Throwback Month

8 Vintage Trends That Real Estate Agents Wish Would Stay in the Past

published Apr 7, 2022
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old couch from the 70s, in a basement
Credit: MYP Studio

Some old-school trends make a space more appealing — mid-century modern design, for example, can add character (and even value) to a home. Other vintage trends have the opposite effect, making homes look dated and less desirable to potential buyers. 

Whether you’re thinking of selling your home or you’re just wondering what parts of your space could benefit from an update, here are eight surprisingly common vintage trends that real estate agents wish would stay in the past. 


Wallpaper is a great way to add some flair to your space — but if you’re planning to sell your home anytime soon, you might want to think twice about your decision. According to Massachusetts-based Realtor Bill Gassett, wallpaper is usually hyper-personalized. “One person’s treasure is another person’s ‘Are you kidding me?’” he says. “Because of the deep personalization, selling a home with wallpaper is far more challenging. You need to find a buyer who has the identical taste you do.” 

Wood paneling 

Russell Enyart, a Sacramento-based Realtor, says he’s not a fan of wood paneling. “I’m not talking about wainscoting and other woodwork that can really increase the look and value of a home, but the full wood paneling that looks like it came back from the ‘70s,” he says. “The biggest issue with this is that it is trendy, so there is only a small percentage of buyers that like it, and removing it often destroys walls.” 

Vertical blinds 

Vintage furniture and decor can boost your aesthetic, but Beatrice de Jong, real estate broker and consumer trends expert at Opendoor, wishes people would steer clear of these dated window treatments. “These blinds swing around making them annoying to close and to open,” she says. “They look dated in a bad way, and can easily be replaced with a more modern and sleek option — or curtains!”

Credit: Shutterstock/

Sponge-painted walls 

This ’90s look may have been cool in your childhood bedroom, but it probably won’t translate well to your adult home. “This type of paint job will not make your home look Italian, so please just don’t do it,” de Jong says. “A fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone will give your home much more class.”

Glass subway tile

While porcelain subway tile adds a modern feel to any bathroom, glass subway tile has the opposite effect. “Although they clean easily, they look passé and will likely crack over time,” says New York-based real estate agent Ryan Kaplan

Parquet floors 

Another one of Kaplan’s least favorite vintage trends? Parquet floors, which boomed in the 1960s. “They’re busy and read much cheaper and less elegant than wide-plank or herringbone-pattern floors,” he says.

Bathroom carpet 

There are plenty of reasons carpet doesn’t belong in a bathroom, and aesthetics is only one of them. “Do we really need the plush comfort at our feet at the expense of water and makeup stains? I prefer heated tile!” says Rachel Retzer, a Realtor in Park City, Utah. 

Textured walls 

The cousin to popcorn ceilings, textured walls aren’t just a niche design choice that might detract buyers. According to Mike Opyd, a Chicago-based Realtor, textured walls are also extremely difficult to smooth out. “It’s one of the most tedious and labor-intensive things to do,” he says. “When buyers see these types of walls, they immediately get turned off, knowing it is something they will need to address.”

This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!