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Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Posted by bronwynsmom (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 28, 12 at 10:24

According to the Washington Post today...
So what do we think?
(You may have to sign in to the Post to get this to open...one of you is surely tech savvy enough to make it accessible if I'm not?)

Here is a link that might be useful: Seven sins/dated decorating


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Your link worked.

I pretty much agree. I haven't looked yet at their ideas for "freshening" your look - we should do a thread on that one too.

tina


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

It's when you go for a second click on the link that they ask you to register.

droopy balloon valances and wallpaper borders, we pretty much knew those were dated and stuck in the 80's.

I was sorting out boxes of pictures on sunday, and I came across pics of our home in the 80's, dusty rose walls in mbr, balloon valances galore, I remember how much I loved all that then.

a few simple tracks of lighting can be pretty much be ignored , if they do the job.

I think dusty rose looks more dated than mauve, which can be very effective paired with lots of white and creams.

I think they listed pet peeves of those particular designers, the list could go on and on. Some timeless decors which were high end originally can usually survive the test of time even with a large floral couch thrown in the mix.

Sometimes a homeowner can freshen up their interior without changing everything, be it with wall colour and an editing of the knick knacks and things that look "stale" or fussy or too busy.
It is excellent advice to stick with neutrals for the big pieces.
It's always a fun read though, thanks for linking the article.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I agree with it all except mauve is a color found in nature- particularly on ugly daylilies!
Good article.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Yes, dusty rose and teal have bitten the dated dust.

I always disliked dusty rose anyway, mostly because I don't much care for blue-toned pinks, but also because it seems that every hospital and doctor's office decided it was the color of healing, and picked really dull, depressing versions of it - and I've seen the inside of enough of those in the last few years to put me off it entirely!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Maybe that explains it....I'm stuck in the 90s as that's when I stopped decorating the old house and started planning the new one....would explain my balloon shade in the kitchen, my swoopy valance in the library, my colors of provence in the guest room. I did avoid the mauve and did sell my printed upholstered sofa....call that progress.

It reminds me of way back when I was still wearing the oversized plastic framed eyeglasses. One of the gals at work told me I was really dating myself. I replied, "If I knew I could do that, I wouldn't have had so many lonely Saturday nights!"


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Annie, oversized glasses are making a comeback as "retro chic" and so is teal (NOT "country" blue, thankfully!) Brass is already up over the horizon, so can hunter green and burgundy be far behind?

Everything dated comes around again. It's just changed enough that you can't always use the old stuff unless you do it aiming for a "retro" look and you're 20 years old.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Someone better tell all the folks on the Kitchen Forum that granite is dated. It is still being installed by the ton. I'd have to disagree with that one.

I have to laugh when I see Mid-Century Modern -- aka the 1950s. I can't believe people actually want elements of Beaver Cleaver's house in their house today. I guess that's because I lived through it and remember a lot of the furniture as being uncomfortable, especially those kitchen chairs covered in vinyl that stuck to the back of your thighs.

I have a living room sofa that screams 1990's -- it's white and overstuffed, but incredibly comfortable. Maybe I'll get slipcovers, but not in a mauve floral.


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Yeah, the granite comment right out of the gate was a clue to take the article with a huge grain of salt.

Don't have recessed lights or tracks in the living room, but wish I did for practical reasons. Would make using the audio/visual equipment in the armoire a lot easier on these aging eyes.

I also don't get the whole back to the 50s look. Lived through it once ... no desire to do it again.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I remember a designer friend telling me that decorative choices usually have a lifespan of about nine years before starting to seem dated. I guess that's an average because you might be cutting edge in your choices or you might be on the tail end of a trend...LOL!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Love my retro stuff! But then again, I always liked it even as a child.

My friend's house was really well done, but the LR and hall carpet, kitchen wallpaper, kitchen lineoleum, and most accents were mauve. It took her a few years to replace everything because they were all fairly new and in great condition.

I never liked track lighting, and I don't like recessed can lighting either.

I agree that subway tiles are really trendy, but those and hex tiles are also two things I always loved about old bathrooms.

I have white distressed BR furniture, but this stuff is built like a tank, and it's not going anywhere because it's a little dated.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I just came home, checked my e-mail and found this little deadly sins gem from the Washington Post (& the release of the the Supreme Court's ruling on health care. So which did I click on to? Since I didn't go to law school, & am not ready to fall asleep as I attempt to weed through a legal document, I went for the 7 sins.)

Thought it was a combination of obvious: no big floral print sofas? Good grief...haven't even seen one since 1978! And obnoxious: Granite? Sure! Dated! Gone with the wind. I installed mine 18 months ago, but here in the burbs, it's still pretty cool. Those D.C. city slickers are surely under the gun to remove their dated stone counters though.

I think the bit of track lighting in my kitchen is cute.

Whatever. The tone of the article was a little snarky, imo, but interesting to read, nonetheless.

I'd rather read, and would certainly be more enlightened by, "The 7 Things to Remember when Decorating" by Bronwynsmom!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I find those kind of articles rather irritating - kind of in step with decades of featuring anorexic woman as the apex of attractiveness. The smugness of some of the designers quoted is equally irritating. No wonder people are sometimes afraid to use a decorator!

