“ ‘Dated’ means that at one time it looked good,” said Amy Zantzinger, an interior designer based in Chevy Chase. “Bad taste never looked good.”
Benign neglect makes that giant whitewashed armoire or faux-finished ceiling that was once on the cover of Elle Decor your own personal monument to decades past. Compare your interiors to a clothes closet that is never weeded out. From time to time, rooms need a fresh eye and a wardrobe change. Home fashion repeats itself but rarely in the exact same way. Elements come back in slightly different forms. Wall-to-wall shag was the toast of the 1970s. In the past decade, shag area rugs have become a designer showhouse staple. Avocado-green walls were pretty much banished after the 1970s, but olive green is having a revival as we speak.
Anyone who spends time dropping in on open houses in their neighborhood knows that many homes, with their puffy balloon shades and sloppy slipcovered sofas, are stuck in another decade. So remember that the orange, gourd-shaped lamp you think is so chic may have no takers on Craigslist in 2020.
In the spirit of fun, we asked a few local designers to come up with a list of the seven deadly sins of dated decorating and how to fix them. How many will you confess to?
1. Mauve: A paint color of yore
Mauve was big in the 1980s and 1990s, when the distinctive dusty rose color showed up on carpeting, sectional sofas and especially accent walls. If your bedroom is painted mauve, you are sleeping in a time warp.
Debbie Wiener, a designer based in Silver Spring, has strong feelings about this color. “Mauve has come and gone, and there is no place for it in our future,” she said, singling out Benjamin Moore’s Mauve Mist. “Horrible.”
As an alternative paint choice, Wiener is hot on Benjamin Moore’s Rhine River, a medium-intensity green she says can be warm and cool at the same time and fits modern or traditional decor. “Where mauve resembles nothing in nature,” Wiener says, “this color has a very natural look.”
2. Track lighting: Way off track
Designer Amy Zantzinger thinks lots of living rooms need an overhead lighting overhaul. “Track and recessed fixtures interrupt a beautiful ceiling. They are overdone and look tired,” she said. “Track lighting is also bulky and clunky, cluttering up your ceiling.” Zantzinger also says ceiling-mounted lights are unnecessary to highlight your paintings. “I don’t live in an art gallery,” she said.
Zantzinger believes that floor lamps are making a huge comeback. She likes a combination of floor and table lamps to personalize a room. Some of her favorite floor lamps are skinny metal ones that give an overall glow and add height to a room. She likes those from Holtkoetter.com, especially the floor lamps with a small metal shade.