15 home trends that look dated & the best cheap ways to fix them, according to designers

Out? Harsh, exposed lightbulbs. In? Warm lampshade lighting.

ByRachel Bar-Gadda
Originally Published: 
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

With TikTok and Instagram moving through decor trends faster than you can even fully achieve that coastal cowgirl or cottagecore look, it can be hard to parse what looks trendy and what looks behind the times. That’s when it’s time to call in the experts. Below, some renowned interior designers chime in on home trends they feel are dated — and the best cheap ways to fix them. Even better, these fixes are easy to do in hardly any time at all, just as they won’t leave a dent in your wallet.

Dated: Moldy grout lines in your shower

Updated: Grout that shines like new

No one wants moldy grout lines in their tub, but they’re hard to avoid if your home is more than a few years old. But while it may seem expensive and time-consuming to fix, it doesn’t have to be. “Instead of spending hours scrubbing moldy grout lines, spend a few bucks and recaulk your tub and shower,” Kelly recommends. “This quick and inexpensive fix will instantly make your bathroom look brand-new and fresh.”

This easy-to-use grout pen that works like a marker

Instead of an expensive retiling job, this under-$10 grout pen is as easy to use as a marker — and it recolors your grout to make it look like new. Covering up to 150 feet of grout, this non-toxic, water-based colorant covers stains and has minimal odor as it’s applied. “Make sure you get the narrow one,” one reviewer suggests. “Get two for a regular bathroom. I’m literally in shock at how gorgeous it looks and how quick and easy it was. You want to keep shaking it well and pressing the applicator to moisten it between each stroke.”

A power scrubber that cleans grout super-efficiently

This all-purpose power scrubber removes mildew and other grime from your shower walls, around your sink — and even your tires or sports equipment. Its oscillating head scrubs 60 times per second with a small head made for those hard-to-reach corners and crevices. The scrubber is also water-resistant and has two settings: pulse and continuous scrubbing. It comes with four AA batteries. “I did not press down hard with the scrubber but let the brushes do the job,” one shopper shared. “The grout is the cleanest and lightest color it has been in five years. I'm a believer.”

This sealant caulk that customers call “easy to use”

Multiple reviewers mention that this sealant caulk from Flex Shot is “easy to use,” with one person noting that they used it in the shower and “it took less than 10 minutes to seal and smooth all around it.” It comes with an extension tube for any hard-to-reach areas. Plus, the waterproof caulk is mildew-resistant, expanding and contracting to fill cracks and holes.

Dated: Matchy-matchy aesthetic

Update: Eclectic color combinations

“It wasn't that long ago when the goal for decorating your home was to ‘match’ everything,” Hathaway tells Bustle. Thankfully, for those who have a much more eclectic taste, she says, “That trend has evaporated and been replaced with a ‘living with what you love’ aesthetic.” To counteract your previously monochromatic palette, she advises, “If you find your space is just too matchy-matchy (as designers call it), replacing simple things like throw pillows can change everything for the better. Look for fun mix-and-match pillow sets which give you a lot of flexibility. Pro tip: Vary pillow sizes in the mix for an even more pulled-together look.”

These velvet throw pillow covers with colorful contrasting trim

With over 4,000 reviews and a high 4.8-star rating, these velvet throw pillow covers nail the brief of providing your home with lots of colors to reflect your personal taste. They come in a set of four, all in different colors, and all featuring a stylish contrast trim in a reverse shade. With tons of color palettes to choose from, such as this one that highlights creamy oranges, corals, and greens, each pillow cover is soft to the touch, machine-washable, and available in six sizes.

A lustrous throw pillow cover that brings the glam

Take yourself and your guests on a throwback trip to Studio 54 with these throw pillow covers made of glamorous shiny velvet material. They come in a set of two and are offered in seven sizes and in over 20 additional lustrous shades such as burnt orange, teal, and wine red. They feature an invisible zipper and are even conveniently machine-washable.

