10 Most Horrifying Decorative Trends

October 4, 2019

Demons. Monsters. Zombies. … Your house?

The short list of things people are most afraid of shouldn’t include the property you’ve just listed. But if the home’s staging brings undead design fads back to life—will circular beds ever die?!—buyers are going to scream bloody murder. October may be the month for ghosts and goblins, but no one should confuse your listing for the gates of home design hell.

REALTOR® Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog used staging surveys and feedback from professional designers to develop our choices for this year’s scariest home decor trends.

1. Toilet Seat Covers

fuzzy toilet cover

© Gwendolyn Plath- GettyImages

Adding toilet rugs or furry seat covers to the commode may be the worst offense of all. In fact, a 2018 Samsung survey of designers from the United Kingdom found the decorative element to be the most despised home design trend over the past 50 years.

2. Inspirational Quote Art

inspirational art

© cn0ra - AdobeStock

Tired sayings, such as “love you to the moon and back,” may be losing popularity. “EAT” signs in the kitchen and “LAUNDRY” signs in the laundry room are obvious and redundant, and thankfully, they’re starting to disappear, too. Nineteen percent of respondents to the Samsung survey said inspirational quote art stenciled onto walls was one of their least favorite design trends.

3. Popcorn Ceilings

popcorn ceiling


The textured ceilings have long popped up on designers’ most-hated lists. While statement ceilings are trending, the popcorn ceiling has failed to make a comeback. Beware: It’s cumbersome to remove and often attracts asbestos.

4. Ruffles and Florals

ruffled bedroom set

© Tom Kelley Archive - Retrofile RF/GettyImages

The 1980s sure did love its floral chintz. The pattern was popular on ruffled bed skirts, curtains, and furniture. While bigger floral prints have made a comeback, the smaller and ruffled versions have not. Twenty-eight percent of designers called floral chintz furniture one of the biggest design horrors of the past 50 years, according to the Samsung survey. Take a look at this home that went viral in April on Twitter for all the wrong reasons: pink and stenciled cabinets as well as an abundance of floral ruffles.

5. Wallpaper Borders

kitchen wallpaper border

© Alvis Upitis - Photographer's Choice RF GettyImages

The wallpaper border hung at the edge of walls, offering a touch of design without the commitment of wallpapering the entire room. Twelve percent of designers call it one of the worst trends ever, according to the Samsung survey. While ivy and floral wallpaper borders may now be outdated, wallpaper itself is not—particularly for your ceiling.

6. Hollywood Vanity Lights

vanity lights

© Ezume Images - AdobeStock

They may have made you feel like a star, but the placement of bulging bulbs above the bathroom mirror has fallen out of favor. The harsh lighting has been replaced with warmer, softer fixtures like wall sconces.

7. Round Beds

round bed

© Maksym Gorpenyuk - AdobeStock

Furniture with curves is a re-emerging trend, but it never should have included beds. These space-age beds trended in the 1960s. Seventeen percent of designers placed “round beds” on their hate list, according to the Samsung survey.

8. Wood Paneling

wood paneling

© XtravaganT - AdobeStock

Dark brown wood paneling was a popular and affordable design option for walls in the 1960s and ’70s. The outdated look can put a room in an instant time warp. Still, wood paneling has experienced a comeback, but more modern options include shiplap and lighter wood tones. Usually, these items are used as an accent and not for the entire room. For example, West Elm offers a trendier adhesive wood paneling for walls and reclaimed weathered wood finishes for backsplashes.

9. Vertical Blinds

vertical blinds


While vertical blinds served as a practical solution for window coverings in the 1990s, designers now think the trend can make a room look outdated. The trendier choice nowadays: curtains—or better yet, bare windows that let natural light flow in.

10. Artificial Fruit

fake grapes


That bowl of fake pears and grapes wasn’t really fooling anyone back in the ’80s and ’90s. Try a real bowl of fruit, such as apples or lemons, as a centerpiece. Real fruit is a stager’s favorite trick to dress up a countertop.

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