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From decorative millwork to built-in kitchen desks and granite countertops, the 1990s were characterized by design trends that are now dated. While the idea of renovating your home may feel like a pipe dream, there are plenty of simple, creative solutions for bringing your out-of-date home into the now. We spoke to expert Ridley Wills, founder of Nashville’s premier design-build firm The Wills Company, to learn which tired ’90s trends have led to the most sought-after home renovations.

4 Ways to Renovate Your Tired ’90s Home

Remove “Fancy” Architectural Embellishments

Houses built in the ’90s can be known for having faux-European architectural details that often don’t enhance a home’s quality or value. “Many ’90s-era houses have unnecessary columns and other millwork embellishments that now date these spaces,” Ridley explains. He says that his team can easily update these features by replacing them with simpler moldings or removing them altogether.

Another out-of-date architectural detail Ridley often sees is soffits, which are sections of a ceiling that drop down lower than the main ceiling. To update a soffit, Ridley and his team typically remove them altogether.

'90s home with outdated bookshelves and arched doorway

Pictured here is a living space before The Wills Company team removed the outdated bookcases and opened up the arched doorway.

Modern living room with a grand piano

Post-renovation, this bright and airy living room is perfect for family gatherings or a relaxing night at home. Image: Quinn Ballard

Get Rid of Built-Ins

More often than not, Ridley says built-in features date a home. For example, built-in kitchen desks often become unsightly, seldom-used counters for piles of paper and miscellaneous clutter. Plus, who wants to spend their days working at a desk that faces a blank wall when technology gives us the ability to work anywhere we want? When it comes time to renovate your kitchen, Ridley suggests removing these desks altogether.

Similarly, many ’90s homes have “technology graveyards” with hardwired technology like intercoms, audio systems, doorbells, and telephone jacks. Today, it’s important to have flexible technology that moves with you. “If at all possible, opt for remote-access systems,” suggests Ridley.

Outdated '90s technology in Nashville home

While hardwired technology was popular in the ’90s, Ridley suggests replacing it with flexible, remote-access options.

Ill-Maintained Decks

Decks can also quickly date a house if they are not properly maintained. “By the time people get around to fixing their decks, they’re often quite rotten,” says Ridley. If you wish to renovate your deck, he suggests upgrading pressure-treated deck board to a more long-lasting product to better withstand the weather. Better yet, Ridley also recommends replacing your deck with a covered porch or masonry terrace.

A deck on a '90s home pre-renovation

Pictured here is a deck before Ridley and his team reimagined the space.

Stone terrace and covered porch on a renovated '90s home

“The client now has a much more useful covered porch and dining terrace to enjoy their backyard,” says Ridley. Image: Quinn Ballard

Replace Busy Granite Countertops

This one may come as a surprise, but trends come and go in phases, and for now, Ridley says, “Granite is definitely out of style. Often, ’90s kitchens had countertops in busy, brown colors that do not stand up to today’s look.” The trend for the modern kitchen is certainly lighter, and during your home renovation, Ridley suggests alternatives like stainless steel, quartz, honed marble, wood, or even glass.

Dark, outdated kitchen before a home renovation by The Wills Company

While granite countertops such as these were once trendy, many homeowners are opting for brighter, simpler options today.

Light, airy kitchen after a '90s home renovation

The Wills Company updated this kitchen with new marble countertops, removing the outdated soffit, and opening up the view to the family room beyond.

Here are a few more ways The Wills Company can update your ’90s home:

  • Level out vaulted ceilings.
  • Replace your built-in Whirlpool spa tub with a freestanding one.
  • Replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood flooring.

Ridley also notes the importance of taking a step back before kicking off your home renovation. He suggests assessing how you want your space laid out and examining which aspects of it bring you joy. From there, The Wills Company can recreate a brand-new vision for your home while still maintaining its original charm, as their focus remains on renovation and restoration.

The Wills Company is located at 6606 Charlotte Pike, Suite 201, Nashville, TN 37209. To learn more, visit willscompany.com or call (615) 352-1228.

This article is sponsored by The Wills Company. All photography provided by The Wills Company unless otherwise noted.

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