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Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's In, What's Out, What's Hot, and What's Not

After lunch today, I logged into my email and saw three comments for my blog. I’m always pleased to get comments, since I seem to have a lot of visitors but few comments. But when I read the comments, I’ll admit I was a little piqued, and I deleted the email notices. Then I started prepping the bedroom so Hubby could paint the ceiling and I thought about those comments and why they touched a sore spot with me. So I decided to make a few comments myself.

So if you will bear with me, I’d like to say a few things about decorating and style.

Even though I’m not a decorator, I have had an interest in it since I was young, and have taken a few courses – not enough to learn a lot, just enough to make me dangerous, as the saying goes. It is my opinion that we are free to choose from a huge spectrum of colors and a multitude of furniture and design styles, not just from the dozen or so of each that are popular in any given year. What makes a color or style popular for only a few years? Boredom? Money? And who decides what is popular? Public opinion, or a small group with a large audience?

I used to visit a website where individuals could ask a question of a group of unnamed designers, and submit a picture of their problem room. I quit reading it after awhile because of the contradictory answers. What was said to be 'dated' in one room was said to be 'eclectic' or 'fresh' in the next one. I’ve seen the same in magazines, on decorating shows, and on discussion boards and I have come to the conclusion that it’s all ok. Really, it is. You have my permission to decorate with the colors you like and the styles you like whether they are in a magazine or not. Now, isn’t that liberating?

Wait. Don’t leave, I’m not done.

Anonymous said my bedroom furniture is dated and that I should get rid of it, and Devine Design by Mel said almost the same thing. Why? I like it. It’s well-made with solid wood, unlike most new furniture I’ve seen lately which seems to be made of MDF and resin. Then, there is that word “dated.” I’ve truly come to despise that word. Yes, it’s true, my furniture is not new. In fact, it was built around 1975, which was a very good year, for me at least. Of all the furniture we bought when we married, these were the only quality pieces, and they have stood the test of time. A few nicks here and there, but still solid even after moving from house to house fourteen times. If either of them had read any of my blog, they would know that I don’t get rid of perfectly good furniture. I don't think of my furniture as "dated" but as "future retro".

Are there any styles that are truly new and innovative today? A few hot items come to mind. The ghost chair is similar to acrylic chairs in 1960’s, but of course a lot more expensive. Modern furniture looks like stuff made in the 1950’s. Wide wood blinds look suspiciously like Venetian blinds. Shag carpet is so 1970’s. Oh wait, it’s back in, along with chaise lounges, bun feet, and curtains hung high over the window, and walls painted beige. Design is ever changing and ever revolving.

Mel didn’t like my kitchen either, and basically said I should have gutted it and started over. She also said I chose dated (there’s that word again) colors for the backsplash and counter. If she had read instead of just looking at pictures, she would see that it was done fourteen years ago when those colors were popular, or at least popular enough to find those materials. I have considered refinishing the cabinets in a slightly darker color, but they are solid, custom made cabinets and I don’t see any reason to throw them away. Don’t like the gray? I find it pleasant and soothing, and it makes me happy when I am in there. Isn’t that what design is all about?

A lot of what I like and don’t like comes from my childhood and past experiences. I grew up in the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s. My family, while not poor, struggled financially more than other families I knew. Our kitchen table and chairs were light Danish, living room furniture was brown Early American, and my bedroom furniture was a hodge podge of mismatched pieces. There was a modern upholstered chair in the living room that trickled sawdust every time someone sat on it, and there was a big, gold, sunburst clock above the floor furnace. The walls were a light taupe with green drapes hung just a few inches beneath the ceiling. All these things, with the exception of Early American maple, are popular again today, but I doubt I'll ever put any of it in my home. It looks old and smacks of hard times to me, because of that time in my life. Plastic furniture, modular furniture, and bright colors also seem old, but fun too, because I had that when I left home and created my own space for the first time. But it isn’t something I want now because it seems to belong to the young, or the age I was then, when I loved it.

Because of the furniture I grew up with, mismatched furniture gives me the feeling of disorganization and hardship. I think matching everything in a room would be monotonous, but I like having a core of matching pieces with minor accents scattered about. It gives me a feeling of harmony and respite. That’s not to say I hate eclectic rooms, or even modern. I like seeing them, I just couldn’t live with them. My home is a reflection of me, and my style is simple, where form follows function, and the function of my home is comfortable living.

I’ll step off my soapbox now. Thanks for listening. Don’t be a lemming; decorate with the colors and styles that make you happy.

Until next time, may you have blessings and joy in your home,

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Your comments make my day, and I look forward to visiting your blog too so please put your link in the slot. I can't comment on Google Plus or Discus though.