Designers say you're making your home look outdated if you aren't doing any of these things
Bring your home into the modern era with these fixes & swaps.
Updated: Feb. 26, 2023 Originally Published: November 19, 2022
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Almost every day, I run across a ton of home projects that claim to be super easy and
necessary for a trendy home. Honestly, I’m going to need a bit more than a social media post before I buy some paint and attempt to completely redo my kitchen cabinets. So, I reached out to designers and experts to see what is truly making homes look outdated — and how to give them a little bit of love.
So, I’ve organized all of their problems with chic solutions into a list with all of the products you’ll need for these super easy updates. Simply reach for a set of bold
throw pillow covers to match your sofa’s upholstery, a vibrant rug to add color to a room instead of painting your walls, or tuck real plants next to your favorite decor pieces. Of course, there’s also the versatile paint you’ll need if you do want to paint those cabinets.
You may not even know that the room you’re sitting in right now is a little tired, but with some expert advice, you’ll be on your way to a stylish, refreshed home soon.
Hanging wall art at the perfect height for a professional look Solution: Use this picture hanging kit for perfectly-placed art
Silver Verga also recommends hanging your trendy wall art at the perfect height. “Make sure your pictures are centered at about 60 [inches] off the ground,” she says. Why? “The average person shouldn’t have to look up to enjoy the art.”
Now that you know exactly where to hang your wall art, grab this
picture hanging and leveling kit to make it even easier. It comes with a bunch of different hanging hardware and a compact tool that makes the actual process super simple — just press it into the wall to mark perfect holes. There’s even a level so that trendy print is perfect the first time. Getting tools to make window cleaning easier Solution: Or use this cleaning tool for rooms with a ton of windows
To follow Charles’s advice and thoroughly clean even high up windows, use a
squeegee with four machine-washable microfiber clothes as a quick way to freshen up a space with a bunch of oversized windows. It has an handle that extends up to 62 inches and a flexible, lightweight design, so you can easily clean the tops of tall windows to let in as much light as possible. Sliding your furniture around to create a layout that feels updated Solution: Add these moving pads under your furniture before rearranging
Jeanette Fusco, an interior designer at
Home Picks tells Mic the easiest fix for an outdated home (plus, it’s budget-friendly): “Simply rearrange the furniture,” she says. “This can create a whole new look and feel in a room.”
To help out with your rearranging project, grab these furniture moving
pads that work on all of the floors in your home and let you slide around that coffee table without damaging your floors. They have a two-piece design with a thick foam pad with a felt finish for cushioning and non-stick sliders to go on the bottom. Cleaning out the stained ceramic mugs from your cabinets Solution: Swap old ceramic mugs for these chic glass mugs
Zara O’Hare, the in-house interior design consultant at
Land of Rugs Online LTD, suggests tossing out those stained ceramic mugs hanging out in your kitchen cabinets. “As nice of a drink tea is, it will stain your beautiful mugs,” she explains. “If these stains are left untreated, you will eventually need to replace your mugs to make your kitchenware looks new again.” She goes on to further explain she swaps out her mugs “at least once every couple of years to ensure guests are not drinking from beautiful, but tea-stained, mugs.”
With this matching glass
mug set, you won’t even have to worry about stained mugs. It’s easy to stick your mug in the top of your dishwasher right after your coffee or tea, and the tempered glass can even hold cold drinks. Plus, these thermal-shock-resistant mugs look chicer than the classic ceramic ones. Cleaning windows to amp up the natural light in your space Solution: Use a glass cleaner to brighten up a room
Charles also suggests thinking about the natural lighting in your space. “Dirty windows can cause a home to appear dull and drab. Clean windows, inside and out, really does help to make a home fell fresh, airy, and updated,” he says.
glass cleaner comes in a pack, so you always have one handy for grimy windows. The ammonia-free spray also has a clean scent, so you’ll have more natural light and a fresh-smelling space. Of course, this streak-free cleaner is versatile enough to also clean up smudged TV screens, mirrors, and other glass surfaces. Mixing in warm colors with all of your gray decor Solution: Pop this camel-colored sherpa blanket onto a gray sofa
Miriam Silver Verga, partner and principle designer at
MIMI & HILL Design, has the solution if your home is covered in a bit too much gray. “Throw in some camel colors. Houses that are all warm or all cool in color date the house to the 2000s or 2010s,” she says.
