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Interior designers share trends that aren’t worth the money


An all-black look can be expensive to undo.

Black walls are difficult to paint over.


Interior designer Pamela O’Brien told Insider that getting the trend for black cabinets and walls right can be difficult and it takes a lot of effort to reverse.

“While black cabinets and walls can be dramatic and moody, all that black and darkness can feel oppressive,” said O’Brien.

The color is often very hard to cover up, so you may have to spend money to replace your cabinets or hire a professional painter if the look doesn’t work.

Open shelves may be cheap to set up but are difficult to maintain.


White open kitchen shelves with cups, plates and vases

You need to clean up open shelves more often.

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Open shelving has been going for years, but this design choice requires discipline and regular maintenance.

“If you’re willing to carefully organize your dishes every day, this can be a great look,” O’Brien said. “But if you need to store miscellaneous items that don’t look great, cabinets and doors are a better choice.”

She added that open shelves usually can’t hold as much as traditional cabinets, so you may need to look for extra storage space.

Swag light fixtures can make a room look cluttered and unfinished.

Swag fixture hanging from a wooden beam in a white room

Swag lighting can be difficult to perform.

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Susann Goerg, interior designer and founder of happyhomes design, told Insider that swag lighting — fixtures with exposed wiring and suspension mechanisms — is hard to come by.

“More often than not, your average swag light looks unintentional and gives the room an unfinished look and feel,” Goerg said.

Instead, the designer suggested experimenting with wall sconces with swing arms or tall, curved floor lamps.

Indoor jungles can be expensive and lead to pest problems.

Bathroom with many windows full of plants

More plants can increase the humidity in your space.


Bringing living green into your home is an easy way to make rooms feel inviting and fresh, but it can also be pricey in more ways than one.

“Spending a lot of money on exotic plant cultivars doesn’t make sense for most people,” O’Brien said. “Plus, they’re high maintenance and can harbor pests.”

If you have too many houseplants, especially in a poorly ventilated area, the humidity can put your home at risk for pest and mold problems.

Seats that only look good but are not comfortable are not a good investment.

Hanging egg chair with pillows and lighting in the living room

Hanging chairs are not always the most comfortable.

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Eye-catching seating, such as curved sofas or hanging chairs, can add drama to a room, but often at the expense of comfort.

“Today, every piece of furniture needs to be functional and provide comfort, not just looks,” Goerg said. “Make sure that eye-catching sofa matches your space and is really comfortable.”

You can replace glamorous but unusable furniture sooner than more traditional styles, so these pieces can feel like a waste of money.

Tiles with trendy patterns may soon look dated.

white and gray kitchen backsplash with clear patterns, plus a yellow kettle and apples on the worktop

It is best to choose a solid color with an interesting tile layout.


Retiling your floor or backsplash is a long-term investment, so Goerg recommended passing on geometric or vintage tiles with bright patterns.

“Dated tiles can affect the value of your property over time,” Goerg told Insider. “Ask yourself if you’ll still like the pattern six or eight years from now and if it really improves the style of your home.”


Instead, the designer suggested opting for tiles in solid colors or bold, yet versatile subway, herringbone, and penny layouts.

Leather cabinet handles are not practical.

Light brown leather case pulls on light wood

Leather pulls are especially bad for kitchens and bathrooms.

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Leather cabinet and drawer handles can add character to a room, but usually look more durable and practical than they are.

“Leather stains easily when exposed to wet hands, sticky fingers, makeup, oil and food residue,” Goerg said. “They also tend to loosen over time, so you’ll probably end up replacing them with a more durable alternative.”

If you’re determined to use leather pullers, choose to install them on bedroom or hallway furniture rather than kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Accent walls are rarely a good idea.

Striped accent wall in living room with blue furniture

An accent wall can make a room feel unfocused.


Painting or wallpapering a single wall differently from the rest of the room can mess up the overall style.

“A random, unbalanced accent wall in a loud pattern or color usually makes the room’s style feel unfocused,” Goerg said. “These walls rarely have the desired effect.”

Instead of painting an accent wall, Goerg suggested modifying the ceiling with paint or wallpaper.

Washing and wiping wicker often has a high price tag.

Living room with wicker chairs and coffee table

You can often reuse wicker pieces as garden furniture.

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Interior designer Luciana Fragali, owner of the Miami company Design Solutions, told Insider that wicker furniture isn’t worth the cost.

“Wicker makes a comeback about every decade, but when it’s not trending, it becomes an expensive eyesore,” said Fragali. “It can also be uncomfortable, making it impractical for living spaces.”

But unwanted indoor wicker pieces can often be repurposed as patio furniture after being sealed and reupholstered with all-weather fabric.

Murals can limit the future value of your home.

Bedroom with orange bed and yellow floral mural

Murals can deter future buyers.

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If you are considering moving in the next few years, you may want to hold off on installing wall murals.

“When it comes time to sell, the mural will be all buyers focus on,” said Fragali. “They may seem like a great idea at the time, but quickly look dated.”

Instead, she recommended investing in bold accessories or creative millwork.

An all-white interior is often associated with high cleaning costs.

Living room with white walls and two large white sofas

You can instead opt for neutral colors that are easier to clean.

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Minimalist interiors with all-white furniture have been trending for years, but the style is hard to sustain.

“An all-white decor isn’t practical, especially in homes with kids and pets,” Fragali told Insider. “This style can be difficult to keep clean and pristine.”

Opting for accessories and furniture in neutral colors can help you achieve a similar aesthetic without the sky-high cleaning costs.