Interior designers share trends that aren’t worth the money

An all-black look can be expensive to undo.

Black walls can be difficult to repaint.


Interior decorator Pamela O’Brien told Insider that the black cabinetry and wall trend can be difficult to achieve and takes considerable effort to undo.

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

Color is often very difficult to conceal, so you may need to spend money replacing your cabinets or hiring a professional painter if the look doesn’t work.

Open shelving can be inexpensive to install, but difficult to maintain.

White kitchen open shelf with cups, plates and vases

You need to store open shelves more often.


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

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

She added that open shelving usually can’t hold as much as traditional cabinets, so you may need to find additional storage space.

Swag fixtures can make a room look messy and unfinished.

Swag light fixture suspended from a wooden beam in a white room

Swag lighting can be difficult to remove.

Krkd Lath Pwng Kha/EyeEm/Getty Images

Susann Goerginterior designer and founder of happyhomes design, told Insider that lighting swag — fixtures with visible wiring and hanging mechanisms — can be tricky to pull off.

“More often than not, your mid-light swag ends up looking unintended and makes the space look and feel unfinished,” Goerg said.

Instead, the designer suggested experimenting with swing arm wall sconces or large arched floor lamps.

Indoor jungles can be expensive and lead to pest problems.

Bathroom with lots of windows full of plants

More plants can increase the humidity in your space.


Bringing greenery into your home is an easy way to make rooms look inviting and fresh, but it can also be expensive in more ways than one.

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

Having too many houseplants, especially in a poorly ventilated space, can endanger your home for pest infestations and mold problems due to humidity.

A seat that looks good but is not comfortable is not a good investment.

Hanging egg chair with cushions and lights in the living room

Hanging chairs are not always the most comfortable.

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Quirky seating, such as curved sofas or hanging chairs, can add drama to a space, but often at the cost of comfort.

“Every piece of furniture these days should be functional and provide comfort, not just looks,” Goerg said. “Make sure this on-trend sofa makes sense for your space and is actually comfortable.”

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

Trendy patterned tiles may soon look outdated.

white and gray kitchen backsplash with distinct patterns, plus a yellow kettle and apples on the counter

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


Tiling your floor or backsplash is a long-term investment, which is why Goerg recommended switching from geometric or vintage tiles to bright patterns.

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

Instead, the designer suggested opting for plain color tiles or eye-catching yet versatile subway, herringbone and penny layouts.

Leather cabinet handles are impractical.

Light brown leather cabinet pulls on light wood

Leather handles are particularly poorly suited to kitchens and bathrooms.

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Leather cabinet and drawer pulls can add character to a room, but they 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 are determined to use leather handles, opt 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 the living room with blue furniture

An accent wall can blur a room.


Painting or wallpapering a single wall in a different way to the rest of the room can end up blurring the overall style.

“A haphazard, lopsided accent wall in a loud pattern or color will usually make the room look hazy,” Goerg said. “These walls rarely have the intended effect.”

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

Willow waxes and haulms often come at a high price.

Living room with wicker chairs and coffee table

You can often repurpose wicker pieces as outdoor furniture.


Interior designer Luciana Fragali, owner of the Miami business Design Solutionstold Insider that the wicker furniture wasn’t worth the expense.

“Wicker makes a comeback every decade or so, but when it’s not trending it becomes an expensive horror,” Fragali said. “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 covered with weather-resistant fabric.

Murals can limit the future value of your home.

Bedroom with orange bed and yellow floral wall painting

Murals can deter future buyers.


If you plan to move in the next few years, you may want to wait before installing a mural.

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

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

An all-white decor often comes 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.

Roman King / Shutterstock

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

“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 crisp.”

Opting for accessories and furniture in neutral colors can help you achieve a similar aesthetic without the exorbitant cleaning bills.

Betty K. Park