These tufted pillow covers that come in tons of whimsical designs

From a sun setting over the peach-colored hills to a moon resting above a quiet desert landscape, these tufted pillow covers offer unique designs that will bring major style to any living room or bed. Available in three sizes, each cover is made of cotton canvas and features bold embroidery that feels soft on the skin. Having earned a high 4.8-star rating, you can go for colors that echo what you have already decor-wise or act in total contrast — either way, you’ll be adding tons of personality to otherwise neutral settings.

Dated: Ruffled bed skirts

Upgrade: Simple, chic bed skirts

Cottagecore decor has certainly had its day in the sun, but according to Diana Hathaway, interior designer and founder of Gorgeous Color, styles are making their way back toward simple lines. “Swept away on the wave of boho romance, ruffled bed skirts appeared everywhere,” Hathaway tells Bustle. “Now that the trend has shifted toward contemporary romantic, it's time to replace that fluffy bed skirt with something simple and chic, like box pleats.”

This minimalist bed skirt with a clean, contemporary look

Like the bedding version of a ‘90s-era Calvin Klein negligee, this chic bed skirt gives your bedroom a decidedly contemporary look. It’s designed with one entire swath of fabric for a clean aesthetic and comes in a range of neutrals such as cream, light gray, and taupe, all designed with a 15-inch drop. Made of soft microfiber, it’s fabricated with OEKO-TEX-certified materials that, as a bonus, are free of any chemicals or dyes that might cause irritation.

A bed skirt with a touch of flounce

For those who want clean lines — but with the touch of flair that only more material can bring — this bed skirt fits that bill. Made from double-brushed microfiber that’s wrinkle- and fade-resistant, it features both corner and middle pleats with just a little flounce. Available in five neutral shades and made with a 15-inch drop, use this bed skirt to pull your bedroom together while helpfully hiding under-bed clutter.

This sleek bed skirt that offers a tailored aesthetic

This bed skirt exemplifies contemporary romantic style with its box pleats that fall gracefully and elegantly, lending a tailored look. It’s constructed of double-brushed microfiber and features a 14-inch drop to effectively prevent dust from accumulating underneath the bed. Choose from over 10 neutral colors, including some more colorful options such as sage, lavender, and ice blue.

Dated: Maximalist boho

Upgrade: Minimalist macramé

There was a time when you wouldn’t be caught without a bit of stylishly knotted natural material making an appearance in some corner of your home. As Hathaway puts it, “The macramé trend got a little out of hand. What started as cute, natural boho accents multiplied quickly” with a habit of “taking over once-quaint living spaces.” But if you’re a macramé devotee who still craves an updated look, there’s an ideal middle ground. Hathaway instructs, “Love macramé but hate the clutter? Pare down to one or two large pieces of macramé art in serious neutral colors for a charming, but tailored, look.”

A macramé wall hanging with a striking dip-dye design

This macramé wall hanging with a near-perfect 4.8-star rating makes for a gallery-worthy statement piece, measuring 35-by-59 inches and featuring a trendy dip-dye design. Made with the earth-tone colors of coffee brown, dark brown, and black, the material hangs from a wooden rod that’s easily mounted with the included hardware. As a bit of added visual interest, one side is longer than the other, giving the eye lots to look at without the rest of your decor being overwhelmed by distracting color.

This macramé wall art that integrates gold metal with a stylish blend of materials

Mount this macramé wall art as a perfect way to give your walls a dose of minimalism without losing the warm texture of natural materials. Three large, black tassels hang from a chic, geometric design crafted of metal in a gold finish that offers a modern spin on traditional macramé. Hang it on any wall from the bedroom to the living room, using the included wall hook, for a style that blends earthy playfulness with a bit of refinement.

A macramé woven wall hanging that comes in modish black or white

For a more traditional design that’s balanced by the strikingly mod colors of black or white, opt for this macramé woven wall hanging. The pattern calls to mind the vintage, hippie-chic vibes you expect from this type of decor, yet still provides strong statement energy due to its color palette. An intricate knotted design is contrasted with a long, free-flowing fringe — all made of cotton — and will bring the right amount of eye-catching display to previously-empty walls.

