen today, it’s screaming out that your kitchen hasn’t been updated in almost 50 years. But kudos to you for keeping it in good shape for so long!
Built-In Media Cabinets
A 19th-century staple that enjoyed a revival in the late 1980s and early ’90s, this fussy floral wallpaper feels out of date today. Done right, it can add vintage flair in an eclectic space—but done wrong, it just looks like Grandma decorated your space (no offense, Gram).
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Vienna, VA