Home Decor

The Best (& Worst) Home Trends of the 2010s, According to You

Farmhouse! Open shelves! Plants? Who knew.

December 30, 2019
Photo by Mark Weinberg

A month ago, a friend directed me to a Reddit thread from earlier this year in which this Redditor posted a question about the home trends we’ll regret in 20 years. It got well over 2000 posts about everything from painted floors to barn doors and...Joanna Gaines—but the discussion around open shelves was particularly heated. “This really is one of the dumbest trends. People tear out top cabinets to put in those shelves and lose a ton of space,” said one Redditor. Oops, I remember thinking, I rather like open shelves.

The last decade has given us a lot of really distinctive (and divisive) home décor trends: the dominance of the all-white kitchen, the rise of the subway tile backsplash, the growth of direct-to-consumer furniture brands, an interest in natural, sustainable materials, and…millennial pink (I’ll admit, I never really got that one—reminds me too much of Pepto Bismol). Some started and ended as passing fads (remember the backward books trend? No? How about this holiday trend?), others graduated to full-blown trends, and some, like midcentury modernism, got so integrated into modern living, we’re not sure when and how we lived without them.

So last week, noting that the decade was passing us by, we posted this question on our community hotline: What home décor trends from the 2010s are you sooo ready to say goodbye to? The opinions came in unfiltered. Turns out people have very strong opinions on what they’d like to leave behind in the 2010s. (Of course, we’ve written about almost all of these, so the joke’s on us.) Here are some of them:

  • “I can't believe I, the minimalist, am saying this, but I'm ready to let go of all-white walls everywhere!” —Maurine H

  • "I'm very glad farmhouse chic is dying a slow death." —Pari K.

  • “I'm so over the Marie Kondo variety of minimalism. I think it creates more destructive consumption patterns in the long run (i.e. discard what you don't need today, realize you need it tomorrow and go out to buy some more).” —Pari K (again)

  • "Chalkboard walls! They never seem to look as nice in person as they do online. They're messy, messy, MESSY." —Garrett F.

  • “I’m ready to say goodbye to the use of woven baskets as wall decor! At this point, everyone under the sun has done this trend.” —Aja A.

  • "This is controversial, I know, but: houseplants (gasp!). I think in the 2020s we'll look back and realize houseplants were just clutter in green, leafy disguise. One or two add life to a room, sure, but I'm ready for the houseplant-on-every-surface thing to stop." —Annie Q.

  • "Also, I really wouldn’t mind taking a break from air plants. It was too much of a good thing." —Maggie S.

  • "Concrete used indoors (except maybe as large plant pots)! How awful are those concrete kitchen counters that are rough around the edges and even though sealed, stain so easily! Saw a concrete couch once...can't imagine relaxing there." —Gammy

  • "I'm very much ready to say goodbye to gallery walls! They were fun for a while, but now I think they're totally overdone and can actually make a space look cluttered if there are too many photos or decor pieces included." —Camryn R.

  • "As much as an open-concept floor plan makes a space feel bigger, I'm ready to embrace designated rooms again! I think that open concepts are great for entertaining, but designing around a party that happens a few times a year isn't exactly fair to daily life." —Kelly D.

  • "No more inspirational quotes on things, please!" —Garrett F. (coming back for more)

While we're on it, here are some others we think could use a rest. They were fun while they lasted, but we’re excited to see what’s next:

Open Edison bulbs

Once favored by every Brooklyn hipster, and maybe, me.

Hygge

Nothing against the cozy sentiment, but our overuse of Scandinavian buzzwords could use a break!

Organizing books by color

Let's go back to messy artful stacks of books, please?

All-white interiors

Have you tried maintaining an all-white interior? How's that going?

The fiddle leaf fig tree

As Maggie S. says, "Release it back into the wild."

White subway tiles

Because they have fully run their course. OK, it’s true: we’ve got them all over our office. And they're kinda hard to hate because they're so easy to clean (and they polish up like a diamond). And they're a classic. Arrghhh, fine, we'll keep them.

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Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.

39 Comments

Kathi P. January 7, 2020
I agree totally about open plan houses! I never want to live somewhere that includes a kitchen in the same room as a diningroom and/or livingroom. My first bachelor apartment even had a separate kitchen. I love to cook and I don't want to be cooking up a storm in the livingroom, thanks. Bad design!
 
