By Cheyenne Lentz
For inspiration, Insider asked Alessandra Wood, an interior designer and the vice president of style at the online interior-design service Modsy, to share which items and trends she would never have in her own home.
Decorative Mason jars aren’t her cup of tea
Mason jars have become a popular interior-design trend and can often be found on Pinterest as repurposed soap dispensers, lighting fixtures, candle holders, and so on.
But these decorations can feel a bit too homemade for Wood.
Though Mason jars work well for storing leftovers and dry goods, Wood would never use them as decorative accents in her home, she said. She recommended opting for more stylized accents and fixtures that fit your personal design style.
“For soap dispensers, you can find beautiful natural materials that take a sculptural vibe,” she said. “And for lighting fixtures, the world is your oyster.”
She swaps out ‘filler’ decorative accessories with items that have more personal meaning
Wood said she also avoids “filler” decorative accessories, or objects that are mass-produced and essentially meant to fill empty space.
“While these pieces can be great when they really speak to you, oftentimes we find ourselves buying them just to buy something,” Wood told Insider.
Wood suggested opting for a more curated look in your home. In other words, each accessory should have some sort of meaning.
“Choose decorative accents that you find yourself drawn to and really love or ones that you collect on your journeys,” Wood told Insider. “I like to use this approach when deciding what to put in my home space and nix the objects that don’t support a larger narrative.”
Roller shades can make a space feel outdated
For window treatments, Wood stays away from roller shades, which can look dated.
“I had these in my bedroom as a child,” Wood said. “I know they’ve come a long way since then, but I can’t have them in my current home.”
Cordless Roman shades are a stylish alternative, she added. They’re easy to operate and can add softness to any window.
An on-display clothing rack takes a lot of work to maintain
Though clothing racks are a cool trend, Wood said it’s just too hard to maintain their aesthetic perfection on a daily basis.
“This only looks good when curated and perfect, which is a lot to ask for something that you use every single day,” she told Insider.
She said she’d rather have an armoire. An armoire allows you to store clothing and accessories behind closed doors, meaning you don’t have to rearrange your belongings daily to keep your room looking perfect.
She tries to avoid textured walls and ceilings
Textured walls and ceilings should be avoided, though they can be costly to update if they’re already in your home, she said.
“Unless your walls are made of plaster, which has a gorgeous, natural texture, I would always refrain from adding texture to sheetrock,” Wood added.
Smooth sheetrock has a crisp look and feel and doesn’t limit your decor options later. For example, it’s challenging to put up wallpaper on textured walls. It’s also nearly impossible to use temporary peel-and-stick paper, Wood said.
You won’t find her painting any rooms red and black
A room that’s painted red and black screams teenage boy or boudoir, Wood said; she stays away from this color palette in her home.
“Pure reds can be quite aggressive and carry a lot of energy with the color, especially when paired with black,” she told Insider.
If you really like red, you may want to use a reddish brown that has the warmth of the hue with added softness. You can pair this color with earthy neutral tones for a more subdued look or with earthy greens for a bit of contrast, she suggested.
Faux flowers can end up being dust collectors
Faux flowers are another no-no on Wood’s list.
“I’m not a fan of faux flowers,” she told Insider. “While they do add a pop of color, they feel like dust collectors to me.”
Instead, you can add a real bouquet or a living plant to add life to the room.
She’ll pass on the polypropylene rugs, which can wear down quickly
Though polypropylene rugs are affordable and often come in trendy colors and patterns, the material is not ideal.
The underlying material is a synthetic blend, which can cause them to break down and look worn in a few years, Wood said.
“Instead, I prefer to invest a bit more in natural-fiber rugs such as wool or cotton blends,” Wood said. “These rugs are meant to last years (even lifetimes) and bring great benefits.”
For example, wool rugs can be easy to clean, durable, and hypoallergenic. While wool rugs can be pricey, you can still get a great deal by opting for a flatweave rug in a natural material, she said.
Matching bedroom sets belong at the furniture store
“When you see a room that has a bed, nightstands, and dressers totally matching, it feels like the set was purchased right off the showroom floor and lacks the personality of the occupant,” Wood told Insider.
Though a few matching pieces can create harmony for those who love order, she said, don’t go for the full suite of furniture.
It’s important to mix in different textures and materials so your space looks more organic and feels much more personalized, she said.
Mirrored walls can look more like a dance studio than a home
Mirrored walls have a certain vibe that is less than ideal for the home, according to Wood.
“While mirrors do wonders to add light and brightness to rooms, floor-to-ceiling mirrored walls have a distinctly dated feel,” Wood said. “They feel more appropriate for a ballet studio than a living room or bedroom.”
Wood recommended hanging large mirrors above a sofa or on a bedroom wall to get the same effect without having the feel of a 1980s Miami Beach condo.
Bathroom vanities with an all-in-one molded sink and counter lack personality
Bathroom vanities with an all-in-one molded sink and counter may be more affordable, but they lack style, according to Wood.
“Of course, these are always the most affordable bathroom vanities, but this is the quintessential piece in style-less flipped homes,” she told Insider.
Wood suggested looking for vanities that have stone counters and a separate sink of a different material. “This will make your bathroom look much more personalized and feel a bit more luxurious,” she said.
For more great stories, visit Insider’s homepage.