A Gen Z interior decorator shares the design trends that are making your home look dated

A bright kitchen in all white, with arrows pointed at a cupboard and an apron-front sink.
Emily Shaw told Insider that a person’s physical and mental health can be affected by their home. Breadmaker/Shuttershock
  • The interior designer Emily Shaw shared four trends that could make your home look dated.
  • White rooms will be switched for eclecticism, and homeowners will choose more personalized decor.
  • Shaw, 23, also shared the best way to customize your home without following trends line-for-line.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

According to the interior designer Emily Shaw, the days of cookie-cutter homes and identical Pinterest-approved decor are heading out the door.

Anyone searching for proof need only scroll through the 23-year-old’s TikTok account, where videos of her loft apartment show bold geometric shapes, funky wallpaper, and gold accents.

“The whole eclectic nature of having different types of design styles mixed together is something that I really love,” Shaw, known for her DIY hacks and viral renovation reveals, told Insider.

Although Shaw believes everyone should create a home that’s personal and benefits them, some design staples are falling out of favor with homeowners.

Homeowners can trade the traditional farmhouse style for a more personalized flair

Farmhouse design outdated
Modern farmhouse became a favorite for homeowners after it gained popularity on HGTV shows like ‘Fixer Upper.’ Aliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Getty Images

Over the last decade, Joanna Gaines emerged as the undisputed queen of farmhouse design by renovating home after home with shiplap and rustic light fixtures.

But Shaw said that elements of modern farmhouse could pigeonhole some people.

“When you look at the old design styles like farmhouse, or just big white spaces that are modern, the different design elements that you need are very straightforward,” she said.

The “straightforward” traits of modern farmhouse design often include large black-and-white spaces, an abundance of windows, carriage-style garage doors, shiplap, apron-front sinks, and other similar features.

“We’re starting to move into something that’s not so straightforward, so it can be much more personalized to each person,” Shaw added.

One simple way to upgrade from the typical farmhouse style is to simply add color.

“This could include painting fun shapes on your wall with color, choosing a colored furniture piece instead of neutral, and much more,” Shaw said. “It is easier to integrate more color when you have a white base between elements, so if you are uncomfortable with pairing multiple colors or scared to do too much, this is an amazing option.”

All-white rooms are becoming less popular

All White Room oudated
Strictly white rooms may not stimulate homeowners and some are moving towards more colorful palettes. Tom Merton/Getty Images

All-white spaces have exploded in popularity in recent years, but homeowners could start leaning toward pops of color.

“I think the big, white, bright spaces and carbon-copy furniture that all looks the same is starting to go because it’s not something that benefits the average person,” Shaw said.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of people going towards eclecticism and maximalism,” she added. “Utilizing different colors, shapes, patterns, and textures can really help stimulate people – especially while we’re indoors all day long.”

While nautical styles may linger in coastal areas, people are moving away from cookie-cutter aesthetics

Nautical Home Design
This photo shows a blue-themed holiday villa interior. Bulgac/Getty Images

Like farmhouse, nautical designs already experienced their heyday, finding a consistent following in coastal towns like Cape Cod and along the Florida coast. Shaw said that social media might have sparked the push away from older, ocean-themed decor and other trends.

“We’re spending so much time on our phones now, and what used to be really important on social media was the cookie-cutter influencer who did everything right,” Shaw said.

She continued: “I think there is a correlation between people starting to become more comfortable on social media and people becoming more explorative in their spaces.”

Shaw noted that she’s seen people experiment more these days with color, patterns, and textures in home decor than in previous years.

“With decor, there is an emphasis now on very unique and exciting furniture pieces that were thrifted or DIYed as opposed to the light-gray pieces that were seen everywhere and emulated,” Shaw said. “We are starting to see more murals, pattern mixing, and statement pieces throughout people’s spaces, and no two feel the same. “

The pandemic cast a particular glare on non-functional homes

Home Interior
People are beginning to create interiors that specifically benefit their mind and body – not just look picturesque. NelleG/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic forced billions of people to sequester inside for a year, and many discovered their homes weren’t as beneficial as they thought. As Insider’s Samantha Grindell reported, homeowners have started prioritizing comfort over formal decor.

“Functionality should always come first, but I think functionality is looking a lot different today than it used to,” Shaw said. “People used to spend the night or the morning in their homes, then leave for the rest of the day. Now we’re using our homes for so much more.”

According to Shaw, the best way to make a home more functional is by “sitting down and evaluating what it is that you need most from your space.”

“It helps to get very specific with the actions you will be doing and evaluate which elements would benefit from being near or far away from each other,” she said.

It also comes down to people deciding how they want to feel in a space, Shaw said.

“This could mean doing things to make yourself more comfortable in the design of the space by adding more personalized decor,” Shaw said. “It doesn’t need to be drastic either, it could be something as simple as using cool-toned light bulbs to help you focus in your office and warm-toned light bulbs in your bedroom to help you relax.”

It’s best to avoid copying designs straight from Pinterest

Home Decor
Shaw suggested that people use Pinterest has a way to gather inspiration from a variety of styles instead of following trends piece-for-piece. Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Pinterest was first launched in 2009, and it quickly became the go-to app for interior design inspiration and picturesque home trends.

“I’ve tried so hard not to use Pinterest in the normal way,” Shaw said, explaining that she looks for aesthetics instead of full-fledged designs for inspiration.

“So, you have to listen to yourself. What is your need for this space? Do you need something that is flowing? Do you need multi-purpose use in your space?” she added.

She continued: “It’s not necessarily copying the different decor elements, but using it more as a way to find forms and shapes that can translate into a unique space. As I mentioned, everyone is so different.”