Signs of the Decorating Apocolypse
The end is near - or at least that's what I thought as I perused some of the most recent catalog and home store offerings this past week. I'm not talking about the Target sales flyer either. (It actually has some decent stuff lately.) I'm talking about all of those high-end stores where I have "Trade Accounts" and spent hundreds of dollars each year, making sure my clients have what they need to stay on-point in their decor. I'm appalled at some of the "art" and "home decor" products that are being pressed onto well-meaning DIY-er's walls and mantles. I'm going to try not to absolutely shred these places, but simply point out the error in their ways. Here goes:
Every few years there seems to be a movement in interior design that wants to make country seem chic. It's not chic. It's a style that peaked in the late '80's and very few, if any can still pull it off without looking dated. Some homes look shabby-chic and that's OK, although still dated. The new movement I"m talking about is the sudden rise in farm-animal portraiture and all things barn-wood. I've seen entire backsplashes done in that grey wood-look tile that's meant for flooring. If the kitchen is entirely modern in every other way, the tile looks kind of interesting and gives some movement, however if it's the finishing touch on exposed beams, chicken-wire baskets and this, then you've gone a few two-steps too far. You have officially jumped the shark. (Look it up).
I keep seeing this same type of art, along with goats, chickens and horses represented in various rainbow colours. It's not clever. It's not hip or new. It's already so dated that you probably didn't pay full price for it (thank goodness). If you absolutely crave a country feel to your home, incorporate some plaid pillows or some Pendleton blankets on your couch. A few pieces of distressed furniture can go a long way but keep the colours current like a light teal or mustard. Nothing barn-red please.
The next trend is Indian artifacts. Think Buddha in various poses of deep thought. This is totally fine if you've traveled to India extensively and have a lovely collection. This is fine if you're surrounding those artifacts with some Ikat prints and potted palms and dark wood furniture. It's great if you happen to be from India! What's not fine is some cheap, tacky Buddha doing the whole "See Not Hear Not Speak Not" pose historically reserved for monkeys carved out of balsa wood and sold in the Straw Market of Nassau. I don't know how we've transitioned in the past year from pretty paisley prints and intricately carved sideboards to this:
I'm appalled that this exists. Don't buy this.
I have nothing more to say on this subject. Except that if you do happen to be from India, living here in the USA and encounter this, I apologize.
Moving on to the next disturbing trend is modern "Glam". There is a higher-end store that happens to have the last letter of the alphabet in it's name and it has cornered the market on some of the tackiest home decor I've seen in decades. They are attempting to use the terms "Glam" and "Luxe" in order to move their merchandise into the hands of the unsuspecting nouveau-riche. I pray it doesn't work. On the other hand, if it does, I'll probably get a few clients out of the deal because in a short time, people will see the error in their ways and be scrambling to undo the triage. They are offering up metallic leather pillows, chromed furniture and lucite by the gross.
I'm all for using metallics as a neutral in your decor. It works beautifully every time and it doesn't ever clash or compete with any other colour (like a good neutral should do). I'm even on board with chrome legs on coffee tables and the newest versions of brass. What I cannot abide by is this:
I don't even get these. I've seen a lot of funky accessories in my day but this is beyond the pale, really. What do they even say about the person buying them? The thing on the right looks like you would find it in some roadside fortune teller's trailer. I'm not trying to destroy each and every store out there selling these things. They usually do better than this. My point is that if these are the offerings then what is the average person to do when it comes to choosing decor for their homes? I'll tell you what. Buy things that mean something to you or that you connect with. I've just spent about 15 hours searching for the perfect piece of art for a large wall in my breakfast nook. It doesn't look great bare, but it looks better than it would with this:
There is nothing inherently wrong with this artwork except it is trite and it has no meaning for me. I've never been to this village. Although I have a burning desire to find it and eat a local pastry from that shop, I still don't want the picture. The colours don't match my room, even if I looked at this and fell in love. I'm looking for something so specific that it will honestly probably take another 5-10 hours of searching for me to find it. I don't mind doing that because it's what I actually do for a living. It's what I do for my clients and it's what I can do for you too. In fact, I'd love to do it for you. If you're in the market for some new art and home accessories, I will be glad to spend inordinate amounts of time searching for you. No matter if you hire me or not though, please pinkie promise me that you will never, ever - even for a child's room, buy this:
That is all.