Decorating Your Home, Design

The Most Cringeworthy Home Decor Trends According to Influencers

[Article originally written for Architectural Digest]

Cringe, a hotly debated term of disparagement, its flames fanned in all corners of the internet, is present—and the design world is not exempt from its tight clutches. While many influencers, tastemakers, and content creators that occupy this space share all the things they love without abandon, many have no qualms about sharing what home decor trends they can’t stand. Unsurprisingly, these personalities have thousands of followers who adore them specifically for their hot takes.

In fact, a few of the interior design aficionados that we consulted for this report have already publicly shared their opinions about some of the design trends that they hate to their cores: “8 Interior Design Trends that are Dying in 2023,” “The Worst Interior Design Mistakes,” and “So-Called Hot Interior Design Trends That No One Is Actually Doing” are a few examples.

Nevertheless, we still look to those with an eye for style for guidance. While we like to think of ourselves as experts on the subject, we couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to tell us what home decor trends should be left to rot in the gutter this year. So, here are the unfiltered opinions of eight of our favorite interior design gurus from YouTube and TikTok on the worst of the worst (and cringiest of the cringe) home decor trends right now.

Fast furniture that makes your home look like an uncurated catalog

Kiva Brent and Kellie Brown both agree that fast furniture and mass market retailers can be cringey, but for slightly different reasons. For the biochemist-turned-interior-stylist Kiva, it’s about keeping things sustainable and responsible by investing in something that you won’t want to give away anytime soon; for example, “Finding old furniture pieces that are still great and actually taking the time to search for them,” she adds.

Kellie, a content creator more commonly known as @DeeplyMadlyModern on TikTokand Instagram, is particularly perturbed by consumers being a little too inspired by the merchandising at mass market retailers and “trying to have their house look like a catalogue.” Kellie adds, “It’s so impersonal, it’s so not curated.” Similar to Kiva, she also stresses how a sustainable approach can also be the most stylish and suggests “getting things secondhand, being scrappy, going out to the places to get one of a kind, or unique, or used things.”

Cluttercore is the new “hoarder without the mold” maximalist

Nick Lewis attributes this microtrend to the pendulum swing from Scandinavianor midcentury-modern-inspired minimalism, both of which were lovingly adopted by millennials. But more can be far too much when it’s “maximalist for the sake of maximalism,” or the overwhelming amount of objects in a room read as “hoarder without the mold,” as Lewis likes to say.

Kiva cites the difficult maintenance of these spaces as one reason to not go for the maximalist trend. “You have to be so tactful with where you place things so that it looks beautiful and there’s room for everything else,” she says.

To avoid going too deep into a cluttercore hole, Vintage HQ founder Heather Hurst, widely known on TikTok and Instagram as @Pigmami, suggests the following: “Microdose elements of current trends that excite you, while leaving elements of your past taste and projects that you still hold dear.”

Monochrome-on-monochrome aesthetics starving for personality

Similar to maximalism, too much of one color can be overdoing it. For Caroline Winkler, a Washington, DC–based interior decorator, YouTuber, and host of the podcast Not For Everyone, monochrome-on-monochrome does little to satiate the design hunger that people have for a little variety in the form of saturation and pattern. “White-on-white is a thing of the past, and everything is going to be okay,” she reassures.

Kiva sees a slight improvement in moving from all-grey, all-white, or all-greigeinteriors to all-brown with a slight caveat. “There’s a very fine line between having warm, brown interiors and then it looking like a man cave, which is not always a good thing,” she notes.

Designer dupes that feel even worse than they look good

With the proliferation and democratization of design, thanks in part to social media, it can be tempting to see an It furniture item and immediately covet it. Better yet, there are dupes of designer pieces available at reasonable prices. However, most of the content creators that we consulted are over it. (And so were we when we included “duped to death” designs in our “out” trends for 2023.)