There is room for all colors and styles in good design. I just fell in love with this sofa...I even see a touch of mauve in it!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes stinky! Bronwynsmom I'd love to see your list!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Wow, Deedee99, that's an absolutely adorable floral print sofa! I'd be proud to own it...& happily wear the label "dated" for doing so. I realize the shape has a modern feel, but still, it is wearing a big floral print, and wearing it well!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Some of them I didnt like the first time around, some of them are still appropriate depending upon the situation.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Typical fluff reporting on decorating by someone without a clue. If sportswriters put out anything this feeble, they'd get canned the next day.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I'm not guilty of those particular seven sins but probably of the hundreds of decorating sins on other peoples' lists.

If our house hadn't had new granite I would have put in wood counters or tile counters... now how's THAT for dated! I loooove tile counters!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Sin 1: mauve. Alternative: BM Rhine River. My take: the opposite side of the color wheel. Vomilicious.

Sin 2. Track lighting. Alternative: floor lamp with metal shade. My take: Yeowch, that's hot.

Sin 3: Flowered sofas with huge roll arms. Alternative: neutral sofas with big pillows. My take: Why get sofas at all if the pillows take all the seating space?

Sin 4: Tuscany or Provence tiles. Alternative: subway tiles. My take: I spent too may years as a subway commuter to want to repeat that in my kitchen.

Sin 5: Droopy valences. Alternative: exposed rings on curtain rods. My take: More stuff to dust, and not very accessible.

Sin 6: Brightly colored orientals. Alternative: Chemical wash to tone down the color. My take: For the price of a chemical wash on a fake oriental, you can get another rug. My take: Buy the real thing, not ersatz.

Sin 7: Wallpaper borders. Alternative: Paper the whole room. My take: Having removed wallpaper, I say paper at your risk.


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OH gosh, the rugs. You reminded me of that "water them down, wash it out" tip Suero! I think I blocked that one from memory 30 seconds after I read it. What nonsense. Have you evah?

This decor diva would hate my rugs, that's for sure. Next to *Brightly Colored Orientals* in her manual, is a picture of my rugs. I assure you.


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deedee - I think that is great sofa!

Granite is starting to wane a bit I think, Silestone, Caesarstone etc. are giving it a run. I bet marble, quartzite, laminates and man-made quartz products are more popular than granite on the kitchen forum, but granite is probably the biggest single counter choice. Not that Gardenweb kitchen forum members are terribly representative I guess.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

"7 things to remember when decorating," eh?
Eeeps!
I'll think on it.
And try to stop at seven.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Here come the 'know-it-alls'......again. Could the decline in the economy have caused them to do just about anything to drum up business? It's irratating seeing such articles becoming more frequent. We love what we love and who gives a rats a**? ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

In defense of MCM...I liked it before it was "cool" again. It actually irritates me that it's become hip...prices have gone up. And GOOD MCM is comfy. (No one will stick to my chairs.)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I think the sole purpose of such articles is to make people feel good about not having a large-print sofa (if they don't have one). Clearly, anyone who has wallpaper borders at this point doesn't have them because they think they are high style--either they just plain like them or they don't know how to get 'em off!

Mauve certainly does occur in nature, I'd suggest that designer get out more. Furthermore, there's nothing wrong with mauve in and of itself--it's the institutional ubiquity of the ways it was used 15 years ago that "date" it. Same with large prints on sofas, valances, etc.

That said, whenever I am at my in-laws, I have a burning desire to strip the windows of their "funeral home" window treatments, complete with heavy swagged valances, heavy lined drapes, sheers AND venetians. (Can you tell that I married into a family of vampires?)I feel like sunshine is #1 in making a room look "fresh". Or at least, the *potential* for sunshine!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Remember an old game called "fad, fashion, style?"

You chose one of each in a given grouping.

Gladiator sandals, rope soled wedges, spectator pumps.

Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Audrey Hepburn.

Like that...


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

These since are venial at best. Not even a matter for confession.


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Lol, Leafy, I def think people who still have wallpaper borders probably just can't get them off the walls!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Suero, so true!
I do know that I hate, hate all that neutral stuff.
15 years ago I bought some wing chairs in a bold floral (Queensland Crimson, Pembroke), and while they are faded, I STILL love them. In or out, I don't care, if it speaks to me now.

My bright navy and red rug is something I have disliked for quite awhile now.

Everything that I despised of my mother's - all that traditional stuff- is still lovely -Waterford vases, oriental bowls, Spode Blue plates, good silver candlesticks...


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

People who know what they like and have confidence in their preferences aren't the ones endangered by lists like this.

Funny, but before they recently returned to fashion I might well have put drum shades at the top of such a list. For 40 years after their time came and went you'd still see aged, often nicotine-stained ones hanging around, more often than not in the homes of folk who couldn't see well enough any more to realize how awful they were. Mercifully, bless their hearts--and happily because I'm sure many of them "saw" them as still as stylish as they once seemed, and now do all over again!

This is such a good joke on all of us, and I'm smiling because I'm old enough to be very aware that that's my future too. Uh...present. I already have my own store of things I didn't stop liking when they went out of style 20 and 30 years ago now, and more and more can't find myself caring....


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I don't know who sounds stupider in these articles, the writer or the designers. Although the designers interviewed may have won out in this case, especially the one who thinks subway tiles have been in fashion for the last century. Better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than open it and remove all doubt. Quite a gaffe. Apparently hanging a shingle out requires no education whatsoever.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Well I think you all might have noticed that nearly every picture of don'ts was in YELLOW. I will always have yellow somewhere in my home, yellow just makes me happy. I will also most likely have a pinch of teal here and there and a handful of orange, a smidge of brass and a touch of red and always a tiny bit of black.
I could just paint all my walls gray, that's what the designers and their followers are doing. I could but I won't. I do like the gray but you know everyone will have to completely change all that in about five years because it's already been "in" for a while. By the time I got it all right it would already be out.
I'm sticking with what I like.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Can someone please declare neutral to be a "deadly sin"? :-D

Catchy title for an article but some of the critical comments at the end of the article are more interesting than the article itself. I see articles such as this as just one more space filler in the media. They really don't mean much to anyone who has any knowledge of ID. Does tempt me to paint something mauve (listed as trendy by some only last year) and buy a new bright colored sofa, paired with a chair with a really huge floral print (which was also listed as trendy only last year). However I expect I'll wait until both are well and truly not en trend! More fun that way.

