Design Trends That Should Be Left In The Past, According To The Stars Of Married To Real Estate

When designing a home, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sprawling archive of design trends. Whether you're a fan of midcentury detailing or modern minimalism, as home design styles continue to evolve, some design trends deserve to stay in the past. There's a fine line between classic design and kitsch impracticality. If anyone understands the struggle of determining what home decor trends are in and which are on their way out, it's home renovators Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson.

On their smash HGTV series "Married to Real Estate," Sherrod and Jackson help clients create the home of their dreams, often debating whether to cling to old-fashioned design elements or nudge clients away from outdated home design trends. Always emphasizing the importance of decor that is equally stylish and functional, Sherrod and Jackson have shared their valuable insight into what dated design trends deserve to stay timeless — and which design trends could be left behind.

Clunky stone-paneled fireplaces

In Season 1, Episode 4 ("Canton Get Any Better"), after showing a couple their ranch-style home, the massive "clunker" of a dated fireplace was one of the first features Sherrod said she'd be kicking to the curb. The clients were humorously amused by her swift design choice, having developed some fondness for the dated, stone-paneled fireplace. Sherrod was keen to remind the couple to not feel like they have to keep dated features just because they're available to them. There is always a way to flip a design feature to make it more practical.

"Let go, set free," Sherrod encouraged. Later, while acknowledging the clients' appreciation for the massive accent piece, Sherrod decided to keep it but give it a new look. Sherrod seamlessly nailed the modernization, laying down a white wash and satin paint finish on the accent panels of the stone fireplace. This kept the traditional structure of the vintage fireplace while adding the slick modern touches that launched the space into the 21st century.

Egypt Sherrod isn't a fan of tiny rooms with winding hallways in a home

As the architectural concept of the open floor plan became popularized in the 20th century, many home renovators began tearing down walls to make their spaces more inviting and conversational. Big houses filled with small rooms and winding hallways were initially designed to keep spaces functional. However, not only do open floor plans encourage more movement in the home, they also improve air flow, brighten the space, and can prevent the home from feeling stuffy. 

In Season 1, Episode 2 ("Marietta Square If You Dare"), the tour began with the hosts walking directly into a wall. This was the opposite of an open floor plan — the first challenge on Sherrod and Jackson's radar. "This is one of the biggest issues in the house, there's no hallway," Sherrod explained to the client. "To get through the house you have to walk through all the bedrooms. It's a crazy floorplan that makes no sense. And we've got to make it make sense."

As soon as the renovation began, walls came down, instantly making the home feel larger and more inviting. The first thing the design duo did was create a large hallway through the center of the home, which effectively opened up the layout and made some of those awkward crannies and compact rooms much easier to navigate. The home felt significantly larger and more functional thanks to Jackson and Sherrod's efforts.

Manual kitchen dials are a sign of dated equipment

While some might find original appliances to be a vintage treat in their home, in terms of function, they leave some room for improvement. Especially when it comes to manual controls, original appliances can bring their share of challenges. Manual kitchen dials are one of the easiest tells of a dated kitchen, indicating out-of-date equipment and years of use and wear and tear. In Season 1, Episode 8 ("More Like Brook-Heaven"), after Sherrod and Jackson showed a young couple their future kitchen, the original appliances were an instant worry.

As the client explained that it seemed there was a lot of work to be done in the space, she pointed out that the original appliances were not only an eyesore but impractical. "What do you have against a manual timer?" Sherrod joked, finagling with the aged knobs on the oven. Updating the kitchen's appliances was one of the first projects the hosts took on as they modernized the space, replacing the dated oven with the manual dial to a brand-new model, perfect for the client's fresh start in their new home.

Egypt Sherrod doesn't love glass brick accents

Another dated feature that can be found in some houses is glass block paneling or windows. Glass bricks became popular at the beginning of the 20th century in art deco spaces, making their way to home design in the 1930s and 40s. Designers love them because they provide privacy while also letting in natural light, but the surge of glass blocks seen in 1980s homes led them to become a dated feature at the turn of the century.

Often placed in a bathroom or entryway, glass bricks require regular cleanings to keep the bricks looking glossy. In terms of inviting natural light into a space, glass bricks are often less practical than a typical window. In Season 2, Episode 1 ("Open to Entertaining"), while showing clients a home they ultimately decided against, a feature that instantly caught the hosts' eyes was the vintage glass brick accents used in the living room.

