First thing I saw when I woke up this morning was a link from a reader: “HGTV is making our homes boring and us sad” and I gave a big fat HALLELUJA and an enthusiastic AMEN! To be honest, I’m wondering why there haven’t been more articles or reaction to it (and if there have been, send them my way!). Are we not all thinking it? Or have they done their job in convincing us that white, grey, stainless, farmhouse is the only way to live?
Yes, these are trends and have, like they have in the past, shifted slowly but surely into a never ending hamster wheel of keeping up with the Joneses, or perhaps more accurately phrased “does it have resale value?”. But that’s just it–they are trends, intended to “inspire”, sell, gain viewers/audience, please advertisers, move faster, be more efficient. It’s a business model and it works! As the homogenization of design continues to unfold before our eyes due to social media and large tv networks, it might be helpful to know HOW and WHY this is happening.
First off, HGTV and other home networks are trying to appeal to the masses–it’s the biggest audience. Bigger ratings + bigger ad money = more $$$$. Once they find a show that people respond to, they run with it ex: Magnolia. I will admit that I don’t watch HGTV so I didn’t see the dawning of the Magnolia era coming, but it’s hard to escape now that every new neighborhood is a direct result from it ie: board and batten, raw wood beams, fiddle leaf tree, black windows…the modern farmouse (coincidentally, this article about modern farmhouse just came out this weekend too). It’s Chip and Joanna’s world and we are all living in it. It would be risky to bring on a new show showing more diversity in style (and people) because they want to ride that wave.
The thing is–I know that a lot of those makeovers were really wonderful and whole heartedly welcomed. From my knowledge, the homes were a real 90s teen comedy makeover–stunning, especially when compared with before but always needed? I bet the homeowners felt like a million bucks–I know I would have! And homeowners were watching and learning the tricks and resources to improve their homes too–all empowering to people (like me) without the budgets to hire contractors and designers.
But when years go by and the same look is applied over and over and that’s the only style you find in stores and in your town…things get tricky. Realtors, homeowners, design “experts” start repeating the language that they think is most valuable–will it resell? Will the next owners want it?
So then you start designing for the home you will one day sell, for the homeowners who will one day want this place. And then you live in a house that is never yours. It’s bland, personality-less, and worst of all…GREY!!! Dum, dum DUM!
And now my question is–is grey the color of your heart? Is that what makes you happy? Is that what you want to be surrounded by. Grey can certainly be done well, as can beige, grey’s partner in crime. But the point is–is it default or intentional?
True design empowerment comes when we, as viewers, consumers, and real life home owners, and well, humans, realize that these home design networks are a business model and aren’t necessarily trying to get us to decorate from the heart (there are, of course, exceptions). How do you sell heart?! It’s not as profitable as a tried and true formula of white paint + shiplap + sans serif house numbers in your shopping basket. It takes more time, experimentation and expertise–I get that it’s a harder sell. It’s a safe bet that those combo of things will look absolutely fine and tasteful.
Ok, this is a lot of set up for my point–and I have a few of them that I’ll spend more time on in subsequent blog posts because I love diving into all this.
- There’s a difference between real estate and making your house a home that you want to spend time in
- If your house looks like it could be anyone else’s, what does it mean?
- When you design for your happiness, you live better. Your environment has a huge impact on your well-being
- If trends make your heart happy, go for it!
- There are other places to get inspiration that TV networks
Ok! That’s it for now. I’m really enjoying your thoughts over on Instagram stories and Thread right now (because apparently I do that now as well :/. I’d love to hear your comments below!