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17 Hilariously Outdated Family Handyman Projects

Family Handyman has been guiding DIYers through home improvement projects for decades—and these projects are prime examples of that!

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infinity table projectFamily Handyman

Infinity Table ’00

Expand your mind with this back-to-the-70s light table. Turn on the lights inside this table and you’ll be staring into infinity. This woodworking project makes a dramatic impact when the lights inside it go on and the mirror creates an optical illusion. Don’t worry, you can still get the project plans!

Plus: Check out these 19 surprisingly easy woodworking projects for beginners.

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FH98MAY_01344lead-1200 sponge paintFamily Handyman

Sponge Painting ’98

With just a sponge, a can of glaze and a few paint colors you can transform your house. Of all the techniques for creating special effects with paint, none is easier or yields more obvious results than sponge painting. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it should still be done! We’d say probably not with this 90’s trend.

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floor to ceiling mirrors datedFamily Handyman

Floor-to-Ceiling Mirrors ’82

We displayed this floor-to-ceiling mirror setup in 1982 inside an apartment. We said back then that floor-to-ceiling mirrors added a feeling of more space and also hid cabinetry and an entertainment center. You might notice the angled lighting creates a dramatic effect and helps point your eyes where the interior designer wanted you to focus. Mirrors have long been a device people use to make a small room feel bigger, but have you heard of these 14 ways to make a small room look bigger?

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dated primary colors kitchenFamily Handyman

Primary Color Kitchen ’95

Bright colors tend to indicate the strength of the economy. When colors turn brighter in clothing and decor, it’s generally because the economy is performing well. That’s what happened in the mid-90s and it often took the form of primary colors in home decor…yikes! Follow these tips on choosing paint colors next time you’ve got a painting task.

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media cabinetFamily Handyman

VHS Media Cabinet ’97

Halogen lights and glass doors let your VHS and music cassette collections shine! Whether you’re looking to store your pretty much obsolete VHS supply or show off your more modern collectibles, this is your ’90s glory display cabinet. Check out these 56 things everyone had in their house in the ’90s.

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dated kitchenFamily Handyman

Roman Basement Bar ’95

Are you entertaining or training for a marathon? Out of ice? It’s a dash up to the kitchen, then back downstairs to the basement party room again. Hors d’oeuvres finally warmed up? Another ascent and descent. Well, you know the routine. When it comes to basement bars, we’re not arguing, they are a great upgrade to any home. But, this basement kitchenette could use some more modern updates. Check-out the Roman columns, green drawer knobs and matching vinyl floor!

Check out these 15 home bar ideas for the perfect bar design.

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dated green laminate floors in bathroomFamily Handyman

Barney’s Bathroom ’00

It’s not that we don’t like vinyl tile in the bathroom, rather we don’t recommend it in the color greenWe’ll show you a foolproof method of installing a vinyl floor and pass on expert tips for avoiding common installation pitfalls.

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salvaged apronFamily Handyman

Salvaged Nail Apron ’02

If you’re super cheap and don’t want to purchase a nail apron, don’t toss those old battered and splattered carpenter pants! Cut off the legs and crotch section leaving the back pockets and waistband. Load up the back pockets, snap or button it on—pockets facing front—and go to work. Thanks to reader Travis Wells for the most hip-hugging tip ever! Check out these 50 nifty Handy Hints for cheapskates. 

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artistically painted wallsFamily Handyman

Paint Pizzaz ’08

We made this project all the way back in 2008 with a paint color called salmonella, and that’s probably where it should stay.

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glass block wallFamily Handyman

Glass Block Windows ’96

We’ve shown many glass block projects through the years, like a glass block shower and a glass block basement window, but this is an entire glass block wall! Glass block walls appeared in homes in a variety of ways in the ’90s.

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popcorn ceiling Family Handyman

Popcorn Ceiling Repair ’02

One question, why would you repair this stuff? Instead, check out our 11 tips for how to remove popcorn ceilings faster and easier.

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dated deskFamily Handyman

The Comma Desk ’96

If you’d like your home office to have a contemporary look, but don’t want to settle for cheap, ready-to-assemble furniture, consider building a more up-to-date desk design. This one had a modern look…in the ’90s.

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outdated purple kitchenFamily Handyman

Purple Kitchen ’96

Take a look at these purple cabinet knobs! Now that’s a look! Not to mention the decorative grapes painted on the walls. Purple used to be a color trend across several platforms. Purple was especially hot for vehicles beginning in 1994. Trends tend to be cyclical, so you might not be surprised by what Pantone picked as its color of the year for 2019.

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dated draperies curtainFamily Handyman

Poofy Window Treatments ’99

Heavy fabrics, ties, fringed trim and roller shades belong in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Dirty blinds (here’s how to easily clean blinds) or cracked blinds also make a home look dated.

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outdated bathroom tileFamily Handyman

The McDonald’s Master Bath ’97

The quality and craftsmanship of this master bath remodel is without-a-doubt top notch. However, the issue we have with this project is the color pallet. Black and white checkerboard tile is timeless, but mixing in yellow and red makes it a Ronald McDonald master bath. Check out bathroom makeovers and before and after photos to give you an idea of what you can do in just one weekend!

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glass block wall in living roomFamily Handyman

Tropical Oasis Living Room ’96

A glass block wall and an over-the-top tropical living room set-up weren’t enough for us back in the mid-’90s. So we cranked it to 11 with fake potted plants like these. Faux plants are one of the things that can make a room look cluttered. Follow these 15 tips to make a small room seem bigger.

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skin friendly insulationFamily Handyman

Skin-Friendly Insulation ’02

Ok, so this project isn’t exactly outdated but the picture sure is funny! The product shown in this photo is still used today and is made from scrap denim and cotton fibers, UltraTouch doesn’t irritate skin and lungs, and be installed without protective clothing or masks. That’s pretty neat!

Get UltraTouch on Amazon.

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