Jessica E. January 7, 2020
I am genuinely confused as to why some consider open floor plans to be incompatible with everyday living and mainly convenient for parties. Without an open floor plan, how do families spend any time together? At least for us, it means one of us can spend hours cooking while the other is doing something in the living room and we still can hang out together/watch tv together. With kids, you could work in the kitchen while still supervising their play. I don't understand how closed off spaces work for a modern family, unless you want to spend your time away from each other in different rooms (which is a legitimate preference, but not how I prefer to spend limited time at home).
 
Kathi P. January 7, 2020
I'm horrified by places with open floor plans. I love to cook, but I don't want to cook in the livingroom.
 
Anna January 8, 2020
I hear you. I never thought I was a fan of open floor plans until we started house-hunting, and I realized I didn't want to be isolated in a closed-off kitchen while working on a baking project. Maybe just something...partially open.
 
Elizabeth H. January 11, 2020
We live in an old shotgun house in New Orleans where the kitchen is at the very back of the house and the living room is four rooms away at the front of the house. It’s lonely when you have to be in the kitchen for too long.
 
Rebecca C. January 7, 2020
White walls will never be out of style. Subway tiles are classic...over used today a bit but almost always appropriate. The article didn't mention gray...it's OVER...gray walls, gray woodish floors...stop already. Barn doors...done. Farmhouse chic...so over. Individualism and space reflecting the person who lives there in a unique way is where we are headed for the 20's. You won't find a pinterst board for that....yet.
 
JanieMac January 9, 2020
I'm with you. I am grayed out! Every shade of gray on every surface. Please make it stop. An no, adding a bit of dark blue is not enough to make it a happy home.
Living in a space that reflects the people who live in it is also the direction I am going. Clearing up before painting, I am finding bits of of personal treasure that speaks to me and will end up on a wall or shelf in some form so I can see it. Our space, our life. Reminding myself that we are not on show, it is not a statement, it is just our living space.
 
Nanatipsy January 6, 2020
Noooo not the books organised by colour! Everything else can GTFO (except for the white walls, I also have these and love how relaxed and calm my house feels because it allows furniture and art to stand out). But yeah, open shelving in a kitchen, never a good idea!
 
Cookie January 12, 2020
Ditto. Books organized by color is an intellectual embarrassment! Also agree about open shelving in the kitchen. I have beautiful cookware and dishes but want them to be clean and stay clean between uses.
 
Karen T. January 12, 2020
You got me wrong, I love books organised by colour! You can be intelligent and love rainbows
 
Parrish N. January 5, 2020
I never follow trends.....I do what I like. That way I dont have to worry with redoing when the big "bruhaw" is over....just when I want to make change. I have color in my historic home, but I'm tired of it. I want to go more neutral in my next home!
 
Smaug January 6, 2020
You seem to be ignoring your duty as an American to be a good little consumer. Shame, shame, shame.
 
crsinbos January 3, 2020
What is replacing the simple, savory, peaceful white kitchen? Did I miss an post?
 
Emily B. January 3, 2020
I doubt the classic beautiful white kitchen is going anywhere. Blogs/ design sites/ instagrams show many different colors of cabinets, busy backsplashes, and sometimes colored appliances. Many are pretty and well designed. But the beautiful white kitchen is still Queen.
 
Smaug January 2, 2020
Most people who are serious about books usually end up with some stacks, if not artful stacks, but they are a matter of simple desperation as storage systems tend to break down and reach capacity. It is not a good way to store books. Or records or much of anything. Storing books by color is an example of why decorators should be banned from the real world. Decorators buying large matched sets of leather bound books is kind of a boon to booksellers, as there is a limited market for things like 20 volume sets of 18th century sermons or whimsical essays, but most of them hate it anyway, out of a general respect for the book.
 
Emily B. January 2, 2020
Sorting books by color is bizarre. No book lover I know would do this with their own collection. In a theater set or store display where the book is purely a prop, sure. But if you bought it to read- not really.
 
Mika January 8, 2020
I disagree. I read over 50 books a year, mostly literary fiction (not saying this to boast, just to make a point that "book lovers" have varying preferences) and I organise my books according to colour. I recognise the colour and cover of a book I've read and this is the easiest way for me to find a book I'm looking for. Trying to find my copy of The Poisonwood Bible? Check in the light green section.
 
