• Insider asked an interior designer what she wouldn’t have in her home.
  • Tiny fixtures or gallery walls with small pieces can add clutter to rooms.
  • Instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, opt for hardwood flooring throughout your space.

Insider sat down with Cathy Hobbs — a celebrity interior designer and owner of home staging company Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes — to find out the trends and styles she’d never have in her own space.

Artificial dried flowers can make a house look old-fashioned

Dried and grayish fake flours in a lighted shelf

Other dried plants may work better.

Dzmitry Kaprusynka/Getty Images

While greenery — including faux options — can add life to your space, Hobbs steers clear of artificial dried flowers when designing her home.

“These often feel dated and dated in modern decor,” she told Insider.

Instead, she suggested opting for artificial palm leaves, grasses or succulents.

The designer avoids framed posters

When incorporating artwork into your home, don’t just frame cheap posters. According to Hobbs, this look can shrink your space.

She said you can opt for an inexpensive wall hanging or framed photograph if you can’t afford canvas artwork.

You won’t find acrylic or plastic decorative pieces in his house.

Hobbs stays away from acrylic and plastic furniture or accessories, even if they are inexpensive.

“Not only do these materials often crack, but they also tend to look ‘milky’ over time,” she told Insider.

She recommended looking for a sustainable alternative, such as a material suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

She avoids gallery walls full of small rooms

A neutral toned living room with an art gallery wall

Gallery walls aren’t always great for anchoring your space.


While creating a “wall of little things” — or an eclectic gallery wall — can be an easy way to fill an empty space, you won’t find this decorating choice in Hobbs’ home.

Instead of a wall with frames and mirrors of different sizes, the designer suggested opting for large, bold pieces to better anchor your space.

Small parts and accessories may look like a mess

Likewise, home accessories, accents and other undersized items often create visual clutter, according to Hobbs.

Instead, she recommended choosing larger decor pieces that will help anchor your space without being a visual distraction.

Hobbs doesn’t overload its shelves

Living room with sofa, art and clean wooden shelf

Keep some open space on your shelf for a minimalist look.


Even though the shelves are great for storage, don’t overfill them with all your books and knick-knacks.

Hobbs suggested leaving some shelves empty for a minimalist look.

It avoids the “overworked” look in home offices

According to the designer, there’s no reason to leave your workspace cluttered when you’re not using it.

“Eliminate clutter and opt for a workspace where work can be stored when not in use,” she said.

You can choose a desk with drawers or store your things in bins.

Empty walls in long hallways are a wasted decorating opportunity

Hobbs makes sure to add design elements to long hallways and sometimes uses mirrors to lengthen them.

“Hallways rarely have windows or get a lot of light,” she explained. “Adding mirrors can help make those narrow spaces look wider.”

She swaps carpet for hardwood floors

White home kitchen with hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are a popular choice.


The designer eschews wall-to-wall carpeting, despite how it can create a seamless look.

“The reality is that for many, carpeting sends a visual signal of ‘outdated,'” Hobbs told Insider.

She said it’s in your best interest to go with hardwood flooring since most buyers prefer it.

Bright, trendy furniture can go out of fashion

While bright colors are certainly fun for key pieces of furniture, Hobbs told Insider it’s best to stay neutral.

“Instead of choosing furniture that may look trendy, opt for ones that will stand the test of time,” she said. “Grey and cream are great foundation colors when selecting primary pieces such as sofas.”

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