Decorating should be fun and the author of this article is trying to take that away from us.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Well-said, Luckygal. I think what the author wants to take away from us is money spent on updating our dated items! She can surely refer those who consult her for further guidance to just the right people (for a fee.) And, yes, the approach outlined in the article does steal joy from the process.

"Pitts suggests keeping to neutrals in sofas and club chairs." So, pink is a neutral, right?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

The neutral thing got me also. Yes, let's all buy brown sofas. Woo.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Yes stinky your beautiful pink settee is neutral because your walls are pink. What is the real definition of neutral anyway? Doesn't something become neutral if the majority is in like colors? I never understand these expert write-ups because they lead one to believe neutral is brown or off white. Do they know what neutral is?


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neutral

Pal and other experts here...what is neutral?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Ooooh, this is one of my favorite questions!
A neutral is a color made from pigments that are opposites on the color wheel.

I am of the opinion that every color has both positive and neutral values. So any color, dulled down by adding some of its opposite on the color wheel, and/or by graying or browning it down, can function as a neutral.

The more different and opposing pigments you add to a color, the more neutral it becomes...you can start with anything, and end up with some version of mud if you keep going.

So a red with green added to it can become a neutral.
Purple with yellow becomes a neutral.
Blue with orange becomes a neutral.
Green with red added...etcetera.

They may still be identified clearly as red or purple or blue or green, but they function as neutrals by being quiet, and serving as background for other brighter colors.

Stark black and white are, in my view, not neutral, but they can be blank canvases for color.

The most interesting grays are made from opposing colors, not from black and white. If you ever bought a pair of gray pants and tried to find a sweater to match, you know what I mean...you get outside in the sunlight, and one of them looks green and the other purple.

How'm I doing here..?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I have been hunting for a good looking pair of 1980s-type spectator pumps for two years now, preferably navy & white. If anybody finds some, let me know.

I don't disagree much with the article, except the bit about granite (an inherently beautiful material) & subway tile being trend setting (nice look, but it's been the standard choice for about 8 years now). I prefer the light from overhead cans -- love the soft white glow and it's good for reading.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Thanks bronwynsmom! That's the most useful definition of neutral I've ever read, and it explains why there are so very many grays and also, if I think about it, why silver sage seemed like such a good neutral.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Yes, great, Bronwynsmom! Thanks. I have noticed while looking at paint swatches that many grays have a lot of purple in them while others are more yellow or green

A friend painted her kitchen gray recently (it was fire engine red...she was ready for a big change!) & she was utterly disappointed when the final coat looked quite purple-ish. She wasn't imagining it. She called me over to come look at it & hopefully convince her otherwise, but no, It looked purple. I felt so sorry for her. Not at all the sophisticated, simple, clean "neutral" she was hoping for.

She showed me the Ben Moore swatch, and by itself it didn't look particularly purple, but when I held it next to other gray swatches, she could see the offending undertone. Eeeek!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

did they leave out fake flowers ;)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Pretty correct, except for the granite comments. All those other things make me gag. Mauve, sickly color to me. But we all have different tastes and preferences so does what they think mean anything? I do think if we have "stuff" that is 20-30 yrs old it is certainly time to refresh if we are able. When I see country decor I feel like I am back in the 80's too. If you don't it is like living in a time warp. Don't people get sick of their old, old stuff? I sure do.


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My brother/sil are "able" but they don't! They still have 70's mediterranean/Spanish!! I want to say something, but don't have the heart. She watches hgtv so you would think she would get a clue. ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

My brother/sil are "able" but they don't! They still have 70's mediterranean/Spanish!! I want to say something, but don't have the heart. She watches hgtv so you would think she would get a clue. ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I was afraid to read this article. What a relief that none of the items listed ever were or ever will be in a home I own! Granite is beautiful but any real discernment of if it as "proper" material for a kitchen brought it its upkeep and being so hard it shatters-as well as other things shatter against it. For those reasons I said pass. Function in a kitchen comes first in my decision making! Bottom line do you know what YOU like/LOVE? If you buy that, you will forever be happy with YOUR home and IMHO that should be the ONLY goal. When I married into DH's family MIL was busy updating. She removed the color/warmth adding drapes from her living room (no droopy valance there) and put up verticals. I had never seen them before. They were cold and drab. I hated them then, I haven't seen a pair I liked. Put them behind drapes for privacy if you must but never never never hang them alone!! Now they are OUT OUT OUT and everyone is putting up blinds. UGH!! Another STUPID window treatment. They are IMPOSSIBLE to clean and they are clunky and noisy..nightmare from childhood I could NEVER repeat--I do not care how "in" they ever are!! Big floral couch you LOVE you will love until it is so worn you have to replace it. That is YOUR style in a room and you can make it work. Not in my house but in yours, I could see it. It is all about the TOTAL picture. I say EMBRACE what YOU love and let go of the need to be "up to date!!"


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Taste issues are so intensely subjective as to be often worthless. At least we can mostly agree on what's in style for our price ranges right now--whatever we see again and again wherever we go.

