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Top 5 Home Trends We're Glad Died

The split-level home doesn't hold the same conveniences for the modern American family.
The split-level home doesn't hold the same conveniences for the modern American family.
©iStockphoto.com/mikadx

You can pick up any magazine or newspaper, or just turn on the TV, to see what trends are in right now. Ponchos are coming back, wallpaper is making a resurgence and anything green is the only way to go. But, the thing about trends is that eventually they'll head right back out.

And while trends tend to move in a cycle, coming back in fashion every couple of decades, there are some trends that we'd be better off without ever seeing -- or using in our home -- again. In the same manner as fanny packs and stirrup pants, these five home trends are best to remain 6 feet under.

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These homes were hot in the '70s because they were affordable and maximized the amount of house on a small lot. But over the years, they have fallen way out of favor. An offensive lack of curb appeal and a dungeon-like quality are just two of the complaints modern homeowners have about split-levels. Not to mention in the age of open floor plans, it's not very convenient for entertaining when the living room and kitchen are on different floors. As it turns out, dated and dark just aren't high on the list for home buyers.

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Some faux finishes can make you dizzy when you look at them.
Some faux finishes can make you dizzy when you look at them.
©iStockphoto.com/elenaray

In the dawning age of natural and organic, faux is a dirty word. Faux finishes became the hot trend in the 1990s when they showed up in decorating magazines as alternatives to expensive wallpaper or bland walls. Done by artists and professionals, these jobs demonstrated a high level of craftsmanship. The trend got diluted when weekend warriors started buying DIY kits and ragging, sponging and rolling their own walls, attempting to replicate the high-end look. Unfortunately, most jobs ended up with less than professional-looking results, and nowadays, faux finishes are a big old decorator's no-no.

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A traditional way of decorating has always been to buy matching sets of furniture. The love seat matches the couch, the coffee table is the same design as the end tables, and floor lamp matches the table lamp -- a look that lends itself to more showroom than living room. Style trends like shabby chic and eclectic decorating quickly trumped the truckload of matchy-matchy, encouraging homeowners to mix and match different pieces. Not only does it create a visually interesting room, it also allows us to express our individual style more creatively. These days, matching furniture ranks up there with white walls and beige carpet. Visually, it's just kind of boring.

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Most homebuyers are looking for hardwood (or at least laminate) floors.
Most homebuyers are looking for hardwood (or at least laminate) floors.

Wall-to-wall carpeting first appeared during the Industrial Revolution, and you could only afford it if you were very wealthy. As carpeting became more affordable and widespread, the shag carpets of the '70s gave way to a tidier, low-pile carpet, which offered a field of neutral floor cover throughout your house. Sure, carpet is comfortable to walk on, but it's also a huge environmental offender. The chemicals in most carpets off-gas for a few years, which isn't great for your air -- or your health. Plus, it's terribly difficult to keep clean and dust-free, which aggravates allergies and asthma.

These days, sustainable hardwoods are where it's at, even showing up in the kitchen. Area rugs have become acceptable carpet alternatives, because they're easier to clean and cheaper to replace when they're worn out.

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Remember the trend of raising a behemoth of a house on a street full of brick ranches that blotted out all of the natural light of the homes around it and took up most, if not all, of the green space on the lot? Fortunately, the McMansions, as they weren't so kindly termed, are on their way out. The housing market tanked and homeowners were forced to get real about what they could really afford and how much house they actually needed. In fact, the trend is moving back toward single story homes -- which may explain the number of big guys that are sitting empty now.

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Sources

  • Hart, Thomas. "McMansions are out as a new era of practicality begins in housing." Personalmoneystore.com, August 20, 2010. http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2010/08/20/mcmansions-are-out/
  • Mesner, Amiel. "How Faux Marbleizing and Sponge Painting Got a Bad Rap." Arteriorsfaux.com, 2010.http://www.arteriorsfaux.com/articles/faux-marbleizing-and-sponge-painting.html
  • Peterson, Jilda. Realestateproarticles.com, June 13, 2010. http://www.realestateproarticles.com/Art/18000/276/Mismatched-Furniture-Can-Be-Its-Own-Style.html
  • "Shabby Chic Interior Design Explained." Theorchardhomeandgifts.com, June 24, 2009. http://www.theorchardhomeandgifts.com/news/shabby-chic-interior-design-explained/100/
  • Solomon, Christopher. "4 reasons people hate split-levels -- and how to fix 'em." Realestate.msn.com, 2010.http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107857
  • "Top 5 New Home Trends." Activerain.com, 2010. http://activerain.com/blogsview/1674255/top-5-new-home-trends
  • Tracey, Melissa. "Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style." Realtor.org, January 21, 2009. http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2009/01/21/home-fads-that-are-falling-out-of-style/

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