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Reno of the Month: Design elements that are dating your home

Kitchen lighting done right! See the Before photo of this kitchen below. (Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction)

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Nobody likes to hear their home is starting to date and look its age, or that a “must have it” design choice they made may have seen its day. But, it’s a fact of life that, as time goes on, interior design trends and aesthetics evolve and what was “in” twenty or thirty years ago is now ready for a refresh. So, let’s take a look at some common design elements that are dating your home — and some ideas for how you can update your space.

Like all things design, if you have any of these things in your home and you LOVE them, let them be. It’s your home; if it makes you happy, enjoy them. But we bet it’s more than likely some of these things will resonate with you and you might even have been thinking about switching them out for a while!

Honey Oak/Orange Toned Stair Banister & Railings

Oh, boy. This is a controversial one as we see this all over Northern Virginia because so many of the homes in the area were built around the same time. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it’s time to put a fresh spin on your honey oak staircase and get your paint out!

Replacing the entire floor is one thing, but updating your staircase is a weekend job that will totally transform your space. Don’t believe us? Swipe through the carousel below to see examples!

1980s Ceiling Fans

This one always creates fond memories of flowery wallpaper borders and chintz sofas. For us, it’s all about the details and nothing sticks out more in an updated space than a dated ceiling fan. Even worse? If you haven’t gotten around to replacing that bulb that went out or the chain has broken and is no longer serving a purpose.

There are SO many options available now at really reasonable prices from big box stores and online. But with so many options, how do you know which one to choose? You don’t have to have contemporary tastes to get one you like. A general rule of thumb is the less it has going on, the better. We think this one is an easy fix that you need to put on your list NOW!

Glass Blocks

Guilty! This was SUCH a popular look for such a long time (especially in bathrooms) that it’s hard to let them go. However, it’s time to move on! These days, large clear glass shower enclosures and fuss-free streamlined modern finishes are the way to go.

Removing glass blocks may not be an easy change. If budget allows and it’s an exterior window, it’s money well spent to replace it. If that’s not within your budget, hang a sheer drape in front the glass block window to filter the light and soften the look.  If you have a glass block shower or accent wall and you want to take it down, you’ll likely need professional help. Put it on your wishlist for when it’s time to remodel!

Before & After (Photos courtesy Synergy Design & Construction)

Tuscan Inspired Beige and Overly Saturated Color

Not all beiges are created equally! The days of Tuscan-inspired beige are over. Also gone? Sponge painted/textured finish walls. Instead of beige, think white with gray, blue and green undertones. You won’t regret the money spent on paint. This one is a simple change that will make a HUGE difference to your space.

While we are on the topic of paint color, heavily saturated colors like ‘Hunter Green’ of the ’90s are also out. We’re all about color and LOVE gorgeous paint to add personality to a space so this isn’t about everything being neutral. Our advice?  If you are looking for an update, think ‘moody’ colors instead.

Read Paint Inspiration Had Landed and watch this space when the paint companies release their 2023 color choices!

Large Ornate Kitchen Lights With Frosted Shades

We all had these. It was most definitely a “thing” but not any more! Frosted shades make spaces appear darker than they are and can cast an odd light. Large ornate kitchen fixtures with frosted shades are being replaced with more linear and modern lighting.

The great thing about switching lights up is that replacing them is usually quite simple. You don’t need to spend a fortune to update your lights if you can’t get replacement shades — there are SO many reasonably priced options on the market now you will be spoiled for choice!

Arched Raised Panel Cabinet Doors

There was a time when every kitchen seemed to have this type of cabinet door. Most of the clients we work with are ready to change things up and replace this style. Shaker doors are still the most common request, but we also have a lot of more contemporary leaning clients who really want a more modern look and prefer slab fronted (i.e. flat) cabinets.

Changing your cabinet doors is a more involved fix that may not be as straightforward as you think depending on the line of cabinets and how long ago they were installed in your home. However, the end result will transform the look and feel of your kitchen.

In the example below, our clients had a lovely split-level home with a lot of space, but the arched glass hanging cabinets and peninsula blocked the kitchen into a small space in the middle of their main level. Although this remodel went beyond switching up the cabinet doors, it is a great example of what’s possible in your existing space with the right design help!

Polished Brass Fixtures/Door Handles

Mixed metals are most definitely in, but polished brass is most definitely out. From handles to faucets and everything in between, polished brass everything has had its day. This one is a fairly simple fix and it is amazing the difference replacing your polished brass fittings will make to your space. Here’s a great example from one of our recent projects.

As a local home remodeler, we’re all about creating beautiful spaces that go beyond design fads and stand the test of time. Ready to remodel your home? Get in touch! Our consultations are FREE and we’re happy to help you get started on your remodeling journey!

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