Now the mauve Hellokitty mentions, never "my" color, but for years it meant for me a particular exquisitely elegant and romantic bedroom that belonged to a friend of my mother-in-law. The color was very lovely. Until the '80s, when it became newly associated for me with cheap dyes and cheap furniture, no doubt HK's associations too. It was about that time, with dull, dispirited blue and mauve fabrics everywhere ad nauseum, that I wandered into a hopelessly expensive shop and was amazed to see a glorious sunshine yellow armchair ($4K in those days), a settee in a luscious moss green velvet that looked like a bottomless pool, and so on. A scarlet flowered couch that sang. That's when I realized that all dyes are not exactly created equal (or current style trends, for that matter) and that what I had thought was decent mid-level quality was actually very low quality. I also vividly remember the dreary dirty greens being called "forest" that were all I could find for the new deep green chair I was looking for and had to give up on.


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Hellokitty, the country decor of the 80s is nothing like it is today.

Back in the 80s everyone was using dusty blue, had a lot of wallpaper borders, and worst of all, a ton of cutesy crafty things all over the house.

I don't know anyone who decorates like that anymore. For my house I'd rather describe it as "farm style-vintage" which isn't necessarily country.

Country and French country are a lot more sophisticated now.

I still cringe at the 80s style country. That's a style I am so glad to see disappear!

I do miss the 80s peach walls with white trim.


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It isn't easy though. Our eye gets used to something and then it's hard to change as something different doesn't look right. I was talking to someone about this....she said when they moved in, it just ate at her to have the moving boxes stacked in the middle of the living room...but then after a week or so, it didn't bother her as much and became less of a priority to unpack. After awhile, you just don't see stuff any more. I think that's why many of us have commented that taking pics of our own rooms and looking at them that way, gives us a fresh eye as to what we're seeing.

And when we select something for our house that we really love, even if it is 20 years later, we still love it. I think that's how stuff becomes dated.

Older friend of mine built her own house in the 60s and redid her kitchen in the 70s and never touched it again. When I walked in, it was like a time warp...she knew it wasn't up to date, but she loved what she selected then and never fell out of love with it. So 70s it stayed.

I fell in love with jewel tones in the 80s and never fell out of love with them. They still look rich and sophisticated and warm to me. So even though the printed sofa went, my warm tones stayed.


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I agree with Rosie about drum shades. They are becoming so popular and I see Candice Olson using them all the time...but they remind me of the awful, dirty dried out and smoke covered drum shades of years ago that we couldn't wait to get rid of. I struggle to see them in new and fresh ways...my past with them is tainted.


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I was watching an episode of House Hunters International the other day when a woman walked into a sleek, modernist stainless and white kitchen. She commented that it was dated...so 90's, don't you think? I had to smile at that.


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Great info on neutrals bronwynsmom!

Thinking a little more on why that type of article bugs me so...when someone is trying to sell something (nothing wrong with that!), tactics that try to reinforce insecurities in others leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
There is a higher road. That being said I realize the article stated In the spirit of fun, we asked a few local designers but geesh...show a little empathy and kindness!

Annie, just caught your 'dating' comment. lol!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Anything you see in a magazine about home decorating must be read with the understanding that the primary goal of magazines (fashion, home, food...) is to sell things.

Designers make a living because people want a change. Anyone who makes a living advising other people can do it legitimately or not. We all are sophisticated enough about the way of commerce to understand that, I think.

There is no systemic evil, nor is there any inherent deception, in this. You agree or you don't. You learn something or you don't. We've all read posts that ask for opinions, when what the poster really wants is affirmation of a decision.

The most frustrating circumstance for a designer, I think, is to hear, "Please fix this and make it wonderful, but I'm not going to let you change anything." Sometimes it's insecurity, sometimes it's control, and sometimes it's a way for the poster to discover that s/he is happy with what's there after all.

In my view, the things that become dated are shallow approximations of a cultural or aesthetic tradition. Remember when Southwestern style was sold as pink and blue, phony Native American blankets, and little Kokopeli's all over the place? When country was sold as paint-rubbed unfinished furniture, masses of dried flowers, and borders of geese with blue ribbons around their necks?

If they had been real recreations of an authentic way of life, they'd have continued to be satisfying.


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Bronwynsmom, totally agree with your last post and I think your definition of neutrals is very helpful. I have a question tho - are neutrals always 'muddy' colors as combining opposites on the color wheel does that, doesn't it? This is not a pejorative description of color, in case anyone wonders.

About "dated decorating" - as consumers we need to have the courage to develop our own style. Many of us are attempting the timeless look and don't need to accept guilt over not being "trendy". This timeless look may or may not include current trends. The only time I change my decor is when I find something new (or old, meaning pre-owned) that I love to add to it, when I tire of something and remove it, or when something wears out. I cannot imagine in my wildest nightmare throwing everything out and starting from square one in any room with the current trend. Yet some people seem to think this is the thing to do and of course it's encouraged by the industry.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Thank you, luckygal - I agree completely with your thoughts about developing your own style.

And no, colors that become neutral don't have to be so adulterated that they go all the way to mud. Just a hit of green will move red or pink toward a neutral value. It's when you put a lot of it that you get something that's not really recognizable as red.

Understanding color is really best developed by looking and looking. Stand in front of the array of paint chips at Home Depot or Ben Moore, and just stare at them. You will begin to see their characteristics better the more you look.

Go to the museum, and look at paintings of every school and era, and you will soon see the values and uses and characteristics there, too.

