7 Things That Make Your Home Look Dated

02/17/2015 07:50 am ET | Updated Feb 18, 2015

Prevent any "What was I thinking?" moments a few years from now with these fresh -- not faddish -- ideas from Elements of Style author Erin Gates.

By Candace Braun Davison

  • The Backsplash Accent That Cuts the Walls in Half
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    That once-popular stripe of tiny, sea-toned square glass tiles -- or practical, 4-inch strip of granite -- above the stove isn't just out of vogue; the contrasting color cuts your walls in half, making the ceiling seem lower than it actually is. To open things up, choose stone mosaic tiles in a herringbone pattern, or rows of white subway tiles, and extend them all the way to the ceiling (even behind and around the hood), recommends Erin Gates, the interior designer and blogger behind ElementsofStyle.com, and author of the New York Times-bestselling book, Elements of Style.
  • The Throw Pillows That Set Pinterest on Fire
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If the social network created a time capsule to chronicle its meteoric rise to fame in 2011, you better believe it would've included a pair of turquoise-and-white throw pillows. While the zigzag itself is timeless, its use -- and that particular color combination -- has been overdone, Gates says, much like green Imperial Trellis fabric years earlier. The easiest way to freshen things up? "Find a more unexpected way to use it, like black-and-white tile in a chevron pattern on the floor, or an ikat-chevron fabric on curtains, which doesn't have the same crisp lines you normally associate with the print," she explains.
  • The Stylish Pouf That's Better Off as an Ottoman
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Moroccan poufs have been touted as the entertainer's standby for extra seating, but they're typically too low to the ground to actually be comfortable to sit on, Gates says. Swap it out for a pair of X benches -- you can tuck them under a console table when they're not in use, and at 18 to 19 inches tall, they're the same height as most chairs and sofas. For a truly timeless style, try a pair in leather.
  • The Cabinets Used in Almost Every Early 2000s Home Makeover Show
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Maple and oak wood-stained cabinets (especially those with ornate, French-ish carvings) instantly age a kitchen, but thankfully, it's nothing a few coats of paint can't fix. White is a no-fail choice-- Gates swears by Decorator's White and White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Navy or black paint makes carved details less noticeable, though Gates recommends painting only the lower cabinets and island in darker colors, if your ceilings are 8 feet tall or shorter.
  • The All-Caps Word
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    Consider a more subtle alternative to those metal signs spelling out "eat," "family" or "love" in 16-inch letters: In place of the "eat" sign in a kitchen, Gates suggests wrapping a corkboard in linen and framing it with molding to create wall art that doubles as a command center for your to-do lists, recipes and postcards. She recommends gallery wall of black-and-white photos of family members that you add to over time that telegraph the theme. "Just avoid those collage-frame kits or only using photos from one group photo shoot, or it will look too matchy-matchy," Gates says.
  • The Pendant Light Fixture Installed in Every New Home
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    If your house was built in the aughts, there's a good chance you've got overhead lights that look like frosted wine glasses dangling from the ceiling. The real problem with these mini-pendants? They're always too small, Gates says. For a better -- and more timeless -- source of light, try an orb shape with an antique brass finish, like Hinkley's Congress light or a two-tone David Hicks pendant.
  • The Sleigh That Doesn't Come with Eight Reindeer
    Marie Hélène Bilodeau
    As grand as a sleigh bed looks, it can really swallow up a bedroom, making the space seem cramped. Canopy beds have been making a huge comeback recently, Gates says, though the posts are thinner and less detailed than what you remember from late '80s, and the top is kept bare. The tall posts draw your eye up, but they don't take up as much space, making the room seem airier and more open than its predecessor. Plus, this streamlined style doesn't require that you live in a Georgian manor: The thin frame doesn't overwhelm standard 8-foot ceilings. Pair with an upholstered headboard to add a touch of plushness; otherwise the bed can look sterile.

