9 Terrifying Design Trends of the Past

They’re baaaaaaaaack. Or maybe, in some cases, they may have never gone away. Think of these as the design trends that should be locked away in a dark, dark basement somewhere. Stop being haunted by the ghosts of design trends of the past and let’s instead learn from the mistakes that haunt us.

1. Wallpaper borders

First they lurked around the tops of walls, near the ceiling. Then they migrated to the middle, arguably in place of the framing provided by beadboard or wainscoting. In most cases, the design got way too literal, and the middle of the wall was an inconvenient place to put a border (at best). But glue it on, we did, only to find out how frustrating and painful the removal could be once we realized those kittens-in-baskets were not providing the aesthetic we’d hoped they would.

2. Colored Countertops

These are definitely not subtle gradations of marble or multicolored, yet natural slabs of granite. Nor are they neutral butcher block or sleek soapstone. These were the design concept of…someone thinking bright orange or lemon yellow Formica would age well?!

3. Shag Carpet

The late 1960s and 1970s were marked by a lot of memorable design trends. One of the hardest to clean? Shag carpeting, often installed wall-to-wall, in vibrant oranges, myriad browns, and even multicolor takes. For a modern update on fluffy, textural shag, skip the harvest gold and opt for a neutral Flokati or Moroccan-style rug.

4. Sponge Painting

Sponge painting was sold as a method to incorporate some more creative and “softer” textures in homes, but it often went really, really overboard. These days? Leave sponge-painting to an expert, if at all.

5. Splatter Paint

The opposite of subtlety, splatter paint splashed its way across the 1990s décor scene, often in bedrooms. Now recommended, if you need that color fix: A solid accent wall.

6. Chintz walls and fabrics

Cabbage roses everywhere! Laura Ashley explosions were popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s…and they should probably stay there. As Miranda Priestly said in The Devil Wears Prada: “Florals for spring. How novel.” Truthfully, floral prints as part of an interior design scheme can still be great—if done in a fresh, modern, and shall we say, scaled-back way.

7. Hunter Green and Brass

Like a scene out of Glengarry Glen Ross, hunter green Wall Street style not only had a heyday, it even made a brief return. Pass.

8. Pastel Southwest

Somehow, pastel southwest style manages to call up memories of the Miami-based “Golden Girls” episode. No knock to the classic TV show, but we don’t need to recreate that set anytime soon.

9. Fireplaces

Hearths are not exempt from design trends either, from ugly open hearths to the excess of brass. We’ve all been there—no shaming intended—but fortunately we have the fix to save your fireplace from design evil: Gas fireplace inserts. Heat & Glo fireplace inserts can transform an existing traditional masonry fireplace into a beautiful and efficient heat source, without a major renovation. You’ve got prime real estate sitting right in front of you, put it to good use with the best-in-class styling and performance of a Heat & Glo gas fireplace insert. See how easy it is, then connect with your local Heat & Glo dealer to talk next steps.