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Filtered Homes: Has Instagram changed how we decorate?

Thanks to social media, keeping up with the Joneses has never been easier.

No longer do we have to sneak a peek through windows or hope for an invite to pop round for a cup of tea. Instead, we have unprecedented access to the homes of our neighbours and celebrities thanks to sites like Instagram.

With millions of home interior accounts currently filling our feeds with renovations, transformations and home decor purchases, it’s no surprise that Instagram has become a huge source of inspiration for homeowners and renters across the UK, with 54% of users following interior design accounts.

Today, just 15% of homeowners aged 18-35 get their inspiration from typical decor channels such as magazines and TV shows. These traditional inspiration funnels aren’t entirely dead though, with 40% of homeowners over 35 still preferring to flick through the latest issue of ‘My Dream Home’.

What are we hashtagging?

Follow the #NewBuild


With new-build estates popping up quicker than you can say ‘integrated appliances’, savvy social media users are tracking their ‘home journey’ to capitalise on the massive amount of followers looking for #inspo. From the moment they reserve to that first shop of the bottle of champagne resting on the brand new kitchen worktops, new build home accounts are cropping up every single day.

So which home builder has the most instagrammable homes?


It’s easy to get caught up looking at pictures of other people’s homes on Instagram. However, when you take away the filters and artistically created ‘shots’ that end up on the ‘gram’, is there a downside to trying to keep up with these home interior accounts?

We wanted to unearth your Instagram Regrets, the decor choices you wish you hadn’t made in your home or the ones that just didn’t work. We surveyed 2,300 homeowners, renters and interior design lovers across the UK to find out how much of an impact Instagram has on their home.

How common are your quirks?

Are we decorating our homes in the way that we want, or are we choosing the trends and decor that we think we should have? Let’s take a look at some of the most common decor trends that appear on Instagram.


With over 37k hashtags, it’s probably no surprise that grey walls are still the most popular home decor trend, with 75% of those surveyed having grey walls in their home. The trend has shown no signs of slowing down over the last couple of years and thanks to the success of Mrs Hinch, 50 Shades of Grey is now a decorating ‘brief’ rather than that book you keep in your bedside table drawer.

Even ‘quirky’ decor choices that would have turned heads in the past have become commonplace when you’re scrolling through Instagram. Flamingo bathrooms, tropical wallpaper, pineapples and unicorn decor are all huge hashtags on the platform, making them as unique as magnolia walls in a new build house.

Insta-Regrets, I’ve had a few…

56% of people surveyed admitted regretting an interior design choice they copied from Instagram.

That’s right, over half of us realised that what looks good on Instagram, might not translate into our own unfiltered homes. We asked our respondents to confess their biggest Insta-regrets they’ve had while decorating.

Dark walls are the clear frontrunner when it comes to decor decisions people shouldn’t have made, and no doubt the cause of a lot of coats of white emulsion! Perhaps tempted by the cosy, Instagram accounts that show dark paint tones effortlessly complementing the original period features of a home, dark walls can look great - if you have the space to pull them off. The biggest gripe about dark walls came from those who tried to emulate the Instagram feeds of Victorian homeowners, only to find that painting their hallway slate grey left them feeling more claustrophobic than cosy.

Other decorating styles that left us regretting we’d ever picked up the paintbrush include going ‘all in’ on a nautical theme bathroom and playing it too safe with a house that can only be described as a beige buffet!

The dash for decor

Redecorating the house obviously comes with a cost and 57% of people surveyed said that it is the cost of it that puts them off making significant changes. The decor industry has already taken note of this and now getting your home Insta ready has never been easier, or cheaper.


With instant access to trends and transformations on Instagram, many companies now race to get ahead of the decor trends. Just like fashion, home decor has become something that people want instantly, which is why it’s no surprise that 75% of those surveyed said that discount stores were their first port of call for home decor.