While Kellie is all for accessibility in design, she’s not a fan of “really terrible reproductions of iconic pieces that feel sort of bastardized,” like the beloved Ultrafragola mirror. Not to mention how many of the furniture dupes are not-so-surprisingly uncomfortable. Arvin Olano, a Las Vegas– and California-based interior stylist, was once duped by a dupe that made him feel like he was sitting on plywood. “Instead of buying a dupe of a designer piece, maybe find something that’s equally as amazing from the same era that’s made well, made with real wood, or just get a piece that’s a nod to that bulbous Camaleonda sofa that you like, but maybe not the exact same,” he advises.

Heather is also very on board with this pro tip. “If you’re head-over-heels for a large investment piece, use it as inspiration to seek lesser known designer pieces, go vintage, or wait until it’s passé and score a deal on it!” Emphasizing the importance of personal style over trends, Kellie believes that “the cringiest thing you can do is to be a follower versus identifying what actually makes you happy and speaks to you.” As she so eloquently puts it, “What I don’t like doesn’t necessarily matter to you if you love it. I always say, If you love it, put it in your house. You have to look at it, you have to enjoy it.” We couldn’t agree more!

Leave the uncomfortable, blobby furniture in the funhouse

While sculptural and curvaceous pieces have been en vogue for a while now, both Kiva and Nick stressed the degree of discomfort from these otherwise stylish pieces. In a recent YouTube video, Kiva jokes about needing an elevator to reach the low seat of the aforementioned Mario Bellini sofa: “It’s very low! You can’t lay on it! I want to be able to take a 10-hour nap on my sofa if I want to.”

Too many curvy statement pieces in a room, such as the Verner Panton’s Heart Cone Chair or Faye Toogood’s Roly Poly, can render it a little too shapeless, giving off “funhouse energy,” as Nick describes it. Citing the importance of balance, Nick advises, “I would love to see the blobs embraced with some clean lines so that it creates something that’s interesting and dynamic but ultimately defined.” Besides, this furniture is typically not so ergonomic, citing the recent resurgence of inflatable furniture. “It might make sense for a teenager’s bedroom. It does not make sense for high-end, beautiful spaces,” he says. It’s a whole new curse of curves.

Over-the-top walls that are too busy for the room

While it can be tempting to go bold and shake your home style up with a strong statement wall color or wallpaper mural, a few of our experts warned that this could quickly enter into cringe territory. Caroline finds trendy wallpaper murals already starting to look dated. Not only can they be cringe, they’re not always so budget-friendly. “For materials and installation, these wallpapers could buy you a decent family vacation. Save your money, go to Cabo instead,” she insists.

For Heather, not enough attention is paid to harmonious design when it comes to painting an accent wall in a room. “In lieu of defaulting to a gallery wall or a busy wallpaper, play with elements like molding, ceiling design, art, sculpture, or rug layering to introduce a sense of play while keeping the room grounded.”

Kristen McGowan, an interior designer and YouTuber, thinks highly saturated paint colors in general will be out in no time, and encourages incorporating these hues in a more understated way, with “small decor, pillow covers, and wall art.”

Paint-flipping furniture for no good reason

Arvin and Drew Michael Scott, the interior designer behind Lone Fox, are both adamant about this insufferable trend that stemmed from furniture flipping. “Painted wood furniture—I just can’t do it anymore,” says Drew. On TikTok, Instagram, and beyond, there are countless DIY videos of people taking wood furniture and painting it.

“People strip it, they paint it the most weird, grotesque colors like lavender or green with brass, and it’s just not cute,” says Arvin. “I feel like in context they can do something and do some more research to make that piece more timeless, more modern, instead of just this trendy thing that they’re doing for Instagram, for a quick buck.”

There’s also something about trying to hide the fact that something is crafted out of wood that’s extra cringeworthy to Arvin. “We’re losing all the wood grain! We’re losing the warmth of the wood,” he laments.

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