These glass blocks were just for show in the living room — not placed in any area with lighting — so it was especially retro. The clients were amused after setting their eyes on the throwback design feature. "The only problem with taking [the walls] out is we'd have to get rid of the 'Miami Vice' glass," Sherrod teased. While the hosts didn't end up doing a renovation to that space, there was a quick call-out to a retro decor trend that instantly dated the home.

The Married to Real Estate hosts cringe at dingy and dated wallpaper

It might seem like a simple design element to modernize, but embracing the wrong wallpaper can be one of the easiest ways to make a space feel out-of-date. Plastered within homes all over the world, wallpaper is a simple and affordable alternative to painting a space an entirely new color. However, as the years go by, wallpaper begins to peel, traps dust and grime, and the process of replacing it can be expensive. Not to mention the wrong wallpaper pattern can easily conjure up memories of the 1950s.

In the Season 2 premiere of "Married to Real Estate," after walking into a home's kitchen area the clients and hosts instantly faced dull wallpaper adorning the kitchen walls. The shade and print was straight out of the '60s and looked as if it hadn't been replaced in years. Not only did this make the space seem darker and dirtier but it sent the space back decades. "Wallpapers got to go," the client said immediately. The hosts were in full agreement with their request. "I don't think this was ever in style though, that's the scary thing," Sherrod quipped, already thinking up ways to modernize the area. 

Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson never like a tight enclosed kitchen

One of Sherrod's most common catchphrases on "Married to Real Estate" is that the kitchen is the heart of the home. The kitchen is meant to be inviting and comfortable, and one of the easiest ways to make the house feel claustrophobic is with a tight, enclosed kitchen. Often found in home layouts with few hallways, separated and enclosed kitchens don't allow loved ones to move freely and can provide a tornado of annoyances when it comes to functionality.

In Season 2, Episode 2 ("All's Well in Roswell"), a couple got a tad nervous after touring a house with a small enclosed kitchen. The room was darker and less accessible than the rest of the house, sparking concerns of claustrophobia. After voicing their opinions on their kitchen-area concerns, Sherrod zeroed in on the cause of the issue. An open floor plan would fix their problem.

"What's making it feel tight is this world of walls," Sherrod explained. Her husband wholeheartedly agreed. "This for me, is a nuisance. I would want this gone," Jackson added, pointing out how he planned to demo the walls to open up the space, "so it doesn't feel so cumbersome." Once Jackson launched the demo, he instantly made the kitchen more inviting and feel far less cramped.

Dull linoleum instantly darkens a space

Upon its invention in the late 1800s, linoleum maintained a chokehold on interior designers for well over a century, with hundreds of designs available by the 1920s. Around the 2000s, linoleum began to emulate more natural design materials. However, these faux linoleum finishes have since reached an interior design expiration date.

This flooring may have been a home decor phenomenon at one point, but it's become quite dated over time. These tiles tend to be dark and heavy, instantly diminishing a room's light. In Season 1, Episode 5 of "Married to Real Estate," Jackson and Sherrod were in full agreement with the client's criticisms of the drab tiling in their home's entryway.

After marveling over the stunning entryway and doors, the clients were gobsmacked the second they entered their faux leather entryway. "The floors, oh my goodness," the client exclaimed. "So you're telling me you don't like these leather-looking floors?" Jackson quipped, privy to the dated decor trend. Sherrod cheekily clarified that the tiles were pleather while marveling at the Y2K-era flooring. When the demo began, the leather flooring was one of the first design elements to go.

Sherrod thought wood paneling was a no-go

Wood paneling is an infamously dated feature, popularized in the '60s and '70s and still adorning the walls of countless homes today. As a natural material, wood paneling is vulnerable to any drastic changes in temperature and humidity. While the slick look of wood paneling is appealing to some, the buckling, warping, and water damage risks are enough to make any renovator balk. Many home decorators begin a demo by replacing wood paneling features, a motion that Sherrod and Jackson seem to agree with.

During the series premiere of "Married to Real Estate," Sherrod and Jackson were quick to point out the "seventies" wood paneling in the living area. "I'm sure you're going to want that out," Sherrod guessed. The couple actually wanted to keep the home's dated wood paneling, defending the decision due to the quality of the wood. 

"It's going to be a bit challenging," Sherrod confessed. "I've never been asked to design around wood paneling, but I'm up for it." Knowing the many drawbacks of wood paneling, Jackson and Sherrod were shocked by the choice and encouraged the couple to consider their options. The hosts rose to the challenge and were able to keep some of the wood paneling while renovating other areas to create a brighter home design.