And go outside and stare at an overcast sky, which seems gray at first, but the more you look, the more color you will see. Same with clouds.
There really is a practice effect in apprehending and comprehending color.


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Of course all the suggestions aren't going to work for everyone and I firmly believe in decorating with what you love and what works for your lifestyle. However, for our house, for right now - I agree with the neutral in larger pieces. In the past year, we replaced a sofa, chair and ottoman that I had started to feel the fabric dated. We'd had the pieces 13 or 14 years, still looked great, but I was really tired of the fabric colors (navy, burgandy, green). There was really no way of updating the fabric. There are very few options to decorating around some fabric colors/patterns (such as a floral sofa). I loved the white slipcovered sofas I've seen on so many blogs, decorating magazines, etc. BUT, as much as I loved the look, I knew it wouldn't work for us, for our home. I was able to do ivory slips in the sunroom, so that satisfied me. In replacing the greatroom pieces, we did go neutral. The new sofa is a nubby textured fabric that is a bit darker than ivory. I chose fabric for the chair and ottoman that is a small pattern in a ivory/taupe pattern. Kind of a greek pattern - not quite. Love it. The pieces are very neutral and the light color works well with our wood floors and the several antique wood pieces in the room. What's great though, is now I could change the room out monthly if I choose! I went with a taupish linen for drapes (purchased) but added a multi-colored fringe. The fringe can be removed/replaced. I had pillows made from the greek key fabric and use those on the sofa with a floral multi-color fabric for two other pillows on the sofa. We went with a dark leather chair and two upholstered chairs in the room also. I have a small wooden antique chair in there that has a patterned/colored upholstered insert. I love the fact that I could change out my pillows and other accessories, change out one of the upholstered chairs (it's a reddish print) and the room could look completely different/updated. That is the good thing about neutrals, you can change your look. Neutral doesn't necessarily mean a brown sofa.


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I think the thing about these fluff/filler pieces is that they are always titled with such hyperbole.

But, an article called "You might think about changing this" would not attract much attention.

I tend to agree with bronwynsmom on this. The original trend, when approached with some sort of taste, will last. The low market versions that result, and which lack any context to their environment, don't. I doubt Albert Hadley ever spec'd a wallpaper border with geese and girls in poke bonnets. That kind or stuff was Popular taste, but it was never really in Good taste. (For a brief period it just wasn't Awful taste). That's why people tire of it so quickly.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Annie, I grew up with jewel tones, and when I built my own house in 1980, jewel tones it was. When we gutted and remodeled/added-on, jewel tones was my choice again, although it was the perfect time to do a new color scheme had I chosen to do so.

Sophisticated like you said, and extremely welcoming/homey. And downright stunning at Christmas! :)


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Dated words

This is part of "dated" decorating so I'll throw it out there instead of doing a new topic.

Bronwyn, I had HGTV on in the background today, no clue what the show was, but one of the designers said "Pop of color." For the past couple of years I've read where many hate that word. What other word could replace it that's just as simple and defining as "Pop?"

"Great Room" was mentioned above. The term Living Room/Family Room/Den has become dated. I guess I want to know why. Saying Great Room sounds pretentious to me, and I have a really great big room. lol.

Same with calling an entryway a Foyer. My entryway is it's own little room, big enough for a bench and table, but no way can I call it a Foyer without laughing. I picture Foyers as being large and anything other than that is an entryway.

I'd love to hear your opinion on this!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Homes can look dated - no disagreement here. A little tweaking now and then, ferreting out the good design from the poor within your price point will keep a home from looking dated.

But I don't think the consumer is that sophisticated overall. People don't realize quite how much they are manipulated (present company excepted!). A classic ploy being to develop a sense of dissatisfaction within the consumer. Or to bring in merchandise and mark at a ridiculous price to show a huge discount with a sale price (hence JCP's issue with one price pricing and he firing of Michael Francis).

A good read are Martin Lindstrom's books, Buyology, Brandology etc. His last book Brandology has even him freaked out about newer marketing tactics (data mining).

But I digress.... so yes, if your home is dated, easy enough to fix, but think about what that means to you, not what others think.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

"Better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than open it and remove all doubt."

Marcolo, I haven't heard that expression since my father died almost 37 years ago! He used to make that comment often - usually while reading the newspaer. Thanks for the nostalgia :-)

And I've been happily enjoying our apparently dated mauve (lilac !) bathroom for eight or so years now. Love it just as much now as I did when I first painted it.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Who mentioned pillows? Was that on our thread or the article? I can't remember but meant to say that I totally agree. Don't be skimpy on a pillow. Don't go too small or too thin. IMO feather inserts are the very best and will insure a plump pillow. Use an insert a couple of inches larger than your cover.

Great room, living room and family room and completely different. Great room I don't believe refers necessarily to size - it's more like "main" room. A great room typically has several rooms opening in/out of it and is an open concept, flowing with kitchen, dining room, etc. My parents home is the typical living room, family room (den) and dining room. Homes that have only one room but the room is more closed off - not central, I still refer to as a living room. Bronnie?

tina


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

That makes sense. So basically when the open floor plan was introduced recently is when the term great room was coined?

I don't know if it's a regional thing or not, but no one I know says "Great room.". It's always the living room...or den.

