Figuring out what makes for good design is an admittedly subjective exercise: Ask a dozen experts their thoughts on, say, why faux Mid-Century Modern is still popular in American interior design long after “Mad Men” has left us, and you’ll likely get a dozen different opinions.
Nevertheless, some home design trends manage to rise to mass acceptance. Thanks to unstoppable forces like HGTV and Pinterest—which might be single-handedly responsible for the misguided installation of thousands of sliding barn doors over the past few years—these trends tend to take on a life of their own.
And sometimes they just won’t die, even when they absolutely should.
From backsplashes to mudroom floors to laundry room doldrums, the almighty cement tile reigned supreme this year. It was the darling of many a Pinterest board and crowed about in virtually every major design magazine.
But in 2018, you should wave goodbye, says Karen Wolf, principal designer at Karen B. Wolf Interiors in New Jersey.
“They look great, [but] the first issue is longevity,” she says. “Cement cracks. The second is the craziness of many of the patterns. Too bold, too graphic, too bright, 3-D, and, more often than not, they’re crammed into tiny spaces for impact.”
In other words, if you live in an 1800s farmhouse, a geometric pattern might seem wildly out of place. And, Wolf warns, “unlike wallpaper, this material is much harder to rip out.”
If you can’t say no to this trend, at least choose a well-crafted design in an appropriate pattern and color that you think you’ll like for years to come.
Ah, 2017—the year of the pineapple, the flamingo, and the philodendron leaf. We’ll be the first to admit that we loved this whimsical and exotic trend that made us feel like we were permanently on vacation. But it burned out fast.
“Although they add a fun aesthetic to bohemian-styled interiors, their loud patterns are great only for a season,” says Emilie Baltorinic, an interior designer at Living Spaces. “Unless you’re in a tropical climate, they tend to feel really out of place after summer has passed.”
3. Cacti everywhere
Photo by Ryan Wallcoverings
Cactus decor had a moment this year. The spiky succulents were growing like weeds in the corners of our living rooms, in our artwork, and on our wallpaper.
But now these prints “have become absolutely overdone,” Baltorinic says.
“What does it even mean? ‘I’m edgy’? ‘I went to Coachella’? I don’t get it,” says designer Christina Harmon, founder of luxury home goods site Epitome Home. “Living in California, I have a great appreciation for desert beauty, but kitschy cactus print doesn’t read that way to me anymore. It’s done.”
So leave the prickly plants where they belong: in your yard.
4. The chevron pattern
The basic chevron—a simple zigzag pattern that incorporates two colors—has been inescapable for the past few seasons, much to designers’ chagrin.
It seemed we couldn’t turn around in 2017 without bumping into some version of the pattern in everything from lampshades to backsplashes. But while it can be cute in kids’ rooms, “it looks cheap in adult living spaces,” Harmon says.
If you’re unwilling to let go of your chevron prints just yet, try incorporating more ornate versions of the pattern (herringbone is a nice alternative). Just don’t overdo it.
Once the prominent design feature in open-concept kitchens, the overstated hood fan is now officially so yesterday, with designers predicting it’ll soon be seamlessly integrated into cabinetry.
“Hood fans were never aesthetically pleasing in the first place, just utilitarian,” says designer Ana Cummings.
But thanks to HGTV, buyers went crazy for them as a design concept and they became visual centerpieces of the modern kitchen. No more! In 2018, Cummings predicts a return to sleek, streamlined kitchen design.
6. Farmhouse style
Photo by Inplace Studio
Let’s bring this one behind the barn and shoot it, shall we?
Call it the Chip and Joanna Gaines effect: Over the past four years, everyone this side of Waco, TX, wanted a farmhouse sink and shiplap walls. But in the new year—and with “Fixer Upper” coming to an end—the farmhouse chic style is starting to finally feel “a little too contrived,” says Oregon-based designer Arlene Lord.
Lord has a particular animus toward “those very, very overdone words or phrases you see on walls, plaques and pieces of wood. I mean, when you are at the beach do you really need a sign telling you that you are at the beach?”
The idea of farmhouse decor was OK in concept, designers say, but the execution went awry.
“While [the Gaines duo] brought farmhouse decor to the mainstream, unfortunately viewers took it to a whole new level,” says New York–based designer Tracy Stern. “Home decor lovers everywhere have been covering their entire house with items that look straight out of a barn.”
7. White-on-white everything
Photo by Milton Architects
Look, guys, we know that crisp white bedding seems like a beautiful idea. But we live in the real world—one where kids, pets, and the errant wine glass pose quite the threat to your nice new stuff.
“People are now embracing rich shades of brown, black, and green,” Stern says. “For a seductive yet sophisticated space, incorporate a signature black wall into your home. And if you’re drawn to more earthy tones, forest green and rust brown pops are a must.”
8. Tuscan-themed anything
Photo by JMA INTERIOR DESIGN
The love for Tuscan style goes deep: This trend started surfacing en masse in 2005 or 2006, designers say, and has hung on longer than expected.
With this decor theme, you get a lot of deep reds and golds, oil-rubbed bronze, travertine tile, and oversized furniture, giving an overall heavy, ornate look that pro designers say is dated.
“You see these a lot in California,” Harmon says. “But homes in Tuscany don’t actually look like this. Can I get some Milan in 2018?”
It’s everywhere, from your iPhone to your living room, and as a result, “it no longer feels special,” Harmon says.
10. The open floor plan
Photo by P2 Design
This is a tough one to call. The pros are highly conflicted on whether the open floor plan will persist in 2018. Some designers say consumers will continue to crave open space to facilitate family and social gathering and entertaining.
But for New Jersey interior designer Mark Polo, it’s a thing of the past.
“We are starting to entertain more traditionally, with sit-down dinners,” he says. “And there is nothing worse than seeing the dirty dishes and pots while you are serving the beef Wellington.”
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