Not all home décor styles are timeless; some trends do have an expiration date. Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic, an emphasis on comfort remains top priority when updating the home, but there are a few trends that almost everyone is ready to bid adieu to.
Neutrals and standalone sculptural chairs are going nowhere, but it’s high time to wipe these trends from your mood board so you can create a stylish, efficient, and much-loved haven.
Open floor plans
In his 1930s ‘Willey House’ project, master architect Frank Llyod Wright proposed an open kitchen for the house of a middle-income family, integrating their living/dining area and kitchen.
“The lack of boundaries and the look and purpose helped people stay on top of what was happening in multiple spaces, which is why the open floor plan has remained popular,” says Aditi Deshpande, a Bengaluru-based architect.
Most open floor plans involve some combination of the kitchen, dining room, and living room, and create a sense of openness and better traffic flow. But the pandemic changed all that. With homes suddenly functioning as workplaces and schools, the noises that can easily permeate throughout an open home and the lack of privacy have led to the return of walls and partitions. “The need for more efficient cooling, increased desire for privacy, and the rise in personal streaming entertainment necessitates more rooms and private spaces,” Deshpande adds.
Heavy, formal drapes
Downton Abbey did well with heavy statement curtains and matching valances, but in the real world heavy drapery simply makes the décor look dated. Heavy window treatments tend to be bulky and formal, and can completely dominate a space, making it seem smaller.
“In Indian climatic conditions, they also tend to become huge dust magnets — something that any home can do without,” says Dilip Shroff, an Ahmedabad-based interior designer. Today’s lifestyle needs window treatments that speak the language of the home — be it bright, elegant, simple, or minimalist.
“Leave the heavy drapes in the past and go for easier curtains, blinds, or louvers. If using curtains, hang rods higher than the natural window edge to create the illusion of longer openings and an airier room,” Shroff adds.
Move over, fast fashion; you’ve got competition. Fast furniture basically comprises inexpensive designs and pieces that you buy knowing that it’s not built to last. Easy to afford and assemble, fast furniture has taken off in the last couple of decades but it seems to have had its time in the sun.
“Mass-produced furniture tends to be cheaper and offers a range of designs but it’s not sustainable. We’ve gone back to foraging for and repurposing old furniture. Recycling and reusing old pieces lets you reduce waste and stock your home with furniture that has a backstory,” Deshpande says.
According to Pinterest, searches for eclectic and vintage interior design have soared a whopping 850% in the last couple of years, indicating an interest in creating spaces that tell a story. Clearly, like Phoebe from Friends, everyone’s looking for apothecary tables from the ‘days of yore’ and not cookie-cutter lamps and screens!
“Keeping an eye out at local second-hand markets and shops can result in finding a few one-of-a-kind pieces that will add character, colour, personality, and sustainability to your space,” Shroff says. “You can refurbish them or use as they are.”
Live, laugh, love. Hero. Family. Believe. Wine o’ clock. In recent times, word art has taken over our walls, adding messaging we believe in. Lovers of the alphabet have used typography everywhere — in the bedroom, kitchen, dining area, and the bathroom.
But word art has fallen out of favour with architects and designers. “Common phrases and pieces of word art plonked on the table have been popular for a while, especially with those who enjoy the farmhouse or shabby chic aesthetic. But now, we’re looking for something that’s less generic, more meaningful,” Shroff says.
He suggests other typography-inspired décor items instead. “Bookends, ampersand/question mark deco pieces, paperweights, time zone clocks, and candle holders — there are so many other options to signal your personal design choices.”
Deshpande eschews word art as well, suggesting that the trend be limited to classic items such as “monogrammed towels, sheets/pillowcases, or pyjamas”.
It’s true that mirrors are your best friend if you are doing up a small space as they create the illusion of space and light, but the trend of mirrors on furniture has lived out its life.
“Mirrored closet doors were very common, especially in small apartments where they made the bedrooms seem larger, but the retro trend has since then made way for rolling or French doors, which add a bit more personality,” Deshpande says.
The same goes for mirrored furniture — a trend that saw mirrors grace coffee tables, end tables, and bedside tables. “Mirrored furniture tends to reflect everything — so what shows up along with reflections of what populates the rooms is dust, fingerprints, and all the mess that’s around,” she adds.
Shroff agrees, stating that the only place he’s okay with using mirrors is as the backing for bookshelves. “That adds a bit of reflective light, doubles the number of books, and adds interest.”
Apart from these, a few other things have become outdated in the last couple of years. These include animal print (zebra rugs and faux leopard print cushions), boho style (think an overdose of macrame and pops of colour), oversized media cabinets (who needs them in the time of flush flatscreens and personal streaming devices), marble contact paper (it doesn’t really look like marble), tile countertops (too diner like and tough to clean), and exposed cords (they speak of lack of attention to detail and create clutter).
That said, Deshpande says that there are no black and whites when it comes to home décor. “Greys are omnipresent as they should be because the only rule one should follow when doing up the home is carrying out what you really, really love,” she says.