Makes me wonder if people will ever build homes again where most public rooms will be closed off. I can see the positive for both concepts but the great room is winning by a landslide. lol


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Maybe use too much wallpaper makes people feel dizzy,some wall stickers may give you a fresh breathe.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

"My brother/sil are "able" but they don't! They still have 70's mediterranean/Spanish!! I want to say something, but don't have the heart. She watches hgtv so you would think she would get a clue. ;o)"

Is it really that heinous a crime?
To have "dated" furnishings?
Are we too overly concerned with keeping up with some invisible arbiter of current decorating?
If said family likes their home's vibe, if the home is functional, and if they have no need to stay "hip, hot, and happening" why should that disturb anyone?

I for one respect people who go their own way and pay no attention to fashion divas and consumerism.
And that's what this is- sheer consumerism.
Many, many people have far more important matters to concern themselves with than following every decorating "rule" or trend.
Many people are lucky to have a sofa and the fact that it is out of style matters not in the least.
IMO the entire industry is a study in keeping up with the Jonses.
Good grief- buy what you like, use the colors that make you happy and stop asking everyone else what to do.

:)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I guess I don't always follow the rules...in decorating and other areas. :) I happen to love track lighting maybe because I love art and have many of my pieces hanging in my home. I love granite countertops too...and my selections usually are those that others do not like. And while I love subway tile, I did not go with it because it was not "different" enough for me.

To Each His Own!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Deedee99, well put! ( I'm going to look for those books!)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

>I don't know if it's a regional thing or not, but no one I know says "Great room."

Around here it's kind of a late 80s/early 90s thing. Realtors still use the term but I never hear regular folks use it in real life anymore.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I think, and don't hold me to this, that "great room" comes from the large all-purpose space that served as the living quarters in medieval households, before privacy and comfort were invented, and everybody slept and ate and cooked and generally lived in a big clump together, with sleeping benches around the perimeter that were pulled into the room for eating, the stables either adjacent or underneath, and straw on the floor to collect and be swept away with all the dirt and garbage.

So when large, open, multi-purpose rooms became popular for family life, it made sense to call them "great rooms," in that tradition.

Except for the straw and the animals and the garbage. Unless you have teen-aged boys, in which case...well, you get the idea.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

That was really called the "hall", I believe.

I think it developed as builder/realtor-speak to give a name to large open, casual, kitchen-eating-living spaces, particularly when the living part had a vaulted ceiling. Family room doesn't seem to quite fit that--and sometimes, now, that's a part of the basement. And "combined kitchen-family room" is a mouthful as is "kitchen open to casual living and dining areas"--although I have seen both of these in listings.

Some people here call it the great room, some people the family room. The ones that never caught on here (except in builder/realtor-speak, on floorplans) are "keeping room" "hearth room" or "master suite". People may say they want or have a master suite, but the don't call it that in general conversation.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

We have a great room...not due to my decorating ability...though we like it and think it's great.
;)

A great room, in my understanding is a single room that combines multiple functions including kitchen and family room...ours also includes a breakfast nook. The family room has a woodstove so it might be considered a hearth room too, but it is really all one room, no walls, with framed entrances into and out of the space...one entrance is to the foyer, one is to the hallway between the LR and DR. We have an exterior door to the deck. But we rarely call it that...we call it kitchen and family room and breakfast nook as those are the functions performed in each of the spaces within that great room.

Great example of a great room

Not to be confused with a grape room!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Wondering how long it will be before my seagrass rugs are considered trite -- probably by the time I get the rooms finished :)

Ditto anything Pottery Barn. I'll bet when my son & new DIL get around to setting up a permanent home in several years, Pottery Barn will be a punch line among the younger set.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I recall hearing the term 'great room' as far back as the 80's when the open floor plan was just coming into fashion, I didn't care for the idea of one big living/dining/kitchen area then nor have I warmed up to it since (looove my walls, and art to hang on them).

I did buy a mostly mauve, large print, rolled arm sofa back then (and still have fond memories of it) but it's been gone lo these many years and I much prefer a low armed couch that doesn't hurt the underside of my arms reaching for something on the side table.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Thank you, Palimpsest, you are exactly right.
It was the hall.

So what am I thinking of? I still have the feeling that "great room" does appear somewhere in architectural history, but apparently I'm too lazy today to look it up...


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

MY version of the 7deadly sins in today's decorating:

RESIN(I hate this stuff!)

Pergo

Reproduction antiques w//high gloss finish

Exposed ductwork/pipes in the name of industrial

Industrial~see above!

Microfiber

MDF furniture

Most are mass produced in variations, and not related specifically to taste. They look cheap and have been thrown into the 'decorating world' and we're supposed to find them acceptable~when was the last time you read in a magazine where the decorator even mentioned his disdain for such trash?

While I can't always afford 'real', except for my beloved 'faux' plants, I would rather do without. ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I looked up Great Rooms on Wikipedia, and the term is used from the old "Halls" that Pal and Annie mentioned.

Here's the main definition: "The term great room denotes a room space within an abode which combines the specific functions of several of the more traditional room spaces (e.g. the family room, the living room, the study, etc.) into a singular unified space. Great rooms are typically at or near the center of the house, feature raised ceilings, and have been common in American homes since the early 1990s."

Basically it's where everyone hangs out. Technically my living room is a great room since it has a small library in it, a game/craft/eating table in the back of the room, and it has a raised ceiling. Plus 4 walls for which I'm glad.

But you'll never hear me call it a great room.

What about the foyer entryway question? Don't you all think saying "foyer" has gotten out of hand considering some are really small?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

The "foyer" is, in French, the hearth or fireside - and also can mean home, or the lobby in a public place.
If you want to say "I like to stay at home," you might say, "J'aime a garder mon foyer," which literally means that I like to tend or guard my hearth...so how "foyer" came to mean any ol' entranceway is a mystery to me.