throw blanket is the easiest way to add that warm yet neutral color to your cool-toned home. It’s fluffy, soft, warm, and inviting — a total win. This reversible blanket also has a white sherpa side to balance out the warm tone. Updating worn throw pillows with stylish new covers Solution: Or toss on these throw pillow covers for a leather accent
If you aren’t a blanket person but still want to follow Silver Verga’s advice, consider these
throw pillow covers. They have a faux-leather finish to add a welcoming warm tone to your all-gray living room or bedroom. The set goes right over any boring (or gray) throw pillows you might have, and it adds the best texture to your sofa. Best of all, this unique material means you can simply wipe any spills right off of your throw pillows. Swapping out wall art with words on it for something more aesthetic Solution: Hang up this versatile botanical wall art set
“Take down signs with words,” Silver Verga states. “You don’t need words [on] your walls. Period full stop.” This four-panel
wall art set is such an easy swap for those “Live, Laugh, Love” prints because they’re simple and versatile. The difference is — these botanical-themed leaf prints look more aesthetic on your wall. No worries about finding matching frames, either, each one is topped off with a wooden frame. Grabbing seasonal rugs that are easy to change out Solution: Add this chic shaggy rug to your rotating rug collection
O’Hare also suggests rotating your accent rugs with the seasons to seriously elevate your home decor. “I may sound biased, but I have a rug for each season for my living room and it is the same for my bedroom,” she says. “They’re easy to change, simply roll the old rug up and place it into a dry storage area until the next season.”
This machine-washable and super fluffy
rug is perfect to add into your rotation for the cozy months. Under all of that plush fabric, this rug has a layer of sponge cushioning to make your living room extra comfy. When it’s time to put this rug out, the non-slip details keep it perfectly in place. Swapping out your area rugs when the seasons change Solution: And keep this patterned rug on hand for warm-weather decor
“If you have a large shaggy rug in your living room, that’s fantastic. If it’s winter,” O’Hare explains. “If you’re still utilizing shaggy rugs in the summer, then you should think about investing in a modern, flat-pile rug to go with the seasons.”
When it warms up, reach for this low-pile
rug that’s super durable. It has an oversized and easy-to-style pattern that’s versatile enough for any room. Add this light nylon rug with a non-slip backing to your rotation for the perfect accent rug option that’s not too cozy. Changing out heavy curtains to fix the lighting in your room Solution: Hang these light linen-blend curtains for updated windows
Mohammad Ahmed, the founder and editor of
The Home Guidance, suggests simplifying your curtains. “One of the thing that make any home look outdated is using heavy fabrics and tassels as window treatments,” he says. “Simple curtains are lightweight and can completely transform the look and feel of any space.”
curtains are a lightweight go-to to create that minimalist and on-trend window treatment look. Even though they’re lightweight, they have an open-weave fabric to add plenty of texture to these simple curtains. The machine-washable fabric also lets a bit of light in to make your living room feel even more aesthetic. Sticking a few new decor pieces in outdated rooms Solution: Scatter these trendy, minimalist vases around your home
“Another way to update a home is to add new accessories or art work,” Fusco recommends. This set of ceramic
vases has an on-trend design that will help out any room in your home. It comes with three different vases in muted colors that are chic enough to leave out — even when you don’t have any fresh flowers. You also get three of these sleek vases, so you can stick them all over the house. Focusing on tidying to make your space feel updated Solution: Organize things under your bed for a tidy space
Christopher Charles, the owner and principal designer for
ChristopherCharles Interiors and IndigoRED, LLC, says updating your home is all about organizing. “A clean and tidy home never goes out of style,” he notes. “A clean and decluttered space can make even the most dated furniture and decor attractive and befitting for the home.”
under-bed storage bags make it super easy to tidy up because you simply slide everything under your bedframe. Your dresser and closet will look instantly refreshed if your extra clothes, linens, towels, and odds and ends are tucked in these clear-top bags instead of falling out of over-stuffed drawers. These durable and breathable bags also won’t scratch up your floor. Creating your home’s perfect scent for a luxurious vibe Solution: Set up this essential oil diffuser with a chic design
Charles also suggests “providing a pleasant scent to the home by utilizing traditional or automated diffusers. The automated diffusers allow its owner to adjust the level of scent intensity, making it a surefire winner for more sensitive nosed owners.”
diffuser not only lets you change up the intensity and timing of the fragrance, but it also looks like a chic decor piece in your home. The wood grain finish easily pairs with other decor pieces, and this diffuser even has adjustable LED lights. It also comes with 10 essential oils to create your home’s perfect scent. Changing out cabinet hardware if you don’t love your cabinets Solution: Add these sleek handles to your cabinets
Andi Morse, the founder & principal designer of
Morse Design, suggests “changing kitchen hardware on cabinets, changing the paint colors on the walls that will work with the existing molding colors, and changing lighting can make a huge impact to each room.”
