By Mitchell Parker
Warning: This article might cause you to feel ashamed, embarrassed and like you’re committing home design sins. OK, maybe not. But what you are about to read is a list of common household design elements that many homeowners absolutely refuse to have in their home.
The dirty, and hilarious, truth is that many homeowners – even the most extreme yet playful haters – make do with these things in their own homes, and are actually quite fond of them. Plus, what many people are probably reacting to are those basic, off-the-shelf options that fill old, dated homes and apartments (like mine). Actually, many advancements have been made in things like carpet and laminate. And the point is, it’s all fun and you should never take your house too seriously anyway. Just make the most of what you have – and never say never.
- Carpet. Oh, come on. Why is everyone so down on carpet? It’s soft, it comes in lots of styles and colors, and it’s fairly affordable. Plus, it’s versatile and customizable. My kids have customized our carpet with markers, juice and dirty shoes.
- Laminate flooring. As with most things, the cheaper you go, the cheaper it’ll look. Laminate flooring has come a long way. You can have entirely manufactured floors that look like exotic woods or even tile or slate.
- Taxidermy. This is a tough one. I’ve hunted before. I grew up in Texas. I have a friend who wants to train to be a taxidermist. But it’s just not for me – from a moral, ethical and environmental standpoint. What I’ve found is that many homeowners who agree with me still find themselves in households with taxidermy because their spouse or significant other is really into it. I think if we can find a way to accept everyone’s views and be respectful enough to have a serious, smart conversation about the subject, then we’ve made a little progress.
- Vertical blinds. I’ll admit, I was a little taken aback by this one. I like my vertical blinds, especially the ones in my bedroom, and especially after I hang a large blanket, a dark red fitted sheet and blackout curtains over them. That’s just me.
As longtime designer Becky Dietrich points out, however, vertical blinds have come a long way, work great for large windows and sliding glass doors, and are now available in materials like sheer fabrics.
- Fake flowers. Actually, pretty much fake anything. I definitely can get behind this one, though, of course, there has been a vase of fake flowers in my home at various points in my life, ones I let stay for far too long.
Architect Eric Reinholdt advocates for humble materials that “don’t draw attention to themselves or pretend to be something they’re not.” I think that’s a simple way to make a home more honest and inviting.
- Wallpaper. Again, I think this is a case where many people have an image in their head from a time long, long ago. I can remember the floral-print wallpaper in my parents’ bathroom, yellowed and peeling. But today things are different.
“Just a few years ago, wallpaper was considered a fusty relic of another era,” says Houzz writer Fred Albert in his piece on considering wallpaper. “But in recent years, it’s come roaring back, riding a wave of popularity fueled by improved selection, an interest in textured surfaces and an increasingly sophisticated public exposed to interior design via TV and the Web.
- Too many knickknacks collecting dust. If I had a nickel for every time I dusted, I wouldn’t have enough money to buy a stamp. I’m guessing that many people are just like me, so much so that they’ve made it a mission to rid their homes of any tchotchkes that can accumulate dust.
But that’s not the right solution. Our homes should be filled with memories and things that make us happy, no matter how abundant or small. Keep your collections and display them with pride — learn how to fight dust instead.
- Fluorescent lighting. I can’t imagine any situation where fluorescent lighting makes a home feel, well, homier. In a home office or workshop? Fine. But a kitchen? Don’t think so.
- Recliners. People seem to fall into two camps: those who like big reclining chairs and those who loathe them. Sorry, I love my recliner. Granted, it looks like a big lump of ugly, but when I see it, all I think of is the times I’ve spent curled up rocking my newborn daughter, reading a good book or watching an exciting sports game. There’s nothing like it. Maybe it’s a dad thing.
- Clowns. OK, I read Stephen King’s “It,” have seen “Killer Clowns From Outer Space” and wouldn’t want my house filled with anything reminiscent of a clown. But let’s cut some people some slack here.
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