We are a fad-addicted society. If we’re not buying Cabbage Patch Dolls, pet rocks, smaller and smaller phones, or larger ones, we’re obsessing about our homes: are they Traditional style? or Provincial French? Shabby Chic? Modern? Retro? Coastal-themed? Urban? How about Eclectic? While this last category seems it should take the pressure off of following a particular color scheme or using specific accent pillows, there are sure to be rules and regulations on Messy, Unstructured, and Informal as well.
If we do not take care, we find ourselves uncomfortable living in our own homes, because they’ll never look like the homes that other people — in blogs, magazines, and television shows — tell us that we should have.
Many of those homes are, indeed beautiful; others look cold, stark, and uninviting — it’s difficult to see the appeal of living in what looks like a corporate board room — but that’s personal opinion.
And that’s the point:
What our homes look like has more to do with who we are and what we like, rather than what is sold to us as fashionable, in vogue, current, and trendy, because once we fall into following movements, we might find ourselves with a kitchen full of avocado green appliances, adjoining a living room of brown plaid sofas and orange shag rugs, these latter climbing halfway up the brown-paneled walls. (Having lived through the 1970s once, is it ever necessary to go back there?)
We go from beige walls to blue ones, then onto lavender, back to beige, then sage, followed by grey, sometimes without asking ourselves, “Do I even LIKE sage?”
On one home interior forum I visit, I am amazed by the lack of confidence shown by people renovating their living space. Their willingness to follow any and all advice results, predictably, in their inability to make any decision at all.
“Should I change that lamp? Is it too big?
“How about the vase? Is it the right color?
“And are those dining room chairs right for the room?”
I want to ask, “Does the lamp bother you? Do you like the vase? Are the chairs comfortable? Are you trying to make the space you live in pleasurable, or are you recreating a Martha Stewart photo shoot?”
While it’s true that some people’s sense of design is as limited as others’ ability to cook, and the advice of a designer with an eye for light, space, feeling, and sensitivity to his or her client’s taste definitely vitalizes a room, the final decision really rests with the person who is living in the space: what they can afford, what they like, how much work they want to invest to keep The Look in the midst of people sitting, standing, reading, eating, resting, and being there.
Our homes are, or should be, a haven — a place where we relax and are ourselves, away from the controlling public eye of the office cubicle, classroom, doctor’s office, church pew, and grocery store line. There’s nothing wrong with filling our personal space with items of meaning and significance, whether or not those items match or coalesce with the sofa, and if something makes us smile every time we pass by it, then it’s the right accent, in the right place.
If home is where our heart is, then we should allow our minds, spirits, opinions, likes, preferences, and individuality to live there as well.
If you like representational art — landscapes, coastal, and figurative work that transport you to another place — then please consider the artwork of Steve Henderson. He sells his oil and watercolor paintings as a originals, as well licensed prints you can find in various online and retail stores:
A shorter, complementing article to this one is The Ultimate Home Decorating Advice