This set of sleek
cabinet pulls is an easy way to take his advice and modernize your kitchen hardware. This stainless steel upgrade is topped off with a satin nickel, brushed brass, or matte black finish that feels so updated. Plus, the long handle-like design works on any style or shape or kitchen cabinet. Updating your curtains for something sheer & breezy Solution: Swap curtains for these minimalist sheer panels
“If you haven’t updated your window coverings in 10 years or more, your home definitely looks dated! Update window treatments to something clean and timeless, because heavy coverings from 10+ years ago are about as dated as it gets,” Robin Burrill, RID, NCIDQ, CAPS, ASID, IDS, and CEO/principal designer of Signature Home Services, explains.
The sheer design of these
curtains gives all of your windows a minimalist look, and they let in natural light — but they still filter the light just enough. These simple, machine-washable curtains easily pair with whatever decor you have going on in your home, because they come in 14 different colors and 10 different lengths. Tossing cluttered decor & organizing what’s left Solution: Use this unique corner shelf to avoid cluttered decor
Burrill also recommends some serious decluttering if you have a bunch of decor pieces. “Choose your favorite tchotchkes and display them proudly. Switch them out for another couple favorites when you feel it’s time,” she says.
After sorting through all of those decor pieces, grab this sturdy
corner shelf for all of the ones you kept. Each of the five shelves is just large enough for small decor items, so you won’t be tempted to display too many pieces. It also holds up to 11 pounds if you choose to keep an extra-heavy vase. Switching out overly-bright fluorescent lights for sleek ceiling lighting Solution: Install these can lights wherever you’re missing natural lighting
“The way the home is illuminated is one of those indescribable things that makes people see a home as outdated—or not—without even being able to put their finger on why they feel what they feel,” according to Burrill. “Switch out all your fluorescent lights for can lights and natural light sources wherever you can!”
can lights are a minimalist lighting option wherever your home is missing natural lighting. They’re way less clunky than a floor lamp, and these LEDs even have a daylight look. There are also dimmer settings, so these lights perfectly illuminate any room in your home. Occasionally tossing a bold color into your home Solution: Display these bud vases with a trendy cobalt blue finish
Chris Alexakis, an interior designer and the founder of
CabinetSelect, suggests working in a few bold colors into your home. “I have seen clients using colors like deep red, cobalt blue, and even bright tangerine in their homes,” he says.
bud vases add a bit of that bright blue color that’s so trendy right now to your home. These durable vases are small enough to stick anywhere without overpowering your other decor. Each one has a different texture, so they’re easy to style all over your home. Brightening your throw pillows with vibrant colors Solution: Or throw these bold faux-fur covers on your pillows
For a few more ideas, Alexakis says, “Bold colors are often used on walls, accent pieces, or even in accessories like pillows and throws. If you're looking to make a big statement with your interior design this year, consider using bold colors in your space.”
If the throw pillow idea is your vibe, this set of faux-fur
pillow covers is super bright and trendy. These fluffy covers are completely machine-washable, so it’s easy to keep that bold color nice and vibrant. The back of these covers have short faux fur, so they won’t get matted down. Replacing mismatched bathroom fixtures & hardware Solution: Install this brushed-nickel hardware for a matching bathroom set Scott Hamilton Harris, a luxury home creator and designer, points out that “a common mistake is mixing too many finishes and styles i.e. oiled bronze accessories with polished chrome. Consistency is important.”
Instead, grab this rust-resistant
hardware because it comes as five-piece set, so everything in your bathroom will match — down to the adhesive robe hooks next to your shower. The matching stainless steel design has a brushed nickel finish that easily pairs with whatever tile or countertops your bathroom has going on. Changing out mismatched hangers with a chic velvet set Solution: Organize your closet with this velvet hanger set
According to interior designer
Julia Dempster, “Mismatched hangers are an instant way to cheapen your closet.” Instead, she suggests grabbing a matching set of hangers. “Velvet hangers are sophisticated and chic and preserve your items of clothing,” she explains.
