Home décor is very much a matter of personal taste. It is all too easy to feel high and mighty and to accuse others of having no taste at all, personal or otherwise, but who decides what’s hot and what’s not? I recall the occasion on which I entered a friend’s newly decorated living room and struggled to find an appropriate comment to make about her “interesting” colour choice for the walls. I found the expanse of raspberry overbearing but she clearly loved it.
The current trend for neutral tones, clean lines and little ornamentation certainly raises a major issue in my opinion. I may not be a fan of raspberry but I do fear that the neutrality of everything does depersonalise homes too much. There is a danger that most rooms are going to end up being almost interchangeable. People are deferring to the consensus leaving most of our interiors lacking the character and individuality that a home surely needs. It all rather smacks of apocryphal works such as Brave New World and the musical We Will Rock You. In both stories the citizens of the future must all conform to certain looks and behaviour which have been decided for them.
The Need to Conform
In a way I have always felt that the world works like this anyway. We don’t have lords and masters who tell us what to wear or how to decorate our homes but we do have fashions and most of us feel the need to follow these to at least some extent. Even if you are rebellious by nature and refuse to conform you will be limited in your choices by the style gurus anyway as you just won’t be able to buy much that doesn’t fit with the current trends. If you decided, for instance, to invest in a pink bathroom suite right now you would be out of luck because everything on offer is white.
Not that you would want a pink bathroom suite because that would be tasteless wouldn’t it? I am beginning to suspect that taste is not a definitive quality but rather an ephemeral notion that changes according to what happens to be in vogue at the time. Good taste could well be simply a tendency to conform rather than a natural ability. On the other hand it could just be that I have no taste and can’t accept this!
Whatever the truth about taste, I do always savour the things that are different, the eccentric and sometimes even the wacky. I don’t like raspberry walls but I would defend the right of my friend to have them right to the death. Your home should be an act of personal expression, a place that reflects you and your taste and not what someone else says you should like. Chic, shabby chic, period chic, minimalist or just plain messy, your home is for you. That is until you want to sell it because then you really need to conform. People can never see past anything, even the paint colour, so if you selling up go neutral and uncluttered. Hide your complete lack of taste in the loft until you move and then you can inflict your excesses on your new home!
Article by Sally Stacey