Have you ever heard of a fixer upper? There is something amazing about taking a dilapidated house and turning it into something amazing. But a house doesn’t have to be dilapidated in order to be a fixer upper; it simply has to be in need of some real TLC. While renovating an outdated or damaged home may be a bit intimidating in theory, it doesn’t have to be. Furthermore, there are a lot of benefits to buying a home that needs some work. You can often buy these types of homes for less than what they would be worth at their best, and for a relatively reasonable amount of money, repair them and make them worthy of notice. You can then put them on the market and sell them for a profit. Plenty of people have made a business out of taking less valuable homes, renovating them, and flipping them on the housing market. But you don’t have to renovate a house because you’re planning on flipping it. Renovating a home can actually be a great way of getting the house that you actually want and need, for less than you would typically pay.

But before you buy a house in need of renovations, you should be prepared for what you might be getting. It’s one thing to buy a house with severe damage; it’s another entirely to buy a house that seems great on paper but is suffering from serious design flaws. The latter might seem much easier to deal with than the former, but it will still require a good deal of work. In fact, if you’re buying a fixer upper of any kind, it’s probably going to be a victim of outdated interior design trends. Right now, 85% of America’s homes were built prior to 1980. While some of them have been renovated between now and then, plenty of others have barely been touched. Though this is a great opportunity for you, there’s some interior design research that you may want to read up on before you begin working on the home’s interior design. There are some aspects that might be worth keeping… but others that are best throwing out entirely. Let’s dive into them!

1. Wood Paneling

Really, this issue isn’t limited to just wood paneling itself. It applies to every type of wooden trim that we’re plagued with seemingly whenever we walk into a home that was built during the 1970s. Wooden paneling caught on during the 70s, typically used along walls in virtually every type of room, but especially living rooms and basements. Usually, the type of wood used for this hallowed entry among many outdated interior design trends is dark, which theoretically should create a warm feeling within the home. But generally speaking, it tends to just darken and close in a room. However, wooden paneling usually wasn’t limited to just the walls. The same types of wood materials could be used to create TV cabinets and other types of furniture, drawing the elements of the room together in a kind of attempted design coherence.

The issue with this, of course, is that most people today rightly find it quite ugly. For that matter, wood paneling can suffer from a number of issues over the years. If the paneling is touched by water damage, or any kind of damage, it might start to peel away from the wall. Of course, some types of paneling weren’t even made out of real wood, which can result in even more noticeable wear and tear over the years. Getting rid of wood paneling is always challenging. But if you want to be rid of this peskiest of outdated interior design trends, you need to be prepared to rip it out from the base. This could possibly result in some damage, which is why some choose to work with the paneling. Of course, you can avoid damage by working carefully around the nails keeping the panels in place. After this step is over, you’ll need to smooth out the walls, and then likely repaint them entirely in order to get an even coat of paint. But ultimately, it’s worth it to get rid of the paneling.

2. Shabby Chic

Shabby chic is something of a more recent design trend, technically originating in the 1960s and 1970s, eventually inspiring its more modern iteration within the 1990s. But it has definitely left a mark in the hallowed halls of outdated interior design trends. The issue with shabby chic is that while it began with furniture and other types of decor, it extended to the entirety of interior design. People started to not only invest in distressed products but purposefully damage parts of their home to get on board with the trend. This might include throwing paint on the walls, scraping up wooden floors, and much more. Essentially, shabby chic literally established this idea of damage as design. The problem is that it’s an incredibly specific aesthetic, and doesn’t really translate outside of its era.

You can, fortunately, switch out a lot of the simpler shabby chic design aesthetics simply by buying new furniture, or for that matter simply moving out some of the shabbier pieces in a home. But if you’re buying a house without any furnishings and the shabby chic design has spread to the walls and floors, you may have your work cut out for you. Ideally, this can be repaired through a new paint job, or perhaps a refinished floor. In a worst-case scenario, however, if the floors have actually been damaged or severely neglected as a part of a shabby chic design, you may have to consider replacing them entirely. This is definitely one of the most recently outdated interior design trends, but the last thing you want is for your home to look as if it’s actually been damaged just because someone indulged their affection for retro-distressed design.

