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Home Décor or Home Reality?

Country Living Magazine

Like many others, I’ve gotten hooked on binge watching shows. Lately, it’s home renovation on HGTV. Pretty much any home renovation show because while the hosts differ, the renovation is largely the same. For a while, the trend was light grey with industrial touches, exposed or repurposed pipe frames for shelves for example. Now everything’s white – tile, countertops, flooring – with accent colors so pale as to appear white.

I really enjoyed these shows until I moved into a grey house. It may have been stylish, but it got repainted in a hurry. Grey is not a pandemic-friendly color! You need a little life on your walls when you’re stuck at home. I went with light blue because while that color also goes with everything, it’s soothing. Think ocean breezes!

White (or “neutrals” or “muted tones”) has obvious disadvantages, but the latest trend in home décor didn’t bother me so much as the need to rip out walls. The automatic response to the need for an upgrade seems to be “open concept.” What never gets mentioned is that the minute you pull a permit, and pulling down walls requires a permit, your property taxes are about to get reviewed and raised! Is a sight line into that new white kitchen you still need to clean (and probably bleach) really worth it?!

The thought of that property tax hike helped me break away from home décor shows. But I was surprised to realize how dissatisfied they’d made me feel. I was seriously planning to revamp a bathroom and kitchen even though I cook maybe once a week, just enough to fix some frozen lunches for work. I can live with the countertop jigsawed together out of stone pieces instead of one slab. I only use the back bathroom when I have houseguests or to shelter my potted plants when it’s freezing. I don’t need to replace the ugly pink, oversized soaker tub. They have shower curtains for that!

The part I do recommend is where they put everyone’s belongings neatly on a shelf. Only not the cute arrangements of three rocks or pieces of driftwood or whatever. I’m as much a sucker for cute décor as the next woman, but knowing that, I limit my trips to Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Kirkland’s. Marie Kondo says only keep what brings you joy; I say remember the joy you feel when your closet’s empty and you can put away your clothes. Haul all that tchotchke to Goodwill!

The home décor shows I really enjoyed were the ones where they helped people clean out their clutter and discover their home underneath it all. But they need to bring them back without the focus on the unfortunate with serious psychological issues. Instead the focus should be on the homeowner who’s happily dancing in the driveway because she finally dumped her old Christmas tree and can now use the garage for the car, treadmill, and whatever else she actually wants. That’s good home décor!

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