How’s that for a title? Are you curious now?
Today’s post might get me in trouble, but I’m going there anyway. I do have a few pet peeves when it comes to decorating and since I’ve been learning some of these things myself, it’s only fitting that I share them with you. Believe me, I sure don’t have it all figured out, but I know I’ve gotten better over the years, even just since I’ve been blogging. There’s so much inspiration out there, it’s hard not to hone the creativity.
So, today we’re going to talk about what NOT to do in decorating.
- Stay away from Themes: Now, this one is wide open to interpretation, but for the most part, themes are a no-no and can really date your space. Of course, we’ve all fallen for fads and themes, myself included (I have bunnies in my house), but I’m trying really hard to learn those lessons and not get caught up in theme-y decor.
One of the biggest themes of the decade of the 2000’s is Tuscan, as I touched on back in January in this post about the Decade of Design. Now, let me just say, I absolutely LOVE Italy. I spent some time there 20 years ago and have never gotten over it. But, Italy is time worn for a reason. It’s really, really old and the patina that is all over that country just can’t be duplicated very easily.
Like this, this is a classic building in Italy. Beautiful, time-worn, gorgeous patina. See what I mean?
It seems that in the early 2000’s that everyone was jumping on the European bandwagon, particularly the Tuscan look. Faux finishes and stucco walls were everywhere, along with the earthy colors of Italy. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, I love it all. In fact, I love homes that are built in the Mediterranean style, they are gorgeous when well thought out architecture is put into a new home and added with integrity.
But, when Tuscan gets mass-produced in China, this is what you get:
Yep, it’s all over the place. Sorry Kirklands, which is where I found almost all of these, don’t mean to knock them, but they aren’t the only culprits, you could duplicate this look at any number of retail establishments. And if you have this all over your house, I’m really not trying to step on your toes, just throwing some things out there to think about.
I beg you, my dear readers, don’t go there. 🙂
The reason I got onto this train of thought is this. I did a consultation recently here in the Birmingham area and the girl that I was helping had a TON of accessories. She just didn’t know what to do with them all. And she had really gone overboard with the Tuscan thing. I don’t think she would mind me mentioning this, since we talked about it at the time and she totally agreed that she was very tired of it all by now. And I know she had invested quite a bit of money into these pieces. So, I used some of what she had and we rearranged some walls and removed some things and moved some of her furniture around and I think she is on the right track now. She was really happy with it all when I left 4 hours later.
So, where am I going with this?
Well, for starters, I’d really like to encourage you when it comes time to buy things to hang on the wall, that you get out of the habit of mass-produced pieces and think about buying vintage or yardsale original art. I have very few things left that are mass produced on my walls (or in my house, for that matter) and my favorite items are those that cost me very little money, but they have a unique look since I found them while thrifting and I won’t see them in everyone else’s home.
Like this little original oil painting I found for $1 at a yardsale. I’ll tell you that these unique finds that you can scout out there are going to be so much more interesting in the long run than those mass-produced pieces of artworks. There’s just no comparison.
So, I hope this got you thinking about looking at your artwork in a different way. Get out there and see what you can find. I’m always excited when I spot some neat things when I’m out there and now I have a house full of original art.
(original oil picked up from an antiques store for $7)
It might not be priceless art, but it sure is to me and I’m finding that I love the original art much more than those framed pieces from retailers that I’ve picked up and eventually tire of.
In fact, I’ve gotten SO inspired recently that I’m planning a little overhaul in my living room. I’m getting a less formal rug than the needlepoint that is currently there, the tapestry is coming down and in its place will be a HUGE mirror (yet to be found) and on the other side of the room, I’ve done a gallery wall. I’ve already got lots of pieces to work with, but looking for more will be a lot of fun.
(Domino) LOVE this look! Stay tuned, I’ve finished my gallery wall and can’t wait to show you.
How do you like your art?
Are you an art snob and only hang the finest on your walls, or does mass produced rule (and maybe you’ve never even thought about it like this), or do you, like me like to scour the flea markets for one of a kind treasures?
Mass produced stuff is targeted toward people who don’t have a clue about decorating or design. There are people out there who just don’t have any taste and won’t try to be creative. I will search for months (even years) until I find the right piece for my home. I don’t buy prints only original oils. You don’t have to pay a fortune for them either. Another mistake people make…you go into someone’s house and say “wow, this is so Pottery Barn”. It should reflect you not a catalog or what the local “home decor” store says what’s in style. That junk will always be around as long as people are clueless. Keep informing! 🙂
I’d like to say that you have a well written post, however I don’t think giving your advice to others about what “not” to put on their walls is any of your business. (just like realtors telling you not to have personal photos on the walls) I myself have a lot of that “mass produced” Live, Laugh Love stuff all over my house, but I bought it because I liked it and it has a meaning to me besides the popularity of it. Just like you said in your post “It might not be priceless art, but it sure is to me….”, maybe we all bought our “mass produced” items because they are priceless to us! We all have our own tastes in decorating and yours just seems to be more on the vintage side, where as most of the rest of the population seems to like that “mass produced” stuff otherwise Pottery Barn and Ballard wouldn’t be in business!
I knew this post would gather a lot of comments & I was right. Most of you agree with me & a few of you don’t and that’s OK too. We all have a right to express opinions & that’s what blogging is all about.