Dated: Harsh, exposed light bulbs

Update: Clip-on shades

There’s no doubt that every stylish home, restaurant, and bar sports a vintage-style Edison bulb, and for good reason – they add a defined, recognizable, and artistic look. As Hathaway says, “When modern farmhouse style hit the decorating world, exposed bulbs and Edison bulbs were the ‘it’ look for light fixtures.” However, this bright and unobscured light might be considered too much of a good thing at times. “After living with the glare and the harsh light, bare bulbs are now considered a curated look for a few select lamps or fixtures in a home,” says Hathaway, who offers an alternative, saying, “If you love the fixture but not the exposed bulb, clip-on shades are an excellent fix.”

These small lamp shades made of burlap for a soft glow

This six-pack of linen lamp shades balances farmhouse-chic with gentle, luxurious-feeling lighting. Use them for chandeliers, wall lamps, small table lamps, and more — each shade is 5 inches in height, with a 3-inch opening at the top and a 6-inch bottom. “We have low dark ceilings therefore the light did not want to reflect to the table very well,” one reviewer shared. “The shades directed the light to our table and lessened the harshness of the light in general.”

These barrel-shaped chandelier shades with a luxe gold lining

These chandelier shades are a resourceful way to retain the classic look exposed bulbs offer while diffusing light in a flattering manner. They’re made in a stylish barrel shape and are made of black material with a shiny gold lining, reminiscent of vintage mid-century fixtures. Every set includes six shades and provides a warm, slightly dim environment, perfect for dinner parties and romantic nights in.

Dated: Rich, heavy curtains

Update: Lightweight, sheer curtains

The treatment of windows can make a huge difference in how a room feels and this is where the expertise of Ashley Woodyatt, interior designer and founder of Woodyatt Curtains, comes in. “I would say that the often dense, thick heavy fabric curtains that we see in homes is a trend that is outdated,” Woodyatt tells Bustle, suggesting a simple way to make your home feel up to date. “I would recommend opting for either net or voile curtains as a replacement,” she says. “Not only do they allow for a greater amount of natural [light] in a room, but they're also much easier to compliment with existing interior styles (in contrast to the often rich, block colors we see in older, “thicker” curtains).”

A pair of sheer curtains that easily coordinate with your existing decor

These dreamy sheer curtains with over 1,500 reviews and a high 4.6-star rating allow in softly-filtered natural light, all while matching effortlessly with your current decor. Two panels are included in each set and are made of machine-washable polyester. They’re offered in tons of sizes to suit your particular dimensions, as well as 18 different soft shades such as brown, light green, and even an ombre shade of purple.

These lace curtains that provide a delicate yesteryear touch

Not only do these lace curtains let in light in the most charming way, but they also call to mind anything from rustic farmhouses to Victorian parlors to European chateaux. They’re available in multiple sizes, as well as in black, ivory, or white, with the intricate lace texture offering its own bit of intrigue to any room. The floral pattern is a delight to look at, yet also provides a touch of privacy without blocking out natural light.

A set of linen curtains that softens incoming light while providing crucial privacy

These linen curtains are an ideal middle ground — they let in lots of natural light while providing more privacy than other voile curtains. Constructed of polyester fabric in a faux-linen weave, these breathable, semi-sheer curtains come in neutral color options such as beige or natural, as well as more vibrant colors like jester red and classic blue. Having earned a high 4.7-star rating and over 4,000-plus reviews, these curtains are obviously a crowd-pleasing option for being easy to integrate into existing interior design, as well as being able to provide both light and privacy.

Dated: Poor lighting

Update: Plug-in accent lights

If you thought that an update to your lighting situation was going to require massive bills from an electrician or a hefty investment, Monica Miraglilo, contractor and founder of GirlBuild, proves otherwise. “Sometimes you can add or change out a light fixture or install under-cabinet lighting to give a more modern touch,” says Miraglilo. If any sort of construction isn’t in the cards, she offers easy and affordable ways to instantly bring the same level of tasteful lighting, suggesting, “A great alternative is plug-able lighting or motion sensor under-counter lights that you can get on Amazon for under $45.”

This plug-in pendant light with a built-in dimmer

If you have an outlet, you can have something as stylish as this plug-in pendant light. All you need to do is to mount the three included wall hooks to your ceiling, and voilà, you have a pendant light with no hard-wired connection required. The lampshade is in the shape of a three-tiered drum and uses a standard bulb with an E26 base. Hang it above dinner tables or coffee tables, and, as a bonus, a built-in dimmer allows you to adjust the brightness to suit your needs perfectly.

