Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Menagerie of Decorating Pet Peeves

After last week’s love-in, I decided something: I miss the little things. By which I mean, I miss getting ticked off about the little things. Like that ridiculous wave of silliness that smacks into people when they begin feathering their nests.

Hey, a little venom makes the world go ‘round. And a lot of it knocks it off its axis, spinning us into the nether regions of the galaxy. And we all know how we feel about nether regions. So, without any further ado/lifting of the interstellar petticoats, here are my Top Home Decor Pet Peeves:

Inspirational wall decals. Whether it’s a single word, like, “Family,” or a sentiment consisting of treacle-flavored barf, such as “Family is Really Nice and Stuff,” it just comes across as a clutter of unimaginative hokum. Inspirational wall decals are for people too cheap to collect Precious Moments figurines.

Accent Walls. It just looks like the decorator got bored and moved on to something else. It's trendy, it's not all that cool...kind of like naming your child Madison and then claiming you came up with it first.

The West Elm Catalog. Who doesn’t like to flip through the West Elm catalog and imagine themselves in a world of sterile Bohemia? Who doesn’t want funny-shaped headboards and decorative octopi? Until you start reading the testimonials, which come from sanctimonious twits like the Surfer Skier who enjoys parachuting, the poor, and his girlfriend. My vision of hell is spending all eternity at a dry, no-dance Baptist wedding with the West Elm Catalog People.

Sage Green. Overdone. Annoying. I can’t decide whether it’s the Harvest Gold or Avocado Green of our generation.

Lucite Furniture. No, decorators, it does NOT make a room look airier. It makes my knees look bruisier from all the times I bang into your goofy invisible furniture.

Overly Arty Book Arrangements. Why would I cover all of my books in matching paper? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of, say, deciding which of my books I'd like to read? The people who do this are also probably the same ones who have those $300 stand mixers that never get used.

Black Leather Furniture. Why is it that virtually every man, once he starts making a little money, runs right out and buys a black leather couch? Forget, "I'll call you," the black leather sofa is the ultimate mystery of the Y chromosome.

Decorative Antlers. Unless you shot it, killed it, ate it, stuffed it, and danced on its carcass, you don't need antlers over the loveseat.

In the comments, tell me what sort of decor makes you cringe. Also, the image above is from Dictator Style, which is seriously the funniest book in the whole entire universe. It even has Saddam Hussein's collection of disturbing topless sci-fi art!


J said...

I'm with you on these, except maybe the black leather thing. Everyone knows that when you dye leather black, it becomes more comfortable!

I think I just proved your point.

The one piece of furniture I really, really wish I had is this baby:

The Eames Classic. We had one when I was a kid, and in addition to the nostalgia factor, it's just an amazing chair. The genuine articles, though, are about $3000+, though knock-offs can be had for about half that. Still, that's a lot of money for a chair.

Personally, I find couches ridiculously overpriced in general. But I may yet fall prey to my own chromosomal goodness. Though not the one you linked to. Ick!

[F]oxymoron said...

OK, I cringe when...

people go for that manufactured sloppy look! (The decorating equivalent of buying pre-tattered-and-ripped-up-jeans).

Brando said...

I've got to say, despite being a man and having a little money, I would never use leather furniture--uncomfortable and squeaky! It just screams '80s Mobster, too.

As for inspirational wall art, I have a friend who has a bunch of that stuff on her wall--"Love", "Friends", "Joy", etc. I remember taking the one that said "Friends" and saying that since I'm stealing that she should put up a sign that reads "Irony".

J said...

[F]oxy: Ha. I went into an A&F once (once!) and saw they were selling hats advertised as "pre-soiled" for some ridiculous amount ($30?). Sheesh.

Dagny Taggart said...

Wicker. Especially white wicker. Especially indoors.

In addition to not being as comfortable or structurally sound as other types of furniture, it WILL snag your synthetics and knitwear and gleefully wreak havoc on your wardrobe. Gleefully!

Shannon said...

J - Eames chairs are actually kind of trendy right now - midcentury is big. Give it a few years and the prices will probably drop.

Foxy - No Shabby Chic for you!

Brando - I was going to put one up that says, "Words."

Dagny - Not a fan of wicker, myself. It's flimsy and sticks to everything. Plus, it makes me think of grandmas.

