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10 Played Out Home Trends That Buyers Are Over

Getting ready to redecorate or sell? Before you swing a hammer or pick up a paintbrush, read 10 on-their-way-out trends, chosen by agents in the know.

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Open-Concept Layouts

After years of top billing on house-hunting lists, real estate agents report that open-concept floor plans may be on their way out.

“With the rise of work from home, I’m seeing clients needing more separate space for those Zoom calls, away from barking dogs and kids needing a snack,” says Realtor Deb Tomaro of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Bloomington, Ind.

“I’m seeing more and more buyers prefer a little more separation. Plus, when everyone is always home, it’s impossible to sneak cookies in an open-concept space!”

She also sees more buyers asking for dedicated home office space.

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Modern farmhouse kitchenAliyev Alexei Sergeevich/Getty Images

Modern Farmhouse

Despite the continued popularity of Chip and Joanna Gaines and their TV show Fixer Upper, the updated twists on traditional farmhouses are likely on their way out, according to at least three agents interviewed for this story.

“One trend that seems to be on its way out is the whole Modern Farmhouse look,” says Ricardo Mello, co-founder and managing partner at Manhattan Miami, a luxury residential real estate agency with offices in New York City and Miami. “Buyers seem to be moving away from features like barn doors, faux-weathered cabinets and shiplap.”

But some elements of the trend are still sticking around. Clients, he says, still favor light, airy styles and neutrals.

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white kitchenBreadmaker/Shutterstock

White-on-White Kitchens

Years and years of bright white Instagram home photos are starting to fade. “An all-white kitchen surely looks neat and clean, but we’ve seen too much of it,” says David Cusick, chief strategy officer at House Method. “Buyers are looking for something refreshing. Instead of pure white, you can paint the kitchen island or cabinets with a shade of gray or other colors that will give an accent.”

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glass block bathroom windowsArtazum/Shutterstock

Glass Block Bathroom Walls

Glass block bathroom walls have long been a way brighten dark bathrooms and add natural light without giving up privacy. But, Cusick says, it turns out many buyers don’t like them. His suggestion? “Use skylight lighting instead, and choose LED lights for energy savings.”

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tile backplashDerek Hatfield/Shutterstock

Classic Tile Patterns

Chuck Vander Stelt, Realtor and founder of Quadwalls in Valparaiso, Ind., says typical tile patterns, sizes and designs are fading fast.

“Homes with subway tile, chevron patterns and interlocking low-cost plastic backsplashes and inside of bath and showers areas are now common,” he says, adding that homeowners who take tile to the next level “stand out dramatically” among the others. “Consider choosing a not-so-common size and do not be afraid of selecting a tile with some color or definite pattern,” he says.

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granite kitchen countertopspics721/Shutterstock


Goodbye, granite?! After an era as an absolute must-have for kitchen countertops and islands, Realtor Lindsay Bjerke of Norton Realty in St. Paul, Minn., says clients are nixing pebbly granite over more uniform-looking quartz finishes. “There are some cool granites, but people see the same ones over and over,” she says, adding that clients are also open to butcher block.

The upsides to quartz? Besides the fresh aesthetic, it’s harder and more durable than granite, doesn’t need re-sealing and the selections are more uniform.

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Big showeralabn/Getty Images

Taking Out the Tub

Do a quick search on Pinterest or Instagram, and you’ll find many homeowners ripping out bathtubs and replacing them with a big, luxe shower spot. They’re beautiful and definitely a draw, but Bjerke cautions not to take the trend too far.

“It’s important to buyers to have a tub somewhere in the house, so don’t eliminate all your bathtubs,” she says. It can be a deal–breaker for buyers if they need to add one back in.

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crisp-gray living room wall color _133777247Santiago Cornejo/Shutterstock


Vander Stelt cautions that gray interiors no longer stand out against the crowd.

“The gray walls and white trim, casings and doors provide great contrast for the pictures in your home,” he acknowledges. “However, this color palette is doing nothing to give you contrast against the other competing homes for sale. Remember, it is a swipe-left, swipe-right world. Home buyers are on the websites and apps and are making fast decisions. Stand out to get those buyers to slow down and focus on your home.”

Bjerke agrees — cool grays are a bad move. While Bjerke says she sees people moving back toward more taupes and beiges and away from accent colors, Vander Stelt advocates for great colors in lighter shades.

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Silver fixturesphototropic/Getty Images

Silver Fixture Finishes

Vander Stelt says he always encourages people to brush up their doorknobs, faucets and light fixtures — and brushed nickel or chrome aren’t going to do it anymore. “These metals do not stand out in pictures due to low contrast.” he says. “In person, these metals just look and feel cold and institutional. We are big fans of the oil rubbed bronze and black fixtures.”

Bjerke says gold tones are making their way out, but she’d stick with black or chrome for an eye-catching look.

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Hardwood floorCommercial Eye/Getty Images

Hardwood Floors

If you’ve replaced your floors recently and installed hardwood, don’t panic. Buyers are not necessarily moving back toward loving wall-to-wall carpet. But Bjerke says buyers are not hardcore about having the real thing. Luxury vinyl and laminate flooring options made to look like real hardwood can easily do the trick if hardwood flooring is out of your budget.

Katie Dohman
Katie Dohman is an award-winning freelance writer who has written about home, design, and lifestyle topics for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured in Artful Living, Midwest Home, Star Tribune, and Teen Vogue, among many others. She is currently living her own how-to story as she and her husband work through a complete gut remodel on their 1921 home—while parenting three tiny tots and dodging their dog and cat, who always seem to be underfoot.

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