A pendant light cord for maximum lighting flexibility

Sold in a pack of two for less than $20, this pendant light cord measures 15 feet and allows you to attach any type of bulb or shade to its end. It plugs into a standard outlet and can be used with a bare bulb for a minimalist effect or with your favorite style of shade to compliment your existing aesthetic. Use the convenient inline switch to turn the light on or off, and additionally, use this cord to hang lights outside on your covered deck or porch.

This LED light strip that provides perfect under-cabinet lighting

It could not be easier to install this affordable LED light strip to instantly create tasteful accent lighting under cabinets. It stays firmly in place thanks to strong self-adhesive, and while the strip itself stays discreetly out of sight, the power button is easy to locate and click on or off. The light simply requires three AA batteries to operate and can be installed anywhere you need a bit more visibility, such as in closets, under counters, or in garages.

Dated: Grimy backsplashes

Update: Peel & stick wallpaper

Backsplashes that have become grimy and laden with evidence of past cooking experiments are a hot trend, said no one. Again, if you think it’ll take a big investment and professional help to remedy the situation, Miraglilo has you think twice. “If you are someone who isn’t handy but wants to spruce up a wall or backsplash and doesn’t want to hire a contractor or do a big project, try the peelable wallpaper!” she tells Bustle. “It’s fast, inexpensive, and looks so good!!” If you’re thinking this sounds like a dream, except for the fact that you don’t own your place, Miraglilo adds, “Especially as a renter, you can still get that custom look and make the apartment yours without ruining the walls.”

A peel & stick subway tile that will only cost you $40

Get that classic backsplash look that truly resembles the real thing with this peel-and-stick subway tile that, at $40, will cost you far less than a traditional home reno. It adheres to the wall using powerful self-adhesive and is both water- and heat-resistant making it ideal for withstanding hours behind a working stove. Simply peel off the backing and match them up without the necessity for messy grout; they easily wipe clean for a fresh result.

This vintage floral wallpaper that adds affordable art nouveau to your walls

For a backsplash that acts like vintage art, turn to this floral wallpaper that looks just like the real thing yet, unlike real wallpaper, is waterproof and stain-resistant. The art nouveau-inspired floral pattern is easy to cut, match up, and mount thanks to helpful grid lines on the back, and the vinyl material is sturdy enough to not tear. Though strong adhesive keeps it securely in place, it removes just as easily without causing any damage. Additionally, use this wallpaper to jazz up dressers, side tables, or to create accent walls.

Dated: Themed rooms

Update: Classic, timeless designs

No one would ever fault a person for showing their enthusiasm for a place or particular shade, but as Artem Kropovinsky, an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, tells Bustle, “While they can be fun, rooms themed around a single concept (like the beach, Paris, or a specific color) can feel kitschy and dated.” Kropovinsky offers some alternatives, saying, “In its place, aim for a more nuanced and curated aesthetic. A few well-chosen throw pillows can drastically change the ambiance of a room. Look for designs that are classic and timeless, and materials that feel natural and luxurious. This simple, affordable switch can move your space away from a single-theme aesthetic towards a more nuanced and sophisticated look,” he says.

A pair of pillow inserts to refresh your couch game

These affordable pillow inserts cost less than $30 and are a great way to make your living room refreshed by replacing their tired, old counterparts. Two come in every pack and are available in three different square-shaped sizes. They all feature a microfiber lining and polyester filling, making them a great choice for those with allergies. Best of all, these are machine-washable, so you can keep them clean throughout years of use.

These waterproof pillow covers that add style to outdoor furniture

When it comes to adding that all-important stylistic nuance, don’t skimp on addressing your outdoor furniture as well. These waterproof pillow covers come in over 20 gorgeous shades such as coral red, pale green, and light blue, and are made of a sturdy yet breathable polyester canvas material. They’re available in a range of square-shaped sizes, including one rectangular shape, and the zipper color conveniently matches the cover to make for a seamless look.