These slim velvet
hangers are a budget-friendly set to grab, and they give your closet that sleek, matching look. When it comes to protecting your clothes, these hangers also have a smooth design to avoid snagged fabric. In addition to the textured fabric coating, there are built-in notches to keep clothes secure, just like your usual hangers. Upgrading your ceiling & lighting with unique options Solution: Hang up this sleek & matte ceiling light
“Updating lighting fixtures can be an inexpensive way to help improve the overall aesthetic of any space, as well as giving a sense of sophisticated elegance and comfort,” Dempster explains. “Lighting is probably the most important aspect of any space and is often described as the jewelry of the interior.”
ceiling light is the perfect swap because it has a matte black base and a geometric shape that feels sleek and clean. It also has an opening at the bottom, so it’s easy to change out the light bulb until you find your favorite lighting. Painting over dark cabinets if you’re tired of your kitchen’s vibe Solution: Grab this versatile paint for your kitchen cabinets Karyn Sederberg, a certified interior designer, suggests changing up dark cabinets if you’re tired of the vibe in your kitchen. This paint is a super versatile option because you won’t need a primer, sanding paper, or even a top coat. You can also keep this velvet sheen paint around because it works on vinyl, wall tiles, and a bunch of other surfaces in your home. Tossing a few real plants into your home decor Solution: Use these air-purifying plants as home decor
Sederberg also notes that swapping out fake plants or flowers is a good idea. Instead, scatter this budget-friendly set of
real plants around your home. Each one is an air-purifying plant, so this decor set also helps out the atmosphere in your home. These plants come in decorative pots, and they’re super compact, so it’s easy to tuck them all over your house. Fixing mismatched door knobs around your home Solution: Add these matte black door knobs to all your doors
Luxury residential designer
Eddie Rider tells me that “mismatched interior door hardware is a way to date your home, keep consistency on this simple design choice.”
This set of
door knobs is a super easy way to make all of your doors look chic and matching. Each one has a matte black finish that’s an updated and sleek option for hardware (but these knobs are available in five other finishes too). They also have built-in locks and an emergency slot to unlock them, just in case. Using colorful accents to add vibrancy to your rooms Solution: Stick this colorful rug in a room with neutral paint on the walls
Rider calls “too many room wall color choices” a total eyesore. “Having multiple rooms, different colors is the quickest way to feel and look outdated. Use pillows, artwork, area rugs to define your spaces and add pops of colors.” This bright accent
rug is small enough to stick in any room, so you won’t be tempted to paint your walls a bright color. The bold pattern gives your space plenty of vibrant colors, and you even get little tassel details for a bit of texture. Giving your home more color with throw pillows & other accents Solution: Or use this velvet pillow for a pop of color
If you already love your accent rug, Rider also suggests using pillows for a bit of color and this trendy round
pillow is the perfect option. It has a velvety finish, pleating, and plenty of texture on the sides of this bold throw pillow. It comes in over a dozen colors like rusty orange, yellow, emerald, and blush that quickly makes a room with plain walls more interesting. Sprucing up your walls with new art Solution: Or stick these abstract prints on a simple wall
If you grab the rug and some throw pillows, and you still want some color on your wall, turn to this abstract
wall art set. You get three different prints, and they add plenty of bold colors, patterns, and a canvas texture to the white walls you’re bored of. Hiding clutter for an updated & minimalist space Solution: Use this portable storage ottoman to declutter
Christine Kobervig Munger, an interior design expert and director of merchandising and sourcing at
Fernish, says that “trends today are all about sustainability, simplicity and creating a sense of comfort at home.” As for what looks outdated, she says, “Anything that looks cluttered—if you walk into a room and see piles of stuff on top of stuff it feels outdated and worse—that chaos is probably stressing you out.”
This sleek faux-leather
ottoman is an easy way to take care of whatever clutter tends to pile up in your home because it has storage inside. It’s a foldable cube that’s completely hollow, so you can stick a bunch of clutter inside. It also has sturdy handles if you want to carry it around and pick up things in other rooms. Storing shoes in a single place Solution: Stick this trendy basket with beaded details in your entryway
“A cluttered entryway is one of the easiest areas to update and it doesn’t have to be pricey. Wicker baskets are great for keeping shoes neat,” Kobervig Munger explains. This woven
basket with handles is an on-trend option for updating your shoe storage setup in your entryway. It comes with a matching tassel detail that’s topped off with seriously trendy wooden beads. Plus, it has a cloth lining, so it’s super gentle on your shoe collection. Hanging up clutter, keys & leashes Solution: Add these chic gold hooks to your entryway wall
Also, for your entryway, Kobervig Munger recommends “adorable hooks for dog leashes and outerwear,” and these decorative
hooks are such a statement piece. They have a gold-tone finish and circle details that add a geometric accent to your wall. This sturdy metal hanger comes with five hooks, and the polished design will make dog leashes, key rings, and stray jackets look so chic in your entryway. Making a dedicated drop space by your front door Solution: Use this bamboo bench with a bunch of shoe storage
“I’m also a big fan of benches in the entryway, they are great for storing shoes neatly underneath and also are handy for dropping grocery bags,” Kobervig Munger says. This miniature
bench has seating on top for a spot to toss your grocery bags or sit on as you put on or take off your shoes. It has two levels of organized and tidy shoe storage underneath — or shelves that can be used for other kinds of storage. This bench is also made of bamboo for a stylish wood accent in your entryway. Mixing up textures & colors in your decor Solution: Add this textured & fringe-covered blanket to your sofa
“Another easy and inexpensive trick is to invest in some new throws or pillows. It’s amazing what a difference a pop of color, some new texture, and a bit of fringe can do to an older sofa or chair,” Kobervig Munger explains.
