1. Some people are afraid of color – Oh no! Oh no! Don’t let those scary colors in here!
2. Warm earth tones – formerly known as neutrals. Currently popular in kitchens and bathrooms. These designers should get together with the people-are-afraid-of-color designers.
3. Some people are afraid to paint brick. – No, some people are smart enough to realize that brick is a beautiful, durable material that does not need painting and that if you paint brick you are giving up a major advantage of having brick.
4. Go outside your comfort zone – There’s a reason why it’s called a “comfort zone”. It’s what we are comfortable with. We want to feel comfortable in our homes. If you mean that some people are reluctant to try new things just say that.
5. Utilize – Have you ever noticed that people on HGTV never simply use anything? They utilize spaces, utilize color, utilize plants, utilize materials. Everything is utilized. I’m sure that “utilize” is a perfectly good word in its proper place (wherever that is) but it’s silly to utilize things when you can simply use them.
6. Glam – While some designers never pass up the chance to use three syllables when they could use one, others can’t even seem to manage two. Please don’t give me any glam. That’s the ugliest word since the word “blog”.
7. We don’t want everything to look too matchy-matchy – Oh for crying out loud… talk like an adult, why don’t you! Since when did they start having 3-year-olds host design shows?
8. “These are not the colors we agreed on.” – “This accessory doesn’t go with our design.” etc. – I remember one designer on Curb Appeal who was literally almost in tears when he found out the homeowners had decided to paint their house a different color from the one he had tried to talk them into. Some designers get way too possessive of other people’s houses.
9. Water feature – If it’s a fountain, call it a fountain; if it’s a waterfall, call it a waterfall. The term “water feature” is only excusable if, in the early stages of the design process, you know you want something with water but haven’t decided exactly what. Once you have decided, call it what it is. A couple of times I’ve even heard “fire feature”. Fortunately that one hasn’t caught on yet.
10. Green when it’s used to mean “Earth friendly” or “environmentally responsible” – I’m extremely tired of hearing this everywhere, not just on HGTV. I have no problem with people wanting to be environmentally responsible, within reason, but green is a color, the color you get when you mix yellow and blue, to be specific, the color of grass and leaves in summer but, strangely, most “green” products come in “warm earth tones”. If the bamboo floor or the countertop made of old toilets or the new lightbulbs are not literally green don’t call them green.
Dishonorable mention: Pop – as in, “These colors really pop.” For a long time this one didn’t bother me at all but like most buzzwords it gets annoying after you’ve heard it 5,000 times.