WE all want our homes to look cosy and inviting – but sometimes even despite our best efforts we end up achieving quite the opposite result.

Offering a helping hand, Kate Conrad, interior design specialist for Madison & Mayfair, has revealed the biggest home transformation Don’ts and the five major errors which make your home dated and drab.

An expert claims pine furniture makes your home look dated & drab


An expert claims pine furniture makes your home look dated & drabCredit: Getty
According to Kate, it's time to ditch anything pine and leave vertical blinds to classrooms


According to Kate, it’s time to ditch anything pine and leave vertical blinds to classroomsCredit: Kate Conrad


Vertical blinds are a must at school classrooms – and according to the whizz, that’s where they should stay.

”Reminiscent of stuffy school classrooms, it’s time to close the curtains on vertical blinds.

”The lacklustre design peaked in the late 80’s early 90’s, and while I’m not overtly against some vintage styling, you can certainly do better, such as with some gorgeous wooden shutters,” she suggested.

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Wood chip wallpaper used to be all the rage…a while back.

And it is safe to say the interior expert is not particularly fond of it.

”If you want your home to look like a papier-mâché project gone wrong, then by all means, use some wood chip wallpaper.”

Instead, Kate recommended, ditch this for ”smooth, sleek clean walls” – these, in her opinion, ”offer a far more modernistic interior that is easily styled with wall art and frames”.

However, if you do want some texture, then panelling is another great option – it will provide all the depth you’re after without the tacky aftertaste.


No living room is complete without a cosy carpet to keep your feet warm – but, according to Kate, you shouldn’t just go and grab whichever design you see.

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And here, patterned carpets are a big no-no.

”When I think of patterned carpets, I think of Wetherspoons plates, and that isn’t the kind of vibe you want for a fresh and modern home…

”By all means, experiment with (stylishly) patterned rugs, but an entire patterned carpet can be a little garish, not to mention harder to style with furniture pieces.”


”If you can’t tell, I’m not the biggest fan of pine…”

The only good thing about pine, Kate added, is that ”thank goodness” the material is easy to paint over – ”because it certainly needs all the help it can get to look halfway decent”.

”The way of kitchen interior décor has thankfully changed for the better, making way for sleek countertops, and removing the need for pine entirely.”


With their colourful and funky patterns, the 70’s style is coming back.

But, as far as Kate is concerned, some of its iconic looks should remain in that decade – coloured bathroom suites included.

”A bathroom should feel clean and fresh, not grotty with offensive colour palettes splashed around a smaller space with reckless abandon.

”My advice? Stick to white, grey or even black, and instead inject some colour with a feature wall, prints, or subtle additions such as hand towels.”

Leave the patterned rugs to Wetherspoons, Kate thought


Leave the patterned rugs to Wetherspoons, Kate thoughtCredit: Getty
As cheerful as the 70's colours might be, it's best to stick to more neutral tones, such as white and black


As cheerful as the 70’s colours might be, it’s best to stick to more neutral tones, such as white and blackCredit: Getty