HP said...

Not the mention that the quality of West Elm is total crap. I am offended by how stupid West Elm thinks I am if they think I am going to buy that stuff. No.

Also annoying: Homes decorated entirely in Ikea (poor quality, unimaginative); thoughtless floor plans; and round throw rugs.

Beach Bum said...

I like accent walls if they are done right (definitely not right on the pic you linked to). Example? I LOVE blue, but painting my whole bedroom navy blue would be too much (my bedroom is tiny), so though I have a navy blue behind my bed, the rest of the place is a darker beige color, so I get my blue without feeling constricted.

The rest of what you wrote? Right on. And lucite furniture always looks like cheap plastic for me.

What I hate? Floral patterns, plaid couches, wall to wall carpet (which unfortunately I have in my place), all white furniture, popcorn ceilings, wood paneling...

Shannon said...

HP - I like Ikea precisely because it is semi-disposable. So it's appropriate for when you haven't really settled on a decor style yet.

Beach Bum - I bet the navy blue works as a headboard of sorts. I think one bright color and a bunch of white is too much contrast. It doesn't flow properly.

J said...

Ha, yeah. I have a few Ikea knicknacks (two endtables, a nightstand, and an uber-cheap coffee table still). It's so tempting to throw them out each time I move, but I usually decide against it since they're like 8 ounces each, and I almost always end up finding a use for them, even if not in the space it was originally intended for.

I had a red room once. I actually kinda liked it.

Liz Hurley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dana said...

As someone who lives six hours from the closest IKEA, I covet the stuff. At least I covet the bookcases. And on a news person's salary, I wish I had the money to buy West Elm so I could pick out better stuff for the money.

Completely with you on the black leather and the "inspirational" decoration. Also really, really hate shabby chic stuff. And pretty much anything with flowers is off the board for me, much to the chagrin of my mother.

Just A Girl said...

I would happily punch the person who put that decal up. Directly in the face, with no guilt. It made me vaguely ill.

Also - seriously West Elm? Look at this ad and tell me this isn't totally retarded.

J said...

Confession: I have a West Elm bed. But it was cheap and I like it quite a bit, actually:

I found this yesterday, and thought it was funny:

Basically, is it super-duper expensive stuff, or Wal-Mart? Hard to tell sometimes.

Shannon said...

J - Several of the items are even lower than Ikea, they're SECONDHAND IKEA.

Dana - Personally, I'd love to see a black leather couch festooned with flowers. So I could burn it. Gross.

JAG - Now I want an inspirational wall decal that says, "I would Like to Punch you in the Face." In swirly girly script.

J - I have nothing against Wal-Mart. Sure, they'll sell guns, but not Snoop Dogg records, and their greeters always seem vaguely desperate...but it's so CHEAP!

BH said...

For me, it's kitchens. I HATE the black granite, cherry cabinet, stainless steel look. I'm convinced in 20 years, people will rip that shit out like we all tore apart those seventies ochre kitchens in the late 90's. I can see all the drones in 1978, with their porn staches, bell bottomsm, and coke habits, standing in a hideous kitchen:

"This look is classic man, the linoleum, the electric stove top, the beaded glass drawer handles. It'll never go out of style"

Fast forward 25 years,
"Man, black granite and stainless steel are timeless. It'll never go out of style."

I've developed a secret crush on Walmart. The cheapness of the date makes up for the desperation of the experience.

HP said...

I have found that Craigs List is a really good place to buy furniture that I otherwise could not afford. For instance, several months ago I scored a beautiful Crate and Barrel coffee table at a fifth of the price I would normally pay. The trick is watch the list closely and act to act quickly when you see something you want. You get nicer things at a good price that last longer and you aren't encouraging planned obsolescence.

Shannon said...

BH - Me too! I despise that stainless steel/dark wood/industrial look. Kitchens should look warm and friendly, not like a Yugoslavian hospital.

HP - I probably should use CL, but I figure I can furnish my new place with one trip to Ikea and be done with it. I'm a sucker for convenience.

Tina said...

shannon - you have not LIVED until you see the sort of taxidermy we get treated to where I live. they don't just mount the antlers - not even just the head will do. No sirree - they have to mount the feet too - artfully positioned to serve as a gun rack for the rifle that killed the beastie now adorning the wall.

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