Things an interior designer of 13 years won’t find in her home

An interior designer shared the items and designs she never put in her home.

  • Jennifer Walter, an interior designer, shared the decor items she’d never shared She has it in her house.
  • She said matching sets in bedrooms and kitchens are missed opportunities to add personality.
  • Walter also recommended replacing pop art made of canvas with unique, elevated pieces.

Decorating your home can be fun and overwhelming at the same time. With so many trends coming and going, it’s more important than ever to know which decor items are worth the investment.

Jennifer Walter, Principal Designer and Owner of Folding Chair Design Co. , with over 13 years of interior design experience, so Insider asked her to share the pieces she never put into her home.

Scenic or pop art paintings can look more like stock photos than home decor.

Walter avoids hanging prints and orders affordable pieces online instead.

According to Walter, low-quality photos and artwork on canvas have faded in popularity for a reason: many look like stock photos or mass reprints.

“While fine art actually appears on canvas, the art frogs and picturesque sunsets we just can’t fit into our homes,” the designer told Insider.

As an alternative, Walter recommended looking for affordable artwork on sites like Etsy, Minted, and Society6. These pieces give rooms a more elevated style. Plus, it usually comes framed and ready to hang.

Tuscan kitchens can look old and dark on the inside.

Tuscan kitchens feature earthy tones and iron finishes.

Tuscan-style decorating is another trend to put to bed, Walter said. Think pink floor tiles, focal point tile patterns behind range hoods, and swirling iron accents.

The good news, according to Walter, is that craft tiles are back in a big way.

“If you like the natural look and feel of materials from the Tuscan era, take a look at Zellige tiles,” Walter told Insider. “It’s handmade, it comes in a multitude of colors, and it has a very aged look to it.”

School photos and family photos shouldn’t be the focal point of a room unless you display them creatively.

People can display photos of their loved ones in original and aesthetically pleasing ways.

It’s okay to have a few framed family photos on nightstands or console tables, but Walter said hanging 8″ by 10″ kids pictures on a massive wall with nothing else can really blow out the style of a room.

If you choose to display your family photos, choose to do so in more artistic ways.

“Find images that are very abstract or less graphic, blow them up to 24 by 24 squares, and frame them together in a hall,” Walter told Insider.

For example, if you want to show off your puppy, use a black and white photo of a sleeping animal in a bedroom as focal art.

Halogen floor lamps can pose a fire hazard. Fortunately, there are many luscious options.

500-watt bulbs can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, you probably had a halogen bulb,” Walter said. “You’d throw it in the corner of the room, come in, and turn the dimmer up to light the room with halogen quality.”

However, torchiere-style halogen floor lamps can pose significant fire hazards, as 500-watt bulbs can reach temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The designer recommended exploring other modern floor lamps with charming designs instead.

“The floor lamp game is being pumped right now with stunning new shades in rattan and velvet as well as models with oversized shades, making sculptural statements as much as the light sources,” the designer told Insider.

Mixed flooring materials and faux wood finishes often clash.

The floors must be of the same material, or at least they must complement each other.

“Nothing says bad decisions like a house with hardwood in one room, laminate in a completely different color in another, and then tiles in terracotta next to it,” Walter told Insider.

The designer suggested installing one type of flooring and finishing. If you can’t afford to refinish or replace hardwood floors, she said to choose another material that complements them, like oversized tiles or even carpet.

Matching furniture combinations take away the opportunity to personalize rooms.

You don’t always want your headboard to match your wardrobe.

“When renovating, we see a lot of homes with a full bedroom suite. Bed, dresser, little boy, night tables—they’re all the same,” Walter told Insider. “The same goes for the kitchens. The white legged table with wood veneer top and matching chairs have all seen their day.”

Decor is about personality and variety, the designer said, so when everything in a room is the same, there’s very little that sets it apart. She loves picking out all of the individual pieces that go into a room.

“With the influx of stain-resistant fabrics on kitchen and dining chairs, it’s easier than ever to infuse the upholstery into these rooms,” Walter told Insider.

Metal window treatments can give rooms a sterile feel.

Walter prefers curtains with more texture.
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According to Walter, window treatments should not contain metal as a base material. There are so many options to choose from both online and through workrooms (if you’re hiring a designer), that makes horizontal venetian blinds obsolete.

“Soft woven shades used to be hard to come by, but now, most curtain companies online carry a variety of finishes and textures to make your windows pop without the hefty price tag that custom treatments sometimes carry,” Walter told Insider.

Wood signs with slogans are not the best use of wall space.

Walter opts for old-fashioned signs instead of wooden signs with heraldry.

According to Walter, woodblock signs are officially dead.

“We know you live and you laugh and you love, but we don’t need a sign saying that,” she told Insider. “The same goes for ‘Café’, ‘Bless This House’ and ‘It’s Wine O’Clock.”

For those tempted by the tags at their local big box store, Walter suggested buying an old one from eBay or Etsy instead.

“Artwork also comes in all shapes and sizes now, so you can find just the right piece above an entryway,” said the designer.

Couches with cup holders tend to be bulky, and they usually don’t exude elegance.

Couches with cup holders and charging stations can feel bulky.
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According to Walter, sofas with built-in features for charging electronics, holding drinks, or lighting don’t exude elegance. You will not find one in its place.

If you have a theater or lounging room, I suggested getting a sectional or benches with matching ottomans and benches.

“It can be made in hundreds of different fabrics and still feel elegant in any setting,” she said.

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