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  • The "Leave No Space Behind" Answer to Those Stubborn Angles
    Courtesy of 320 Sycamore
    Even though your closet is called a "reach-in," the name doesn't quite fit, since the only way to retrieve clothing from its dark corners is with a stretch, a yank and a pull. If you're frustrated with the dead space on the sides, try blogger Melissa Smith of 320 Sycamore's ingenious solution. Remove the long rod and shelf that go straight across the closet side-to-side and replace it with one that is the width of the doorframe. In one corner of the closet, install two closet rods, one lower and one higher (basically, perpendicular to the new, shorter left-to-right rod). The top bar should hang approximately 75 to 80 inches from the floor; the bottom bar, ideal for shorter items such as shirts and skirts, approximately 36 to 40 inches. Tension rods make this a snap (if you're storing lighter-weight items). For more detailed information, see Melissa's tutorial here.
  • The New Home for Your Strappy Party Shoes
    Roeshel at DIYShowOff
    Not all shoes are created equal -- which means wear-only-for-special-occasions heels often get short shrift. But instead of keeping them out of sight in shoe boxes, use crown molding along the back wall of your closet (or even on the inside of the door) in one or multiple rows to create shoe organizers. Just 30 inches of molding can hold four pairs of shoes. If you need more guidance, this Home Depot community forum outlines the how-to steps you can follow to build the shoe racks.
  • The Upcycle That Will Double Your Space
    Tara Charlton from IdeaBottle.blogspot.com
    Before you recycle that Diet Coke can, pull the tab off to use as a quick way to double the hanging space available on one hanger. As shown in this tutorial from Idea Bottle, simply slide the tab down the hook of a hanger to its base, and then slip another hanger hook through the lower hole of the tab. Voila! Now you can store more clothing on a single closet rod. (This also is a great way to pair outfits together.)
  • The Leftover Hooks That Are Afraid of Water
    Laura Wittmann of OrgJunkie.com
    Wondering what to do with the surplus shower-curtain rings lurking in your linen closet? Laura Wittmann, author of Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, and blogger behind -your-scarves-hats-with-shower-hooks.html" target="_blank">I'm an Organizing Junkie, clips shower-curtain rings to a hanger and then loops scarves through them, which saves space and keeps everything wrinkle-free. (The same trick works for hats and belts.)
  • The Slipped-Your-Mind Solution That Takes Less Than 1 Minute
    One Good Thing By Jillee
    You could spend $30 on a set of felt hangers; or, you could try one of these DIY methods from blogger Jill Nystul of One Good Thing By Jillee. Take a few pipe cleaners; wrap one around each end of a hanger, starting slightly after where the neckline of the clothing would sit. Rubber bands work, as well. However, Jill's favorite solution is to use a hot glue gun to make a zigzag pattern along the top of the hanger to create a grip, which, she says, is just as effective but the clear glue is less noticeable.
  • The Trick You Learned at the Office
    Ainhoa from A Little Bite of Everything
    We've worked in offices. We've also woken up to realize the one T-shirt we wanted to wear was at the bottom of the dirty-laundry pile. But it was Ainhoa Vega of the blog A Little Bite of Everything who put two and two together. She installed two towel rods lengthwise, one across the front and one along the back of the drawer; and then placed several metal rods that slide perpendicular to the towel rods, joining them. The result? An at-home closet-filing system where you fold T-shirts on rods in drawers so you can see all your options at once. For a complete how-to explanation, visit her blog post and say goodbye to T-shirt clutter once and for all.
  • The Third Shelf You Didn't Know You Could Fit
    Roeshel at DIYShowOff
    If you've already doubled your closet space by installing two levels of hanging rods, you might not realize that there's space for one more rod -- and no, it's not at the ceiling. If you put a third tension rod right below your lowest rod, you can use loset-boot-storage-day-4.html" target="_blank">pants hangers to corral your boots, store flip-flops with bent wire hangers and dangle purses or hats from S hooks.
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