|Note to self: this is very cluttered.|
Let's face it, some design ideas are not suited for big families who don't so much dwell as wallow, sort of wreaking havoc on everything they come into contact with. For those of us who fantasize about a home that can be hosed down -- you know, with drains in the middle of the floors, I mean who hasn't thought that would be a great idea -- we need our own clever ideas in decorating.
Somehow I think that interior decorating advice for people who have monkeys jumping on the beds should perhaps be a wee bit different from that given to folks who check in at home every once in a while to see how the maids are getting on.
We all know that it's probably not a good idea for us to have lampshades made of rice paper delicately folded by practitioners of a lost art or an antique bottle collection on the coffee table.
I think that maybe there are some fairly popular ideas that you might be tricked into thinking will work for you.
They wouldn't work for me, and I just want to share with you why. Now, don't start hyperventilating if you have already adopted one of these
I'm just saying.
So, without further eloquence, I present design ideas I can live without because of my delicately balanced sanity or my rambunctious family or both:
1. Dark colors on the walls.
Now, I know that some of you live in Florida or California or somewhere with tons of sunlight and you truly feel that the drama created by a dark wall or two is so worth it.
But you may not fully realize that in design magazines, not only has a professional lighting consultant and crew installed custom lighting in that room with the "
Since my electrical system was retrofitted to my pre-Edisonian-age house by someone's brother-in-law, and is slowly being rehabilitated by the Chief who truly does a great job not electrocuting himself and keeping us all safe, and furthermore any lamps I have come by the grace of the yard-saling gods (with the exception of the den lamps, bought from Marshall's through gritted teeth and slowly unclamping stiff fists), I'll stick with light colors on the walls, thanks.
2. Attaching things to the walls with glue or tape.
I've only lived in a new house once for about 4 months. I guess the walls there were smooth. I can hardly remember, as I was running after two babies, nursing one baby, and gestating another, and dealing with the reality of living somewhere where it snowed every single day for three weeks.
All I know with any certainty is crumbly plaster and DIY drywall. I'd far rather have a little hole in the wall from a nail or tack than that torn away place with horsehair sticking pathetically out, left by a piece of tape or glue. A lot of ideas out there in blogland involve taping or gluing, but I feel that this would be cause for regret later, because who is going to fix that wall up?
Whereas a little hole could have been made in the last century, not your fault.
|Random articles that were handmade by a distant relative of my husband's. Thus, "family folk art" and worth dusting on occasion.|
3. Buying knickknacks on purpose to achieve a "look."
It's worthwhile to take care of stuff that means something to you, but what is the point of creating dust opportunities when the stuff is random? Things aren't pretty if they are not clean. And I just don't know how motivated we will be to clean random stuff. We all collect stuff and I personally need to go through my house and purge. I have a semi-defunct boom box, large, featured right at this moment as a permanent fixture in the front hall. It's been there so long it looks intentional, like some kind of installation cooked up by a sick modernist artist making a commentary on ephemeral nature of audio technology. Only...it's dusty.
How am I supposed to take care of trinkets strewn around if I can't even deal with the stuff we use(d)?
4. Distressing furniture and surfaces on purpose.
I really feel that this is misguided.
|Note completely naturally distressed molding.|
Is not life, as well as the furniture, getting more and more distressed with every passing minute? Do we really need expend energy and resources to hasten or mimic this process?
I understand the theory... If I distress it at the outset then what can go wrong later?
You can't fool entropy, though.
I say, either leave it as you found it or rest your eyes by making it smooth and even. It will get distressed soon enough.
My mother brought a book home from the library that featured about 12 projects using flea-market furniture and applying different finishes to each one. In each and every case I thought the item should have been left alone or else just spray painted black or white. It was all the distressing that left me shaking my head.
|This cushion I made out of a silk |
5. Textured wallpaper, plaster, and grasscloth; and porous tile.
Just don't do it. Each and every little nook, cranny, bump, and pore is going to collect dust or, in the case of the bathroom, worse.
The wise mother of many chooses her surfaces based on their scrub-ability and wipe-ability. There are a host of pretty things with which to cover the walls and ceilings without laying a land mine in the future of your time management.
|Would a drain in the middle of this room help?|
6. Buying matching appliances when you already have functioning ones.
This is more of a frugality issue than a decorating one, because who doesn't love matching appliances, but you can tank your budget by thinking you can't live without certain things.
|A chair ripped up by cats we never even knew. Now, there's decorating advice: a throw will hide any unseemly marks on chairs rescued out of garages!|
Every magazine has a "before" and "after" spread on a kitchen in which the older white or black appliances have been swapped out for stainless steel. (I'm assuming we're beyond avocado and harvest gold, but if not, you should hang in there for the vintage look).
And yes, it looks amazing. But don't come complaining to me about how hard it is to live on one income if you're going to be doing such things.
Having very few cabinets in my kitchen, I was quite aware of the impact of my appliances on the decor -- they take up so much of what your eye sees.
But I waited for every darned one to need to be replaced before I replaced it. And I found that black and stainless steel go together just fine. They don't have to match. I don't think you even notice that they are different.
I'm not saying you can't pray for those ugly appliances to die. The Lord's will be done.
But most of us can't afford to kick them out the door before their time. That's okay. I affirm you.
7. Making surfaces look like other surfaces.
Why? Formica is a fine countertop substance. It comes in some swell colors, although I admit that I'm not sure what the thinking was behind white, the color of my very own particular Formica, not chosen by me.
Embrace the Formica.
If you get "wood" or "granite" it just looks like you couldn't afford wood or granite. If you get aqua or orange or "light tea stain" so that light tea stains don't show up, no one really notices. The important thing is to keep your counter tops scrubbed clean at all times.
8. Back to paint: using light colors that have a lot of gray or blue in them.
I know that I often make the mistake of thinking everyone lives in the bleak northeast. Some people, though, make the mistake of thinking that everyone lives where the tropical sun is beating down on them 24/7.
A word to the wise: those of us battling SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and CSAD (changing seasons affective disorder) and HD (hormonal disorder) and ALOKD (a lot of kids disorder) need very little gray in our lives.
|Now there is a wall that needs to be painted. It's not the right color at all. But you won't find me matching the paint color to that cold marble!|
Grayed whites look lovely in immaculate spreads in Architectural Digest. "Cloudy skies" is a great color for the summer house you never visit because you're always jetting to Monaco. But for the rest of us, I have one word: YELLOW.
Seriously, did you ever wonder why there are so many white paint chips? It's because white can come with so many undertones. If you choose a white with warm (yellow) undertones, you will be happy. If you choose one with cool undertones (gray or blue) you will be depressed and, well, cold. Now, if you live in Phoenix, maybe that's what you're after. God bless you. Where I am, those blue undertones are going to be the end of me.
Remember, no comments about how your grasscloth counter tops work fine and you don't know what my problem is. My problem is that I have no energy left over for these bright decorating ideas. If you do, then you're a better man than I, and this I humbly acknowledge.