3. Popcorn Ceilings

Why do popcorn ceilings exist? Of all the outdated interior design trends we’re covering, they’re certainly one of the ugliest. But popcorn ceilings were actually created for a reason. Due to their texture appearances, they tend to disguise flaws more readily. For example, if a ceiling is somewhat warped or concave, that is less noticeable when it is covered in such a textured layer. With that being said, for all that you’re giving up those flaws to a degree, you’re gaining quite an unpopular design trend. Well, an unpopular design trend today. Like many outdated interior design trends, it originated in the 1970s. The big issue with popcorn ceilings, compared to other problematic design trends, is that in some cases they actually held asbestos. This makes them somewhat trickier to remove than some other problematic design trends.

Though you’ll need to have testing to ensure that your popcorn ceiling doesn’t carry asbestos before having the ceiling scraped, that’s not the only thing that can collect in a popcorn ceiling. If your piping systems happen to fail, a popcorn ceiling doesn’t hold up very well against leaks due to its textured nature. For that matter, it can actually collect dust and other allergens, holding them on the ceiling. Fortunately, it’s become quite popular for interior decorators and renovation companies to offer popcorn ceiling removal services. This will smooth out the ceiling and make it more palatable for a broader audience.

4. Wallpaper

Technically speaking, wallpaper tends to go in and out of style, and a lot of people still like it today. This trend dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, but it definitely can be associated with the 1970s and 1980s particularly strongly. It certainly has some fans today, and understandably so. It’s easier to get more complex wall designs through wallpaper. You can even, in some cases, have a custom print job done and create your own unique wallpaper design. But the issue with wallpaper is that it tends to look very dated very quickly. While you may have loved the idea of a design that’s incredibly modern in 2005, but 2020 that “modernity” is going to be specifically zoned in one particular year. For that matter, though some colors are certainly louder and more garish than others, there is something inherently more classic about a solid color on a wall versus a print. Now, the good thing about wallpaper is that it can actually be removed; you don’t have to stick with it in any permanent way. But removing it is something of a process.

If you’ve decided that the sailboat print wallpaper probably isn’t going to be a part of your long term future, you can of course get rid of it. Although you can just rip the wallpaper straight off of the walls, this can pose several problems. Due to the adhesiveness of the wallpaper, this can actually cause damage to the wall underneath, and certainly the underlying paint job. Therefore, you may want to begin by steaming the wallpaper. The steaming process essentially softens the wallpaper and makes it easier to peel off, rather than ripping it off. It’s definitely more time consuming but is ultimately better for the walls.

5. Linoleum

In a lot of ways, you can understand why linoleum became popular. However, you can also likely understand why it’s among the most outdated interior design trends that still exist today. The reason why linoleum is still being used is that it simply has to be used. It’s a cheaper flooring alternative to something like tile or wood, while at the same emulating their basic appearances. Predictably, perhaps, linoleum became most popular around the 1950s, where it was cheaply and easily produced, therefore fitting the demand for sturdy family homes. Generally speaking, linoleum could be designed to mimic a number of different types of flooring, but it was ultimately rather flat-looking, which has led to a loss in popularity. Many prefer other types of inexpensive flooring, or of course ideally replacing what linoleum is imitating with the real thing. And of course, by saving in other ways, like choosing not to buy silver flatware or foregoing other renovations, you may be able to replace your linoleum floors a bit faster even if you’re on a tight budget. Furthermore, investing in more expensive and high quality flooring will in fact add value to your home in the long term.

There are also practical issues that come with linoleum. For all that it is inexpensive and mass-produced, it’s also quite soft. This means that it can be more easily scratched than other types of flooring. Furthermore, linoleum flooring actually can start to peel up around the edges, even curling in corners and revealing the floor underneath. Linoleum flooring is also exceptionally susceptible to moisture of all kinds, and therefore can actually develop mold if the floor is not kept perfectly sanitized at all times. As kitchen flooring in particular is often placed close to drains, this can be extremely difficult to maneuver under the best of circumstances. If the linoleum is damaged, of course, the flooring underneath will be damaged as well. Ultimately, replacing linoleum with something more durable, if also more expensive, is a good long term investment.

There are a lot of outdated interior design trends that you’ll have to contend with if you’re renovating a home, whether you’re simply pursuing a renovation to get a better house and pick up something of a hobby, or because you actually want to become a house flipper by trade. But underneath those ugly trends can be a potentially great structure and a house that you can build off of.

Of course, not all outdated interior design trends can be entirely done away with for good. Some, like wallpaper, cycle in and out of fashion no matter what. but if you really want your home to be at its very best, and potentially its most marketable, try to throw out these more garish trends, and choose something a bit more solid and classic. That way, your house will look its best for as long as possible!

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