My purpose for this post was not to just be controversial about a subject like this, but really to get you to thinking about what goes on your walls & why you like it. Just to think outside your normal comfort zone perhaps. I was not trying to step on toes, although I’m sure I did a little bit.
Pam Fitz, as far as a room getting too themey, I think we’ve all been there. Palm trees, animal prints, bird, bunnies, all of that can take over & become themey if we don’t watch out. It’s all about keeping it in perspective & still doing what YOU love in your house. If you feel like your coffee thing has gotten out of control, then maybe take a new look at it & see if there are some you don’t love anymore. I’ve seen in magazines where a vignette is set up with a certain slant in mind & I’ve heard that grouping like items together gives them more importance & presence & I think that’s true for vignettes (like a white dish collection). So, just think of it that way.
At the end of the day, we all have to do what WE like and enjoy for our homes, so take what I say with a grain of salt. My opinions are simply my opinions. Marylynn, what others do in their homes is certainly none of my business (and I don’t go hunting people down telling them that I hate their homes), but I have a lot of girls who read my blog & seem to enjoy hearing my thoughts on these types of subjects, so I’ll keep sharing them.
I have 2 original snow/mountain scenes from garage sales. 1 huge original from a garage sale, several Turkish paintings, originals I got in Turkey and several Egyptian pictures my daughter got me in Egypt. I tend to like the originals rather than prints also.
Debra Robbins says
I agree with what you wrote about the whole themey thing and I am glad you encouraged our readers to think outside the box.
We have one mass produced print that was given to us as a gift. Even though it is everywhere, it is special to me because of the group of peeps that gave it to us. I sometimes feel like it is an orphan because most everything in my home is a one of a kind.
I appreciate your perspective, so keep giving it : )
vintage/second-hand is my rule of thumb for pretty much all of my accessories, with exceptions here and there of course! and I do love a little HomeGoods/TJ Maxx action, too. but I love it when people come into my house and ask “WHERE did you get that??” or better yet, “WHAT is that??” haha. it’s just more fun that way I can remember specifically where everything came from and what I was doing when I found it and who I was with.
I so love the idea of original art! I recently found a place on line where you can buy affordable, original art. It’s called Zatista.com. I’ve gotten some really great pieces there.
Thank you , thank you, thank you!! for finally saying it!! I go into so many homes and I know exactly which store they shop – FREQUENTLY!! As an artist, I can not compete with these “Made in China” things, and I want to offer original, affordable art! I too decorate with things I love!! It may not all match exactly, but it makes me smile!! I think that is so much more important than making my neighbor smile!
Hey Rhoda, I’m late on this (as usual, lol) but I knew exactly what you are talking about. And while I do have a have a Ballard clock above my mantle, almost everything else has been “collected” or made (check out my ballard copy chalkboard I made!!) I never seem to find “art” in stores anymore, just doesn’t appeal to me. Everything I have is from my favorite consignment shop, Goodwill, Salvation army or yard sales! I have a few things here or there that are “store bought” but they are mixed with my thrifty finds, which I think makes such a difference! 🙂
Forgot to add this oil painting I got that the frame got a small makeover! 🙂
Well, I had to take the time to read all the comments on this post, Rhoda… I agree with all that you wrote, but I have to say that you are much braver than me. lol Thanks for writing what has been in my mind for awhile now… 🙂
The Nester says
Rhoda, thank you so much for writing this post. I think you do a great job of balancing guiding us through how to make design decisions and encouraging us to use what we love. I know you would never dare tell someone NOT to use something if they truly love it. But you are pointing out why we may get quickly tired of certain things we might have. WELL done! Let’s spend our hard earned money on things that mean something to us!
If you didn’t have opinions about things, there would be no reason for us to come here! Keep ’em coming girl!
Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage says
As I look around my walls, 99% of it was original art created by someone in my family. Art photos from my sister the photographer, paintings by my 16 year old daughter, hand-carved pieces by my husband, even some signs that I made. I rarely buy art, and when I do, then it’s redone in some form. You will rarely find anything in my house that has been bought at PB, Kirklands, etc. Thanks for the great post!
I have friends and family members who LOVE to come to my house because it is so unique. From birth, practically, I have shopped second-hand (yard sale, thrift stores, estate sales, auctions, even antique stores) and find that one-of-a-kind decor is my delight. These friends and family members, however, just aren’t willing and sometimes not able to put in the time and energy to do it themselves and so they end up at Kirkland’s, etc. Whenever they tell me that they don’t have the time I ask “How long did you spend out shopping the other day at Kirkland’s, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc. gathering all your goodies?” They say, “It took all day to find just what I wanted”. I reply, “I spend all day, too but 20,000 other people don’t have the same thing I have.” I think they just have a stigma about buying second-hand and don’t want to tell me because they think it will hurt my feelings. “HURT AWAY!” I get so many compliments I can’t even tell you. When I buy things FOR my friends they LOVE them. They just don’t want to go where I go to get them. I say “GOOD, MORE FOR ME!” I just found your blog through “Thrifty Miss Priss” and I LOVE IT! Thanks.
I must be shopping impaired. The only things I find in thrift stores are the tacky, themey items you’re talking about! I find the present style to be too much of everything. I think I would call it the era of Pinterest. I’m sick of every kitchen looking exactly alike and wonder how long it will before we are laughing about the “vintage” look?