The great thing about design is there’s something for everyone–but not everything is for everyone. We asked eight designers to share their unpopular design opinions, from the trends they’re steering clear of to the styles they’ll never give up, no matter how many design “rules” they’re breaking.
Maybe you’re going to nod along knowing you’re not the only one who’s not a fan of the black trim that’s everywhere on Instagram right now. Perhaps you’d like to permanently shut the barn doors that have become a staple in the modern farmhouse. Or, maybe you’ll feel seen when you realize others are also holding on tightly to open floor plans and faux plants.
Whatever it is that strikes your design fancy, it’s good to know that you’re in good company with your “unpopular opinions.” But, remember, as one of our designers notes, even when she resists the of-the-moment look at first, the trends do sometimes get to you.
Keep the Trim Monochromatic
“I have seen so many beautiful spaces that have contrasting trim, from the subtle approach—hello, @chrislovesjulia Accessible Beige trim—to the all-out big-drama contrast approach. And, for some spaces, it is absolutely the right choice. For me though, the monochrome look will always be the right choice, trendy or not. I try to focus one’s eyes to look through that door, or through that window, rather than at the door or window. So, I always keep it as simple as possible as not to detract.” —Kaya Popova of Kaya Interior Designs
“There is one trend that I see all over Instagram that I think looks beautiful in other homes but I just can’t get on board, and that’s painting the window frames/trim black. I love white walls and white window trim because it makes the room look clean and airy. I rather add curtains and window treatments to define the window. With black trim, you are limited to using window treatments since it can make the space look too crowded or busy.” —Ana Isaza of Modern House Vibes
Just Say No to Sliding Barn Doors
“I’m not a fan of the sliding barn door. They’re big, they’re heavy, and they take up a lot of wall space. I prefer the look of a steel and glass door, a French door, or even a panel door that goes with the architecture of the house.” —Kimberly Holdaway of Lemon Leaf Home Interiors
Open Up Those Floor Plans Again
“I believe open-concept spaces are here to stay, and I am all for it. I know 2021’s trend is to create more closed-off spaces, and I simply don’t agree with it. Open concept spaces naturally give more light and it lends the eye to believe a space is larger than it may actually be, and well, who doesn’t want that. Stop adding those walls to close off areas, and let's keep those walls down. That is the only good thing I’ll keep from 2020.” —Rebecca Rollins-Garcia of Rebecca Rollins Interiors
Choose Each Window Treatment Based on the Window Itself
“Some would say it’s a no-no to do Roman shades and curtains in the same room. Typically I would do both styles in one room, as I like to keep the style consistent. However, in my design for Lauren Conrad’s Pacific Palisades Home in her primary bedroom, it was okay in my opinion to use both curtains and Roman shades due to the nature of the existing windows architecture.” —Katherine Carter of Katherine Carter Design
Bring On the Retro Tile
“A couple of years ago, I was majorly against the hints towards another resurgence of tile counters and surfaces besides floors and backsplashes—the trend heavily peaked in the ’70s and ’80s. Well, as with most trends, after I saw it resurfacing a few times, I was an early adopter and DIYed a tile side table recently with leftover tile. Of course, now, I will not be surprised if I go full-on with a countertop with a beautiful tile someday. The trends always get me!” —Amanda Walker of Dwell Aware
Put Down the Chalk Paint and the Lacquer
“There is no shortage of avid DIY-ers slathering paint on their thrifted and secondhand pieces. But, whenever possible, I like to allow the patina of an older piece to shine. Nothing can "distress" a piece as beautifully as time.” —Kaelyn Guerin
Faux Plants Are A-Okay
“Incorporating faux plants into your décor is okay—within reason. Let's be honest: not everyone has a green thumb. The secrets to making faux plants look good are to 1) use them sparingly throughout the home and 2) buy the best quality ones you can afford. I typically find great-looking faux plants at my local garden center and various home décor boutiques. They're a little more expensive than the ones you might buy at big-box retailers, but they're worth the extra money because they look far more realistic than their less expensive counterparts.” —Kate Dreyer of Kate Decorates