I don't like to accuse people of being pretentious, but really, I suspect the world of real estate sales and the ad writing thereof to be responsible for many such overstatements.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Thanks for the info. Great room is what is on our blueprint - so that's how I've always thought of and what we call the room. We have that instead of a living room/family room combo. It does have cathedral ceilings, leads into the dining room and bedrooms open off both sides. Our kitchen, however, is seperate and not open to the great room.

tina


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

According to the blueprints of our house we also have a Great Room! I've sometimes called it that but it always does sound pretentious to me. I usually say it somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Ours is a bit separated from the eat-in kitchen because it's half a level down from the kitchen with a half wall dividing the two areas.

OTOH, foyer does not sound pretentious to me because it's a commonly used word in my bilingual (English/French) country. Foyer is commonly used for any entrance room in a public building and also for entry rooms in private homes. Not sure whether there should be a size at which a room may be called a foyer but I think it should be a separate room and have at least 3 walls and not be part of the LR.

Sorry for going so OT.

The day I give up my good quality microfiber upholstery is the day I'll have to also give up my cats, and that's not going to happen! Unfortunately for microfiber the poor quality stuff has given it a very bad reputation.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Where I live now, "vestibule" is in common usage because a real vestibule,closed off by a door, is pretty common. "Front hall" or foyer were used where I grew up, as were "parlor" "TV room" and "cellar".

In my house, particularly if you were looking for something, my mother called wherever it was "the other room" which meant anywhere but where she was standing. "Upstairs" was the other general direction.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Palimpsest, I think we had the same parents...my mother said, "Try in there," with a vague wave of her hand.

We said "front hall" and "parlor" and "cellar," too.
Probably because there really was a coal bin down there, with an iron trap at ground level to take delivery.

Luckily, that was gone by the time I went to school.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Growing up, we had a root cellar. The only access to it was inside a cabinet (in the 'back room'). You had to lift up the floor of the cabinet and climb down a ladder attached to the wall to access the space. I think my mom used it one season for her canned goods and decided it wasn't worth the effort.

The summer of 1966 I remember thinking it would be the place I would hide if Richard Speck was seen heading towards our town. *shudder*


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Oh, dear. It looks like I'm on the wrong side of trends again. I just installed granite in my kitchen and I have a slipcovered sofa, a chair with a flower print and toile wallpaper. I did, however, get rid of some pillows, but just because I noticed it was hard for my guests to sit down.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Outdated Parlor


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Ah, vestibule! From now on, I'll refer to that awkward space beyond my front door where you basically hit a wall upon entry, as the vestibule! Somehow, it makes me feel better about it.

In my last house I had a foyer, no doubt about it. It was a space the size of my current dining room. I always lamented it was such a "waste of space," & resented heating & cooling it. But now I miss having a real foyer. It's an especially nice space to have when receiving guests. Something in between the two extremes I've experienced would be ideal!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

About 5 years ago we added a space onto our house that encompasses a good-sized kitchen area with an island and an eating area with window seat on one end; a "sitting area" (love seat, 2 chairs) in the middle; an "office area" at the other end. It's not a huge space by some standards, maybe 30' long by 16' wide total, almost doubling the size of our first floor. There is also a small mudroom at the end opposite the kitchen. I have never wanted to call the non-kitchen area a "family room" because I didn't want it to feel like a playroom. But no one knows what to call it! Great room doesn't work for me. If I have to tell DH or one of the kids where to find something in the "sitting area" it gets tricky -- I'll say "you know, in the kitchen, I mean, the love seat area...". Yes, this is happening 5 years later.

Our entry/foyer/whatever is teeny tiny, but I call it a foyer without ever thinking it's a pretentious term.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

It makes me wonder what new words will be coined in the future for other common areas of the house!

I can understand saying great room because of it being a multi-purpose room, but a small entryway as being a foyer? Nah. Foyers are large where the entrances to other rooms are.

Stinky, your's was definitely a foyer!

Before we remodeled, the "entrance" to the home was just opening the front door, wall on the left. That's when we said, "It's by the front door." lol


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

This is very interesting. I've never been aware of a foyer needing to be a particular size. I wonder if it's a regional thing. Any entryway qualified if you wanted to use the word, at least to my parents (who were from western NY).


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Around here I don't think of foyer as particularly pretentious, especially if you don't pronounce it fwa-yay. In a residence, as opposed to a public building, a room can be quite small and still qualify as a foyer. Although we usually refer to ours as "the entry," and the room it opens onto, with the staircase and entrances to the living room, dining room and kitchen, as simply the "front hall."

I also grew up with a "parlor." FWIW, I once spent an hour with that Google tool that tells you when a particular word or phrase came into existence and when it peaked in popularity. It turns out my entire vocabulary was really the cat's pajamas in 1940. I wasn't even born yet.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

If granite is passe, what's hot now?

I used to hate subway tile, but now I tolerate it, at least the plain white. I actually do kind of love the small stone look subway. I agree that a lot of that was personal preference. Mauve though, yeah, that's dated.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

re subway tile, I'm enjoying the look of 2 in. x 2 in. tile again -- very 1980s. But as nobody uses it anymore, it's kinda refreshing when I see it someplace.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Oh no Marcolo, you don't pronounce it foy-ur do you? It is foy-yay here, definitely not pretentious.

