I wouldn’t say I was an overly trend-led person when it comes to interior decor. I have liked the same slightly minimalist, slightly rustic style for decades.
However, that’s not to say I haven’t been drawn in by furniture trends that I convince myself will become classics. Plus, it doesn’t help that every few months I have a style crisis and question all the decisions I have made thus far and feel the need to buy one ‘trendy’ statement piece that will totally transform my space (and, by extension, who I am as a person).
So, for the purpose of helping you not make the same mistakes I have made over the years, I have listed all the once on-trend pieces and styles I invested in to try to make my home more like the rooms of Pinterest and Instagram. Some I regret because they don’t work with my current furniture, some I regret because that particular interior design trend lasted all of a few months, and some I regret because they are just so impractical.
5 outdated furniture trends to avoid
I’m not alone in thinking these are outdated furniture trends; I also got designers to back me up.
1. White bouclé couches
See, looking at this space, I get why I did it. White bouclé couches are so chic, but firstly I have a dog, and secondly, they give a very summery vibe to a room. I loved that when I first bought my white bouclé sofa but when fall rolled around and I wanted to ditch the SoCal vibe and go for something cozier, the white bouclé couch didn’t really allow for that – it all of a sudden felt very stark and dated.
The one thing I can say that I don’t regret is going for the fabric I chose. It was touch and go for a while between a basic cotton and a bouclé, like the one seen above (still pretty dreamy). Not only was the cotton a better option because it was far more affordable, the cover is also removable and machine washable. That wouldn’t be an option for a bouclé sofa, plus bouclé is on the out, it’s no longer the on-trend fabric for the best couches and would definitely have started to look dated.
‘Once a staple in Paris flea markets, where buyers could envision these pieces in their own fabric, white bouclé sofas have become overly popular, even adopted by designers as a trendy statement,’ agrees designer Kati Curtis. ‘As a result, they have become ubiquitous and impractical for modern interior spaces. Instead, explore the realm of beautiful jewel tones or printed fabrics for sofas that are not only more interesting but also more practical in your home.’
2. Trend-led mid-century modern pieces
I do very much love Mid-century modern ideas. I just bought some wishbone chairs that I adore, and it’s a style that’s always going to be on trend in some form or another forever. But there are pieces I have bought in the past that are starting to feel dated. Notably a teak sideboard – you know the very classic retro piece.
I, however, didn’t really do my research or invest and bought a lookalike piece for a low price that did date fast. I started to notice how out of place it looked too. I am all for blending styles, but this piece just looked like I was trying to jump on a trend without much consideration beyond ‘that style of consoles is popular, and what want in my home.’ Which is pretty much how the thought process behind this piece went.
‘The mid-century modern trend, once ubiquitous with its Eames chairs, Saarinen tables, and sleek teak furniture, has finally had its day and is now considered over,’ says Kati. ‘If you’re a die-hard MCM fan, it’s time to explore new horizons and opt for less expected pieces. Consider exploring the works of lesser-known artists like Carlo Hauner and Poul Kjaerholm who bring fresh perspectives to mid-century furniture design.’
‘I adore Mid-century architecture but think the trend went a little overboard recently,’ agrees designer Julia Demspter. ‘I prefer to employ a blend of contemporary, bespoke, and vintage pieces from a variety of periods which then creates a layered feel that is rich in texture and influence yet functional and effortless. It’s important to mix new and vintage elements in order to create an interesting, eclectic, and individualized room and not one that looks like all the furniture came from the same showroom.’
3. Scalloped features
‘As interior design trends constantly evolve, one furniture trend I think is definitely on its way out is any furniture designs that feature scallops. Although quite popular for a while, providing a whimsical addition to the home, it’s definitely a fad trend and is on the decline,’ says designer Emma Deterding.
‘I think one of the main reasons is that it really reflects the trend and a time period where scallops were en vogue, and also it’s something that lacks versatility. Taking its inspiration from retro-inspired design, the fixed and definitive nature of scalloped furniture feels disconnected from modern design language and is not flexible enough for day-to-day living.
‘It’s definitely something that will date and they are not classic, timeless pieces that will stand the test of time in terms of design and style. Along with scallops, I think curved furniture and anything with an unusual shape will see its way out – I’d always suggest going for classic, timeless pieces!’
I didn’t invest too much money in this trend, but I did buy a scallop-edged mirror and a couple of picture frames. I do still think they work and don’t date the room too much, however, I now want to replace them all with wavy edges – shows how quickly trends can switch, and even something as subtle as a scalloped edge versus a wavy edge can change how on trend your rooms feel. I will say this is the way to do trends if you are unsure of their longevity: just pick out a few smaller accessories that you can switch up as trends change.
4. Swing chairs
A swing chair seemed like the answer to adding a practical feature to my small bedroom. It would add some character, a place to perch, and wouldn’t take up any valuable floor space. It looked great for the first year and felt like a real novelty. Then the novelty wore off and my love of everything rattan also started to fade. It got very little use as an actual chair, and as often happens with any bedroom chair, turned into a dumping place for clothes.
Kati agrees that these once incredibly covetable items have had their time, ‘Rattan swing chairs, once gracing the covers of every magazine, are now better suited for the ambiance of a beach house or a children’s nursery. If you truly desire a hanging chair, consider opting for a hand-woven leather one from Louis Vuitton for a touch of luxury and uniqueness,’ she suggests.
5. Oversized accent chairs
This is where I did fall prey to the love of bouclé and bought a classic cream bouclé accent chair for my living room – it was massively discounted in a holiday sale during lockdown. And while I do think bouclé is gradually being replaced, it’s actually the shape of the chair that I am loving less and less. It’s chunky, bulky even, and while this kind of oversized, overstuffed furniture was very on trend earlier this year, it’s already starting to look a bit mainstream. And once something goes mainstream you know it’s only a matter of time before it’s outdated.
‘Let’s say goodbye to the overstuffed, oversized chairs,’ says founder of Folding Chair Design, Jennifer Walter. ‘We are indeed seeing larger chairs like plush wing chairs and chaises making a comeback but the days of the papasan chair and the chair and half with double-backs are over! They’re just too big and only offer one seat, hogging space and looking monstrous.’
What furniture trends are timeless?
Trends that are timeless tend not to be trends at all, that’s what makes them timeless. Our advice is not to rush into buying everything new based on what’s trending. Wait a while and see if you still love the look months later.
‘I think the move towards natural and earthy spaces reflects our desire to live authentically and comfortably and really be intentional about what matters most in our lives, simplicity, timelessness, connection, and beauty all come to mind. It’s a more understated aesthetic defined by high-quality materials, textiles, and craftsmanship in our furniture choices,’ says Julia Dempster.
How to avoid choosing furniture that dates quickly? An easy way to ensure your home never looks dated or too full of trend-led pieces is to shop vintage, antique, and second-hand.
‘Supply chain issues over the last few years forced designers to become more resourceful and creative. Scouring auction houses, vintage resellers, and local antique fairs and markets for available inventory and finding unique pieces that are conversation starters and add patina to a home that can’t be achieved with all brand-new furnishings.’ explains interior designer Julia Dempster.
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