throw blanket has a bit of everything Kobervig Munger suggests, including a bold color, a textured pattern, and a ton of delicate fringe on the ends. It’s machine-washable, so it will always look fresh and stain-free draped over your couch. This breathable blanket also has a silky finish that won’t shed all over your living room. Covering up the dated wallpaper you’re tired of Solution: Stick this cleanable wallpaper over anything
Interior design coordinator
Tara Spaulding says “if you have a wallpaper that's been up since before you moved in, it will make your home look dated and cheap.” Instead of attempting to remove it, grab this cleanable stick-on wallpaper and throw it right on top. It has a thick design and a simple textured pattern that feels updated and super minimalist in any room. Of course, this durable vinyl solution is also waterproof for kitchen or bathroom wallpaper. Allowing each piece to stand out while fitting a room’s theme Solution: Use these textured throw pillow covers for a cohesive look
“If you have a lot of mismatched furniture and decorations, it will make your home look messy and unkempt,” Spaulding explains. “The best way to update your home is by replacing those things with new ones that match each other well—but don't match too closely! You want to make sure each piece stands out on its own while still fitting into the overall theme of your house. You want to make sure each piece stands out on its own while still fitting into the overall theme of your house: For example, if your couch has an orange pattern on it, then maybe buy some pillows with an orange pattern, too; they'll help tie everything together while still making each piece stand out individually.”
pillow covers make it easy to create matching sofa decor without it looking too plain. Each one has a textured diamond-shaped pattern on it, so they stand out enough from your sofa’s upholstery since they come in a dozen different colors. These fringe-covered pillow covers also have a hidden zipper for a sleek look and secure fit. Filling small holes after rearranging your wall art or gallery walls Solution: Keep this super compact repair kit around for small holes
Spaulding also recommends taking a look at little details that might bake your walls feel a bit dated. “If there are holes in the wall from old pictures or hooks, this will send a message that you don't take care of your things well enough to keep them in their proper places,” she says.
To fix up those holes after moving around wall art, grab this
repair kit. It’s specifically for those small holes that you leave behind when you buy a new print or change up your gallery wall layout. Plus, the primer-enhanced spackling, sanding paper, screen, and putty knife are all compact enough to fit in any cabinet or drawer. Taking care of the cords after you set up the perfect lighting Solution: Pair these cord clips with your trendy lamps
“While adding lights is a plus, excessive cords from lights, stereos, and tech devices is not,” she says. “Add some cord stays to secure your cords to the wall, add some personality by choosing cords in colors that complement the space,” Meggan Fadden Wynja, an interior designer and the design director and co-founder of
Color Cord Company, suggests.
Once you have all of your trendy lighting set up in your space, reach for these
cable clips. They have adhesive on the back, so it’s easy to stick them next to all of your lamps, chargers, and more. These flexible organizing dots also have a sleek black finish that doesn’t compete with whatever colorful cords you choose. Adding trendy & textured shades to let light in Solution: Put up these bamboo shades with zero frustrating cords
Fadden Wynja also says that “a popular choice as of late is to use sustainable and natural materials when adding more lighting, such as rattan or bamboo-based shades.” These bamboo
shades are perfect for creating that trendy window treatment look. They let in natural light, and the bamboo material makes an aesthetic light with a warm glow all over your home. They’re also totally free of any bulky or annoying cords, so they look even sleeker on your windows. Swapping out cracked, cream-colored light switches Solution: Install these dimmer light switches with a sleek design
Cristina Chirila points out a detail that’s super easy to ignore. “Those old cream light switches and wall sockets are dated design elements that you need to part ways with,” she says. “It’s a quick and inexpensive fix that delivers a significant change.”
Not only does this lightweight
light switch set look sleek and fresh on your wall, but it also adds adjustable light settings to your home. Below the minimalist switch, there’s a built-in dimmer with a sliding design, so you can easily change up the vibe of your lighting in your home.