A striped pillow cover that adds visual interest

Pair this striped pillow cover with solid colors or other designs to lend your furniture lots of visual appeal. It’s made of polyester-linen material that evokes images of charming farmhouses or French seaside cottages, and it’s machine-washable on the gentle cycle. Choose from lots of color options, from navy to khaki to orange, for a rustic yet decidedly sophisticated look.

Dated: excessive use of synthetic fibers

Update: Natural materials

There’s no doubt that items made of synthetic fibers can make updates around the home more budget-friendly, but according to Kropovinsky, sometimes opting for the real thing can make a big difference. “Polyester and other synthetic fabrics can feel cold and impersonal, taking away from the homely vibe,” he tells Bustle. “Opt instead for more natural materials. Replace synthetic fabrics with natural ones to create a warmer, more welcoming environment.” Kropovinsky goes on to suggest, “Throws made from cotton or wool not only provide comfort, but also add layers and texture to your space.”

This geometric throw blanket made of 100% cotton

Featuring a stylish geometric design, this woven throw blanket is made of soft and comfortable cotton, which will add visual (and physical) warmth to any room. Measuring 50-by-60 inches, its zig-zag design is complimented by tassels along the bottom and top edges. It comes available in lots of colors like honey gold, storm blue, or tango red, and serves as a perfect way to add contrasting color and texture to existing furniture.

A hand-woven accent rug made of all-natural jute

This beautiful (and affordable!) accent rug is a great way to add earthy vibes and compliment any room’s aesthetic. It’s constructed wholly of natural jute material which is hand-woven in a braided design. The material offers lots of durability and is even able to be flipped over, providing an extended lifespan. Choose from six sizes and shapes ranging from rectangular to round.

Dated: Cluttered spaces

Update: Minimalist accessories

There was a time when decorating your home with a multitude of meaningful or decorative items might have felt stylistically eclectic and interesting. However, according to Kropovinsky, “The trend of overfilled rooms with too many trinkets or accent pieces can make a space feel cluttered and chaotic. A more minimalist and deliberate approach to accessorizing a space is more in vogue today.” Kropovinsky suggests several items that do double-duty, sharing, “Consider buying a sleek and stylish storage basket or wall shelf. Not only will this help declutter your space, but the minimalist aesthetic of these items can also serve as a decor piece.”

These cotton rope baskets that boast a clean & organized look

These beautiful woven baskets are constructed of cotton rope and are designed in a chic, minimalist fashion that makes storage look elegant. They come in a set of three and are offered in neutral colors such as creamy white (pictured here), graphite, or a combination of light gray and white. Use them to store anything from towels and blankets to clothing and books with handles on either side making them easy to carry and move around.

A wire-frame utility basket that allows you to clearly see its contents

A great advantage of using this wire-frame utility basket is that, on top of providing effective storage, you always know exactly what’s stored where. Constructed of steel, the basket can be used to organize dry goods in the pantry, as well as to store cleaning supplies under the sink, in addition to many more uses. Handles make it easy to maneuver and three available finishes (satin nickel, black, and industrial gray) allow you to match your home’s aesthetic.

Dated: Shag rugs

Update: Vintage style printed rugs

The ‘70s-era aesthetic certainly has been dominating trends from hair to fashion to decor, but there might be a limit. Stefana Silber, interior designer and blogger, speaks to this, telling Bustle, “The one item that will make your home look dated is the old fashioned shag-style bath mats and rugs. Most certainly throw away the ones that hug the toilet or even worse – cover the toilet seat.”

Silber offers an appealing alternative that will bring your home into the present while also assuaging budgetary concerns: “A vintage-style flat printed rug that is easy to clean (no dirt and water trapped in the shag fibers), and you can even throw it in the wash.” With a plethora of prints and colors on offer, Silber speaks specifically about the need for a sink area rug, saying, “The two-by-three size is perfect for a single sink space and is on sale for under $30.”

This affordable-yet-stylish accent rug that boasts a traditional pattern

If you thought Oriental rugs were financially out of reach, you’ll be ecstatic when you lay eyes on this accent rug that costs only $21. Made of machine-loomed polyester, it features a traditional printed design in rich hues of reddish-orange, teal, and cream. It comes in lots of different sizes that will suit your space perfectly, and it has a durable canvas backing.

