7 outdated vintage home trends to avoid, according to experts

Wood cabinet in living room
Wood cabinet in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

For those who are not fans of flat-packed furniture or Scandi style, vintage decor and one-off pieces have become a popular alternative for adding character and flair to modern homes. 

And while 1970’s or 80’s-inspired decor have been making a comeback, you might also want to know these outdated vintage home trends to avoid.

According to our interior experts, these vintage home trends are no longer functional and unattractive — and should stay firmly in the past. What’s more, some of these trends are just not practical, especially if you want to make a small room look bigger, or even brighten a dark room. So, before you start decorating with vintage, check out these 7 outdated vintage home trends to avoid, according to experts. 

Also, avoid these 7 color scheme mistakes you might be making in your home.

1. Sliding barn doors 

Wooden sliding barn door

Wooden sliding barn door (Image credit: Splashback.co.uk)

The rustic, farmhouse trend was once all the rage, with homeowners installing sliding barn doors for that finishing touch. At the time, the rustic wood and exposed hardware offered a warm feel with a touch of the outdoors, and added character to a room.

But while it made a unique focal point, experts suggest that barn doors now lack practicality, making them unsuitable for certain spaces.  

“The farmhouse decor trend took the interiors world by storm and with it came barn doors. But it's hard to ignore the downsides these statement doors have, including taking up large amounts of wall space in order to function,” states Claire O’Brien, Head of Design at Splashback. “Spare floor and wall space is a luxury that not many modern homeowners have. Barn doors are essentially large slabs of wood connected to metal runners above the door, so they are not airtight or sound proof which can cause privacy issues. Sound tends to travel quite freely through the gaps that surround the entire door as it merely outlines the doorway, so not ideal for bedrooms or bathrooms. They let a lot of heat out too.”

If you must have sliding doors however, pocket doors work well in smaller spaces. These are essentially sliding doors that ‘disappear’ into a compartment in the adjacent wall, when fully open.  

2. Rustic color scheme

Brown wood floor in living room

Brown wood floor in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Similarly, the popular, rustic color trend is slowly losing its appeal, and being replaced with vintage wallpaper designs instead. “There is one popular style from the decade that should stay in the past — sticking to only dark brown and rustic colour schemes in your interiors,” says Paula Taylor, Head Stylist at Graham and Brown.

“While this rustic, wood vintage interior trend was once in style, we’re now seeing demand for interior trends that instead breathe life into spaces. If you want to embrace a vintage look today, we recommend opting for a layered colourful look. For example, opt for a vintage wallpaper design in a rich jewel tone, such as turquoise, emerald green or blue.” 

Before you start though, you might want to check out how to wallpaper a room like a pro, and  how to remove wallpaper for best results.  

3. Pastel colors

Blush pink wall in bedroom

Blush pink wall in bedroom (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another vintage trend was pastel-centred schemes, such as blush pink often used to add subtle color around the home. But according to experts, the pastel shade has had its day.

“Until recently, pastels were still considered calming, happy tones that brought a sense of ease to the home. But they began to fall from favour during lockdown when people unexpectedly had to spend the majority of their time indoors surrounded by these bland shades,” says O’Brien.

“Homeowners wanted bolder, louder hues and patterns in their homes that made a statement. Dark, earthy greens that provided the feeling of being outdoors while no one was able to go outdoors naturally became popular and have continued to remain favourable.”

4 Glass block windows 

Glass block windows

Glass block windows (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Back in the 1940s, glass block walls were a popular feature, often used as partitions, or decorative ways to let light into a room. And while they’ve had a resurgence in recent years, the trend of glass block windows is on its way out, according to experts. This is mainly down to their impractical qualities, and mere fact that they simply look dated. 

“The  appearance of glass blocks can be outdated, unattractive and unnecessary whilst also having some impractical qualities,” say experts from Hovia UK.  “Although the view through a glass block is clouded and neighbours won't be able to see through in detail, you can still make out outlines which might not be the best addition to a bathroom. Glass block windows also don’t allow any ventilation, so whether you are ill, needing any fresh air or cleaning with harsh chemicals it can be quite impractical.”

If you do want to divide a room however, you could opt for screens, bamboo room dividers, curtains or even use bookshelves to create a wall. 

5. Tiled surfaces 

White tiled surface

White tiled surface (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Cue another popular 70s trend —  tiled surfaces and furniture. In fact, experts say these actually had a resurgence during lockdown as many people were upcycling old furniture to keep them occupied, and also save money. Plus, the likes of Pinterest had plenty of inspiration for tiled and mosaic tables and home accessories. 

However, this vintage trend is fast becoming redundant, once again, for its impractical uses. “This DIY hack saw individuals applying self-adhesive tiles to coffee tables, bedside tables and kitchen tables and using grout to fill the gaps to give the appearance of a professionally tiled surface,” states O’ Brien, “However, DIY tiling and grouting can create uneven surfaces that lead to drinks and other liquids spilling, which isn’t ideal for a table. The difficulties of cleaning the grout between tiles is no secret, but when you add food and drink to the mix it creates a surface that requires a lot of time and effort to clean on a daily basis.”

For cleaning tips, check out how to clean grout in a few steps. Or find out what happened when our Homes Editor cleaned her grout with toothpaste!

6. Leather sofas

Brown leather sofa

Brown leather sofa (Image credit: Shutterstock)

With their vintage style, and rugged/worn aesthetic, the leather sofa has been a timeless piece of furniture. However, some experts suggest it’s going out of style, in favor of the more popular fabric sofas. And while leather sofas are more expensive, and durable, these often require maintenance to keep it looking in top condition.

Instead, softer materials with more fluid, sculptural designs have been the 'must-have' choice of sofa in recent years. Tailored designs like the quilted sofa, bouclé textures, mixed materials, or ones with multifunctionality (sofa beds, recliners), are gaining popularity.  

If you do prefer leather though, you might want to read how to clean a leather couch and remove stains to keep it in great shape. 

7. Round beds     

Grey round bed and bedding

Grey round bed and bedding (Image credit: Shutterstock)

This vintage trend first came about in the 1960s, and featured in many movies such as in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. However, according to experts, there are some good reasons why round beds should firmly be banished to the past. 

“There are a few practicalities surrounding round beds such as losing space. Although it may be easier to sleep in it as a single person, two people may not find it so comfortable,” says experts from Hovia, “It’s also more expensive to invest in. Since round beds are not that frequent, affordable  prices can be difficult to find, as well  as finding rounded mattresses and bedsheets on top of this”. 

Instead, invest in one of the best mattresses or even one of the best smart beds to guarantee a perfect night’s sleep! 

  • Natural materials such as cane, jute, rattan, bamboo etc
  • Repurposed furniture 
  • Archways in the home
  • Curvy furniture
  • Bold retro paint colors
  • Velvet furniture

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!