Thanks to the ability to order items quickly and have them on the shelves before the hashtags start trending, discount stores have capitalised on the fact that quality doesn’t really matter if you’re just going to stick a filter on your new ornaments and replace them in a few months. Unsurprisingly, it’s the younger generation that’s leading the charge when it comes to bargain buys, with 83% of 18-35’s buying their decor from discount stores.

With 40% of respondents admitting to changing their home decor every two years, we’re no longer living in a time where redecorating comes with the risk of having to live with something you don’t like. The average cost for redecorating a room in 2019 came in at £300, suggesting that we’re no longer doing big overhauls, it’s cheaper changes that reflect the fact that we know we’ll have the paintbrush out sooner, rather than later.

Of course, not everyone is counting the pennies when it comes to overhauling their home. 40% of those living in the South East spend £500+ on redecorating a room in the home, compared to just 18% of those in the North East who would part with that amount of cash. However, if we look at average spend on decorating a room, it’s Greater London that spends the least; perhaps a result of the high number of people renting due to high property prices.

What the experts think

"Instagram plays a huge part of influence, as there is a platform, which documents photographs of interior design homes, commercial spaces and home décor trends. This is seen very easy and accessible for the user to interact and like any type of style and concept.

Buying into trends, can be a problem as trends become out of style and no longer the look of the season. Most of the time the trends you see on Instagram are not timeless, the sense of style is can be, over the top, which creates a different stigma of what looks good to us. The pros of buying into certain trends, can offer you how to achieve a certain look without it being really expensive, that can be cost-effective. Following trends can be expensive or cost-effective depending on what trend you are going for.

People will tend to regret following trends because the user may get bored and no longer interested in that trend. I believe when it comes to interior design trends, you can be influenced to a certain level, which you can buy more into seasonal accessories for your home, to refresh/revamp on a particular trend to add to your existing interior space. Rather than changing the whole space due following a trend and trying to achieve the exact look."

"Social media, especially platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, is a great way to find inspiration for your home - we encourage our clients at Spoak to use it to help them identify their likes and dislikes.

But, like everything on these platforms, trends move fast! So, I'd always suggest incorporating trends into your decor through small accessories, such as textiles (cushions, throws, rugs), artwork and surface decor. They're much easier to switch out than larger furniture pieces or wall colours, so you can keep your place up to date on the cheap!"

How to avoid the #DecorRegrets

Tip 1

Be certain of your style before you take the leap. If you find yourself wanting to copy the look of your favourite Instagram home account, test it first! Instead of going all-in with a tin of dark paint or bold wallpaper, use a tester pot or sample to trial the look over the course of a week. This way, you’ll be able to see your decor choices at different times of the day, under different lights. Samples are always a great way to confirm that the look you seen in your favorite influencers home, will definitely work in your home too.

Tip 2

It’s easy to fall in love with trends but trends do come and go! Yes, some trends do outlast others. Often they come round again and again, but if you’re basing your room transformation on a trend you may find it loses its appeal, fast. One way to avoid falling into this trap is to test ways to introduce a trend into your space first - just to ensure you will love it. If it’s a tropical print wallpaper you’re thinking of, then get some indoor plants and try to adapt to the theme before going full force into a room overhaul.

Tip 3

If you are planning a big decorating project, make sure you shop around. Typically, the more influential Instagram accounts will have items gifted by bigger brands, so look to accounts with consistent style you can trust. With the pace that we’re seeing decor trends enter the market, you don’t have to look far to find cost-effective ways to get the look you want. Searching for secondhand furniture that you can upcycle or unwanted ornaments on eBay or charity shops can be a sustainable way to compliment a new look. You could even use a sample of wallpaper you love to update and create bespoke furnishings - a cheaper way to keep up with fast paced trends.

Tip 4

Use Instagram to your advantage! If you have spotted a trend that you want in your home, take the time to search the hashtags and see if you can spot similar home styles to yours. With thousands of interior design hashtags that covers pretty much every trend you can think of, chances are you will get a more realistic idea of what your home will look like if you piece together images and take inspiration from a few different home accounts rather than just one.