A stunning area rug with a charming, time-worn look

You don’t have to invest lots of money or time to get that chic, distressed look – this area rug arrives looking as if it has been treasured and trodden on for centuries. It’s available in a multitude of different sizes and features a cotton backing and durable, machine-loomed polyester that will stand the test of time. Choose from over 15 designs, each sporting a different color palette from burnished terracotta to silvery slate.

Dated: Cabinets without hardware

Updated: Statement drawer pulls

Jennifer Verruto, founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors, tells Bustle that when it comes to trends in kitchen design, “Builder grade or no hardware on cabinetry is a clear sign of an outdated kitchen.” She offers, “The solution? First, if you have no hardware, definitely add it! We love a statement pull (instead of knobs). Pulls create length and drama.” When it comes to complimenting your existing decor, Verruto recommends, “Make sure to choose a finish that contrasts with your cabinet color. Upgrading your hardware will make a big difference — think black or gold for a more modern punch!”

These popular cabinet pulls for a modern, updated look

These cabinet pulls have earned a high 4.7-star rating and over 30,000-plus reviews, and you can understand why once you see how their sleek design immediately uplifts cabinetry. Each pack comes with 30 pulls for less than $25, and they’re available in three versatile finishes: satin nickel, brushed brass, and black. The handles measure five inches and will just as easily work with a modern farmhouse, industrial, or minimalist aesthetic.

A drawer pull that stylishly mixes materials

Acting as the perfect statement piece, these drawer pulls will create lots of visual drama with their matte gold material and faux-leather straps. The contrast between the metal and microfiber leather will elevate any piece of cabinetry or furniture, and they only require a screwdriver to quickly install. Every set comes with four pulls that cultivate a range of looks from vintage western to mid-century modern to rustic country chic, to name a few.

Dated: Bathroom bulb lighting

Updated: Decorative wall lighting

Though feeling like a 1950s celebrity in front of their vanity has timeless appeal, Floss Kelly, co-founder of TileCloud, tells Bustle that this style of lighting is not exactly au courant. “Bid farewell to Hollywood-style bulb lighting and embrace decorative wall lighting that frames and complements your bathroom mirror,” says Kelly. “It will enhance the ambiance and create a more sophisticated and spa-like atmosphere without breaking the bank.”

This modern LED vanity light that’s fully adjustable

Both rotate this LED vanity light up to 180 degrees, as well as retract or expand it to get your light exactly where you need it. The LED bulbs allow you to see clearly on top of saving you tons of energy in electricity usage. Made in a matte black finish, it comes in several different sizes with the light’s sleek design looking fantastic mounted above any mirror.

A bathroom light fixture made in an elegant brushed-gold finish

Bring a sense of luxury to your bathroom with this light fixture that’s designed with a gold finish. The LED light features long-lasting brightness as well as adequate illumination required for grooming needs. Rotate the light up or down, in or out for more customization with the polygon lamp shade providing a soft diffusion of light.

Dated: Dull white switchplates

Updated: Elegant brass covers

Eschew the standard white switchplates most homes come with it that tend to quickly get dirty. Instead, opt for vintage-inspired brass covers, Kelly suggests. “Trust me, they'll totally jazz up your space and fit right in with other non-reflective metal hardware,” she says. “Plus, they're super easy to install and make a real impact in any room.”

These brass switch plate covers with elegant pearl detailing

This two-pack of brass switch plate covers are as durable as they are timelessly stylish — made from zinc alloy, they feature vintage-inspired pearling that stands out nicely against neutral walls. Matching screws are included for easy installation, and the covers also come in aged bronze, antique copper, or satin nickel. Sometimes the little upgrades make all the difference in elevating a room.

A romantically nostalgic switch plate that looks vintage

This switch plate looks like it belongs in a Victorian mansion with its forged brass and Greek Revival detailing. Boasting a near-perfect 4.9-star rating, reviewers give these plates high praise for their heavy metal and elevated look. “This is a heavy duty, high quality light switch plate with well stamped, opulent design that worked well with a dimmer switch,” one reviewer wrote.