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Boring and sad design: the new normal

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Brittany arranges pillows on a green velvet sofa in a light-filled room Details of my New Kitchen
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  • Vicki B Stewart says

    First you should know, I am addicted to HGTV! I have been watching for over 25 years. I love Magnolia and Joanna and Chip! I also watch many other shows there. They all inspire me or I find them very enjoyable. I love to decorate my home the way my family and friends feel comfortable! My husband and I are giving our 20 year old home a redo this year. As much as I love HGTV, I have to say we have never ever had a gray or beige wall. No fiddle leaf trees,
    no subway tile, no farm house shiplap. I do love the farm house look, but we are more cottage comfortable. We never paint any of our beautiful wood trim or our cabinets. Our rooms are full of colors, on the walls, our new furniture, and we love it! We have learned a lot of things from HGTV over the years. It has helped inspire us, but we never wanted to follow the trends. I just like to watch them!

  • Natalie says

    I’ve definitely fallen victim to the home decor trends traps before for those reasons you list (the resale!!! And also just feeling insecure about how to know and choose what *I* like). But 2 years ago I made my first design choice that was fully my own (painting a room in our basement dark green) and it’s my favorite space in the house because of it. I love the color and I love that it feels like *my* space. Not one I felt pressured to make look a certain way to please others.

    Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this!

  • Erin says

    I agree with all of this and also think other things are at play. I am a huge fan of Anthro, estate sales, local art, etc., and I think my home reflects this eclectic side (with my Alabaster white walls ha), but I get the appeal of boring and sad because in the post-covid world on fire, white and beige seems like the calm one might need in order to shut out the noise and not think about one more thing. It all seems so heavy and maybe that’s what some people are choosing because it’s easy and one less thing to add to the overwhelm. But that’s not everyone, just some obviously, because this aesthetic was making its rounds before 2020. Maybe people need help tapping into their joy again before they can express themselves in color and maximalism. Maybe it’s just me.

  • Elizabeth says

    You should find the episode where they redo a house for her sister. It is very funky and fun. Honestly I love it. Plus I think their homes made sense in the part of texas live. But honestly I think people do it because it’s so easy to match. If you buy a neutral you know it will go. I think people are a lot more obsessed with redoing their spaces every few years and making everything instantly Instagram perfect. Mixing and matching colors, styles and patterns takes time and trial and error. It’sa true process and I think it’s hard for people to have their house in transition when everyone else *looks* perfect

  • Judy says

    Any suggestions on putting that first nail in plastered walls. I’ve wanted to hang things, but family kinda put that fear that the walls will just crumble. But my heart just wants to make this place feel like home. We’ll be here for five years this summer and since 2020, more than ever I have the itch to make this place mine. Change the gray walls, change the front door color. I absolutely love our old home, it just doesn’t feel like it’s there… of course, budget plays a big role and I know paint is the least inexpensive thing to do.

  • Lindsey says

    I’ve definitely fallen for this historically but this year I’m trying to do things differently. I’m currently renovating my kids room and they want the room to be “rainbow” so we are going for it, but it’s actually been hard to find fun and colorful wall papers that I like because almost every website is blush and beige. Jaspers room has been a great inspiration 🙂

  • Karrie says

    I couldn’t agree more!! I am an Interior Designer and try my best to help people find their own style. If you copy everyone else your house may look beautiful but it will be boring. It will never feel like YOUR home. My job as a designer is to give you a nudge to make a bolder choice because YOU LOVE IT!! You live in your home now, enjoy it. Don’t think about resale unless you really plan to sell. When clients make a bold choice despite being a little nervous about not choosing the neutral, inevitably it ends up being their favorite place in the home. Color and pattern are fun and happy. They bring joy and make a place your own.

  • Emma says

    While I’m sure Magnolia has absolutely influenced people liking modern farmhouse style overall, I will give credit where it’s due to Jo. Especially in her most recent designs there are layers, there is warmth, there is character (via $$$ and master carpentry). The same goes for other HGTV stars like Erin Napier.

    Like you said, I think what you (and me and everyone else) are reacting to stems from amateur designers (I don’t mean that derogatorily, just factually) trying to duplicate designs on a budget (and often in renter-friendly ways). I do think people are genuinely trying, they’re just not all designers. And sooo many people have that look come pre-installed in their house or rental because of the massive house flipping industry where cheap, quick, and marketable is the name of the game. (I’d place most of the blame for cookie-cutter furnishings there over HGTV.) So if you’re starting from that point, I guess that’s where you’re going to stay unless you can or want to invest more money to bring back some character to the bones of your space.

    It’s expensive and/or time consuming to buy more unique and colorful items for your home, and even when it’s not, it is difficult to do well (It sucks when your expectations don’t meet reality. There’s a reason people still hire interior designers even with everything at our fingertips these days!). I guess what I’m saying is we have to look at the privilege that goes into being able to design an “intentional” over “default” home. (I’m using the universal we there – including myself.)

    As a design-focused person myself, it’s absolutely true that my visual environment has an impact on my well-being. But I also know people for whom that is just not true at all. They aren’t as affected by the design of their home and just want a clean, functional space. Honestly, sometimes I wish I was more like that – I’d save a lot of money! 🙂

  • Kristen says

    It’s such a wrestle when spending real $$ on renovations, furniture, etc. And that resale value pressure is real! But I am finding that when I lean into my gut instinct (which leans towards pattern, color, etc.), I rarely regret it. I don’t know why I still hesitate…

    Most recently, after trying a dozen different neutral paints, I painted our backyard shed a bold, sunny yellow (Farrow & Ball’s Babouche). Going into it, I was overly worried about what the neighbors would think. Now that it’s done, I’ve only had positive feedback from everyone. It’s so cheery!

  • Catarina says

    Oh! I thought everybody in England had these colorful homes with lots of patterns, a little bit dissapointed now hehe. In Sweden where I live, it seems like 50 % of the population loves the ”colour” greige. It’s not a colour!! Greige, grey, beige, paired with beige fluffy carpets, beige wooden furniture and white or black lamps. It’s actually a bit depressing. Ps, love your house 😊..

  • Hazel Avery says

    Wow. I love the look of your white and blue two-tone cabinets. I need to get this in my kitchen. A fresh cabinet painting is up next on my to-do list. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sam says

    Your thought-provoking words resonate deeply, especially in the context of home design and décor. It’s true that the prevalence of certain trends and formulas in the industry often overshadows the individuality and heart we should infuse into our living spaces.

    Much like choosing the perfect duvet cover, which should reflect our personal style and comfort preferences, decorating our homes should be an intentional and fulfilling process. Your insight about design empowerment and the difference between a house and a home is spot on – our surroundings can profoundly affect our well-being.

    Just as we carefully select duvet covers that envelop us in warmth and comfort, we should curate our living spaces to elicit happiness and a sense of belonging. Trends have their place, but your reminder that there are other sources of inspiration beyond what we see on TV is refreshing and encouraging.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I look forward to exploring these topics further in your upcoming blog posts. Your perspective adds depth and authenticity to the world of home design, much like choosing a duvet cover that suits one’s heart and style.

  • Diane says

    This article made my day. I am not a fan of bland. I love the way technology has created a global explosion where we can explore rich, beautiful color and design across the globe. And then try to mimic that world in our own house. 😁