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10 Worst Home Trends of the Decade

6. Faux Green Trend

This may seem to be a controversial opinion. But the “marketization” of the green movement has meant as much about sales of new products (more and more to fill the landfill) as it has meant about real conservation. The best green products are antiques. We’ve been overwhelmed by the marketing of the products and forget about other factors like transportation. Wrapping products in the “green flag” can sometimes be like putting lipstick on a pig. You can dress it up, but it may still be an unnecessary product in the long run.

5. Cheap Furniture

There was a time when those setting out to start their first homes would make do with lots of hand-me-downs and carefully considered first time purchases. A dining room set or bedroom suite was purchased for life, not for right now. Furniture was expensive and the decision around what to purchase was about value and lifetime use. Because of this, most young people ended up with better quality, even if it was considered moderate at the time, and they respected it enough to take care of it. Once furniture prices started to drop due to mechanization of production and cheap imports, furniture buyers stopped thinking about longevity or even had any expectation of quality.  Furniture became “temporary” and “throw away.”  This is bad for the landfill and ultimately bad for the pocketbook, as this furniture requires replacement more often than that of higher quality.

4. Faux Tuscan or “Olde World”

The faux Tuscan or Olde Wold look has been very much overdone in the last decade. Rather than spending time studying what makes Tuscan or European style so unique and beautiful, we’ve reduced it to a few elements and done bad reproductions of those elements. When we’re enamored of a certain place or style, we can sometimes fixate on the most obvious elements, but it’s the subtleties that give those originals life.

3.  Mix ‘n Match Architectural Styles

Little is worse than the random mixing of architectural styles both inside and outside a home. Small ranch homes are remodeled and suddenly feature Palladium windows. Columned front porches are slapped on modest Cape Cod style homes. All traditional architectural styles have a beauty of their own — their details are scaled to work with their innate size. Loss of proportion and scale makes many newer homes seem neither here nor there.

2.  Laminate Wood Floors

Wood floors are long lasting, warm and comfortable to walk on. I lament the plastic flooring trend.

1.  Refinancing to Purchase Any of the Above

Finally, the absolute worst trend — even worse than building a McMansion — has been the economic environment that allowed us to take money out of our homes to purchase all of the above.  Bad financial planning coupled with bad purchasing spelled disaster.

Related:
10 DIY Renovation Pitfalls to Avoid
Tips for Using Less Energy
6 Tips for Cutting Through Greenwashing

Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Green Home Decor, Holidays, Home, Household Hints, Life, Materials & Architecture, New Year

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Networx.com empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.

179 comments

+ add your own
11:05AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

The McMansion style house should be required to provide it's own electrical source, water well and septic system before people are ever given a permit to build. If people want to be so wasteful they should not be allowed to connect to the grid and slurp up so much that it raises prices for the rest of us.
There was a time when haveing lots of people on the line brought prices down, but those days are long gone.And if people had to monitor their own energy use and do upkeep on their own water, waste treatment and energy generation, they might get a better sense of what 'careing about the health of their personal environment involved.For instance, it's not a good idea to use a lot of chemicals on your lawn to make it look like a golf course, because those chemicals will end up in your well water, and you don't dump harsh things down your drains because that will destroy the microbial life that keep your waste treatment systom working properly.

8:28AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

It's tough being a writer- no matter how much work is put into an article, there would always be nay-sayers. For what it's worth, there are some very interesting issues in this article. Indeed, who needs to ramble in a big mansion , with the latest gadgets and gizmos and for what? So many only use their homes to sleep and for personal care.Out all day, no interest to cook , why bother cooking when there is such a variety of food out there! But- a home is one's sanctuary, whatever is in that house/home is a personal expression of the home owner. It may be a fulfillment of childhood dreams of living in a nice house- out of a magazine look. The house/home may not exude warmth or a welcoming atmosphere to visitors- but to the owner, it is a dream come true,perhaps with the nightmare that is spelled maintenance cost.

5:42AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

You have really nailed it here! (pardon the pun).

I've worked as both an interior design professional and a writer/producer of those quickie DIY home projects that present a warped view of how things really work in the design and build industry.

What homeowners on those shows really get is more of a stagecraft set, built with spit and glue. The kitchens don't even have running water. What's more, the major furnishings are donated by sponsors and design and contracting fees are never included in the ridiculous prices quoted. In the real world, good designers help clients save money.

Thanks for this important article that expresses the views of so many of us in the business!

3:50PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

The thing that I have noticed most about new homes is, as you mentioned, the mixing of styles and also the lack of proportion. The first makes me think that the poor house just doesn't know what it is. The contemporary Colonial is so disproportionate that it doesn't look Colonial, it just looks like a box. The roof's pitch is too low, the windows are too short and many if not most are missing the large center chimney. The same holds true for the Cape style. The old homes had steep pitched roofs to clear the snow and ice and were 'hunkered down' to keep out the cold winds and gales. Those characteristics made the old Cape look warm and cozy. Don't even get me started on the modern "victorian'. I live in New England, and one of the things that realtors here are lacking is a knowledge of architectural styles. Generally, if it's a two story home they call it a Colonial, and a one story that has equal windows on both sides of a center door, is a Cape. If your job is selling houses, one would think you would want know something about them.

12:36AM PDT on Nov 2, 2011

Thanks.

12:53AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

Noted. Thank you.

6:59AM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

For a very long time I lived in a 5600 square foot house and while it was lovely, it was a huge drain on all of us! The kitchen was gigantic and even though I cooked three meals a day for a family 6 it was no fun at all; the house absorbed all my creative efforts and was just an albatross. We sold it, and the people who bought it added another 1000 square feet, removed the small orange and tangerine grove, put in a tennis court and gutted the interior. Every time I drive by it now I whisper a little prayer of gratitude that this monster is out of my life!

9:03AM PST on Feb 13, 2011

Building McMansions leaves me shaking my head at the waste of energy and resources. How do the owners ever pay for it, heat it, cool it, maintain it? You'd think they could afford a solar, wind or geothermal heating/cooling system when building these huge houses but no. Just about all of them are on the 'grid'. I just don't get it.

9:13AM PST on Feb 4, 2011

I agree! We have turned to ugly consumers. And thanks so much for putting light on the "faux green trend." People need to know the truth about what it is to truly be green, and how these hyper marketed trends are no much more than crap, as though they really wanted to fill up the landfills even more!

1:41PM PST on Feb 3, 2011

Especially the way they'll put up a McMansion in a nice, old neighborhood of moderate homes.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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