Barbie N. December 31, 2019
OMG, I have to say I DETEST an accent wall! Just my opinion, but if you're going to pick a fun color go for the gold, or maybe use that color in your furniture choices. I may be alone in this but it just bugs the hell out of me.
 
Michele G. January 3, 2020
You are not alone. I too DETEST the accent wall. When I purchased my first house the family room/library had all red walls. It was a Pratt Lambert paint--not a "colonial red" or even an orange red--in an eggshell finish. I discovered red walls can mix with just about anything. Among the best color advice I ever received was to treat that red as a neutral. Perhaps more important is to consider the sheen: flat, satin, eggshell, lacquer, et al. I agree with you: either go all in on a color--you can always pick a different hue--or don't. The only timid choice is an accent wall, which bugs the hell out of me too.
 
Emily B. December 31, 2019
Open shelving in big kitchens with fabulous collections of matching pottery or glassware looks great in professioally-styled photos. In my modest kitchen, open shelves would lead to a very cluttered appearance and dusty dishes. (Cat hair!) Cabinet doors keep things clean and tidy-looking. My cupboards are organized but collected or styled. A trend for the up-market only.
 
Emily B. December 31, 2019
But "NOT collected or styled."
 
Barbie N. December 31, 2019
I love the idea of open shelving (love my beautiful dishes!) but have to agree with you. With my smallish kitchen and cats I don't see it working.
 
Emily B. December 31, 2019
Glass door inserts can be a very nice option.
 
leslie January 1, 2020
Absolutely. You don’t have to be so neat and perfect, you can light them, and the dishes stay dust and cat hair free! It lets the kitchen look bigger than with flat doors. Even if you don’t buy from IKEA they really have some great ideas for storage, light and cupboards and drawers.... take a look at there show kitchens
 
Smaug January 3, 2020
Open shelves in earthquake territory are an invitation to disaster. Also, a shelf of even a modest 12" depth requires fairly massive brackets for support , which cabinet sides provide easily and more securely, even for 24" depths. Not to mention the cleaning problems.
 
Parrish N. January 5, 2020
Exactly...just not realistic for people who actually cook and use their kitchen. Even if you have a good vent hood (I do) grease and dust will find its way.
 
Marilyn J. December 31, 2019
All white kitchens. Can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would want one.
 
Barbie N. December 31, 2019
Dying for a white kitchen with pink accents, but four grandchildren, four cats and two dogs would make for a living nightmare!
 
KevinTylerHall December 31, 2019
Editors, is there a point to this article other than to be negative about what people like? The title says best (and worst) but I don’t see any commentary about what people love. That might be useful for folks looking for ideas. Instead I just see comments about what people hate. And what’s the point of that?
 
Author Comment
Arati M. December 31, 2019
H Kevin. Sorry you feel that way! Full disclosure: We (the Eds at Food2) have written about all these trends, and loved many of them! This was more about asking our community what they've loved (or not) but are ready to say goodbye to—to make way for new! I hope you have a very happy new year, and thank you for your comment.
 
KevinTylerHall December 31, 2019
Can you find me the comments in the article about what the community loved? I’m confused.
 
KevinTylerHall December 31, 2019
What I’m requesting is that your content match your headline. Thoughts from the editors?
 
Sophie W. December 31, 2019
The content totally matches the headline. It states the question that was posed to “the community” (did you click on the link?) and then their responses. It is implicit that the community loved these trends for a while, otherwise they wouldn’t have embraced them for long enough to now be over them. That said, the majority of the comments are about what people loved (for a while) rather than trends they hated.
 
Dicc I. January 1, 2020
dude chill tf out
 
Tonray December 30, 2019
I’m so over farmhouse design. I feel like it has been done and done and then overdone and it keeps going. Barn wood doors... over it!! I can appreciate lots of different designs but farmhouse is overdone!
 
Author Comment
Arati M. December 30, 2019
That Reddit thread (see above) was made for you! ;) Lots of vigorous opinions on Farmhouse there. Happy new decade to you, and your home!
 
Kathryn K. January 3, 2020
Unless you actually DO LIVE IN A FARMHOUSE😉
 
Shelley T. December 30, 2019
I agree with most of these but I’m not going to change my hygge minimalist home because a few people think it’s a trend. It has brought calm and happiness to my life that I enjoy every single day.
 
Author Comment
Arati M. December 30, 2019
When it becomes a way of life that brings you joy, I'd say: keep it around. Happy New Year (and new decade) to you!