THOUGHTS. about DECORATING.

  • Mar. 7th, 2010 at 1:29 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
I've been having a lot of THOUGHTS about DECORATING.

Not just like, where should I put my lamp, whatever. I mean PHILOSOPHICAL thoughts.

I really like two current styles of decorating: shabby chic and mid-century modern. I'd say my personal style is somewhere between the two, a mix of clean lines/bold colors and faded cottage homeyness.

But I have problems with the way that both of these styles are implemented

I look at some of the stuff on sweethomestyle or Etsy's decor finds and I feel kind of weird. Take today's Etsy decor find, "Retro Renovation." Etsy describes the couple's house as follows:

Their 1940s Tudor home contains a perfect mix of thrift and handmade collected during the couple's trips to early morning estate sales and weekend rummaging through thrift shops and flea markets.


However, if you click through to the flickr set for the house, you'll find that this isn't always the case. Take this photo, of their colorful kitchen. The mugs are thrifted. But the artwork on the wall is from Urban Outfitters. And the measuring spoons are from Anthropologie.

Now, how much do you think measuring spoons cost at Anthropologie? I don't know how much those particular ones cost, but they're currently selling a couple of sets for $24 each, and one for $18.

How much do you think a similar-looking set of colored measuring spoons would go for at a rummage sale or thrift store? Two dollars? Three?

I have nothing against this couple or their house, which is lovely. And I covet many things at Anthropologie myself, especially the dresses (*drool*). But I really hate the idea that in order to get a "vintage," "retro" style, you have to buy 24-dollar measuring spoons. Or that in order to get the "shabby chic" bedding look, you have to spend more than a hundred dollars at Target for designer sheets and duvet covers.

It's like the jeans thing. How you can spend a zillion dollars just to get jeans which are pre-distressed. They've been carefully destroyed for you, so you can get the look of having worn your jeans for a long time. As opposed to... wearing your jeans for a long time.

Here's a perfect example.

Speaking of which: I remember how much I used to love Victoria's apartment. I still do! But I love it a little bit less than I used to, because there was that moment when she went from flea-market tables and chairs to Saarinen tulip chairs, and it made me sad. I feel like the space lost some originality and charm when she went from unique furniture to the same furniture every MCM-buff covets.

And some of the stuff on the design websites looks kind of generic and... sterile. Like, modern is nice, but I'd like to see some personality, some indication that actual people live there. Not just the same Orla Kiely prints, Urban Outfitters artwork, and Keep Calm and Carry On poster in every other house. Instead of buying mass-produced "art" from UO, why not support an actual artist on Etsy?

My brain gets kind of broken by this stuff because I see beautiful rooms and I go "WANT," and then I realize how much that stuff costs and I go "WHAT," and then I get kind of frazzled by feeling like I want to live inside a photo all the time, instead of an actual house, and I have no money so my apartment will never look like something on Apartment Therapy. And however much it might look nice to have a shiny new sofa from Room & Board, or that dresser I always want from Ikea, some of my favorite pieces of furniture were found on Craigslist or at rummage sales. I don't know, I guess what I'm saying is I get caught up in the MUST HAVE EXPENSIVE PRETTY THINGS as much as anyone, but I really hate it, that in order to make your house look like somewhere poor people might have lived a few decades ago (depression glass, "rustic" farmhouse furniture, etc) you have to spend a bunch of dollars. I realize there's nostalgia for the handmade, non-factory-cookie-cutter stuff of yore, but I have to wonder if the same stuff we think is cheap-looking and tacky now will be trendy and "vintage" in twenty years. (Did you know you can buy New Kids on the Block sweaters for 78 dollars on Etsy? Trufax)

anyway, I don't know what my point is. If I have one, it's probably that I am determined to make my apartment pretty without bankrupting myself and without buying into the "YOU MUST HAVE THIS" messages that Urban Outfitters, etc., want to shove into my brain.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Somehow when I look at too many of pictures of "pretty" I just kinda want to smash things and get some ugly up in there. Maybe I'm the only one.

ETA: I got an e-mail from the owner of the house posted on the Etsy finds page. I just want to make it clear that I think their house is awesome and I do not mean any offense to them.

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