I think I mostly use foyer only when referring to a large, typically public or commercial space (unless I'm on Gardenweb, when I do use foyer, because you folks do). At home I call it the front hall, I think I've only heard foyer used to refer to a space in a home in recent years.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I'm uncomfortable with foyer, even though we have one, because I first learned the word in French class. Ruined me forever, can't pronounce it quite right in French, but also just can't call it a foy-yay. It's the entry by default; at least I have good handle on that one.

"Great room" I've always really disliked, perennially phony, a scam for suckers. I'm old enough to have watched when it first showed up--strictly as a marketing term by developers. Yes, their marketing consultants searched through dictionaries and thesauruses for ideas, but "great room" was initially what they decided to label the small kitchen-family room created to get away with smaller footprints on smaller lots. This was before the mini-mansion phase, and the smaller versions of these houses had rooms that were too small to allow both a table and a sitting area in the "great" room, even though (out in California) there was no alternative dining place. I saw hundreds of these of all sizes as an appraiser. As more and more people came to realize their old furniture wouldn't fit, developers moved to creating an illusion of more space with pitched and then two-story "great" rooms, but the footprint stayed as small as possible.

Even now, with larger homes, if you look around, the typical "great" room in the typical subdivision, and in the typical custom home, is too small for more than one simple conversation grouping. What would you expect as the size of the cars to be housed under the same roof increased so dramatically? And the amount of space needed to store all these newly available cheap goods exploded?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I think the idea, name, and/or concept of "great room" must have come from the "great halls" of castles and other substantial homes in the mother country of England. It must have seemed to somebody to make our subdivision houses seem much grander than they are.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I don't care for the term Great room but I do use it. Living room means the room set aside for company and is never used and family room means the room where we watch tv and basically live, as how I grew up.
So, none of the terms seem to work for us now as our "great room" is nicer and less cluttered than what I think family rooms are but is used everyday unlike living rooms.

I do say foy er and sofa ( never couch) and we have a dining room table although technically it's visible to the kitchen and we have no kitchen table but it isn't at all fancy, it's quite plain, more like a kitchen table...


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Have the say the silliest phrase I ever heard, I heard here. Someone used to refer to her VERY modest master bedroom that had a little bathroom attached as her master suite-let. OMG, kill me now.

And we have a foyer, that we pronounce foy-er, not foy-ay. There isn't a room in the house that's all that great however...

Ann


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Have the say the silliest phrase I ever heard, I heard here. Someone used to refer to her VERY modest master bedroom with (also small) bathroom attached as her master suite-let. OMG, kill me now. Actually, although I don't hear real people in my area say this, sometimes on the HGTV shows they refer to that layout as an en suite bedroom. Is that common usage somewhere?

And we have a foyer, that we pronounce foy-er, not foy-ay.

There isn't a room in the house that's all that great however...

Ann


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Growing up on the southeastern seaboard, "foy-yay" was any sized entryway, and to my ears"entryway" sounds pretentious! Funny. Some said Hall, I think. Vestibule was for apartments or office buildings. rHow about sofa vs. couch ? Ok, I've strayed too far..sorry. I've not read all here, and wonder if the 'familiarity breeds fondness' was brought up; as in seeing the RH , Linen neutral , Seagrass, etc. all over the decor world is what draws us to it....eventually, perhaps, after a long visual brainwashing.
Oh, silly me, of course...that's a given....and it's fine. Evolving style trends prevents staleness. We take from it what we like while maintaining our own style...or that's how I see/ use it.
Example: I have rejected glitter on textiles: a middle eastern influence, I suppose, but love the glistening shell and crystal necklace hung over the sconces in my new bath?( I took one off and wore it today,)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Funny, you'll find a number of references in turn-of-the-last century literature to calling a small hall a vestibule as an example of the aspirations of the lower middle class (the implication being that if you are one of those in the in group you know it's a plain old hall). Times change. :)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I hear ensuite used a lot on the HGTV shows originating in Canada, so I was assuming regional.

It's interesting that as times change and familiarity with words changes that how common, how acceptable, or how pretentious they are considered will change.

Emily Post, in her earlier books, discussed language, conversation, and some pronunciation (she was also a supporter of never calling anyone else's house a "home" but a house--we've had this discussion).

One of the words that she mentioned was "valet". She felt it was pretentious to pronounce it in the French manner, "VALlay" but rather that it Should be pronounced VAL-it ( like Mallet, with the schwa sound that is somewhere between "it, et and ut"), and VAL-it is the primary pronunciation in many dictionaries.

But now, because of Valet parking, which everyone pronounces VALlay or ValLAY (ballet), if you said VAL-it, people would think you were ignorant.

So she would support FOYer, but I would imagine in places with lots of Francophones, FOYay would be more correct.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

>I hear ensuite used a lot on the HGTV shows originating in Canada, so I was assuming regional.

I always just assumed it was British, like Val-it. When I was a student in London many years ago, we managed to persuade one of my new American roommates that the English say "an-ti-cue". After all the other anglicized pronunciations she totally believed us, at least for a few days. :)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Oddly, now it's VAL-it that sounds pretentious in the British manner.

And in my house we sat on the Davenport.

Great rooms are just oversized corner pantries. In both cases developers came up with a new idea to cut their own costs. In the great room, by eliminating footprint and walls, and in the pantry, by eliminating more expensive corner cabinets. Their technique is always to present their cost-cutting measures as a desirable new feature, and home shoppers always seem to swallow the line quite readily.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

And while we're on the subject of 'word play', would someone please enlighten me as to who/when "space* was coined as the new meaning for room? Every time I hear it I can' help but cringe~it's so overused, and in my opinion, deems the rooms in our homes no different than a public space, such as a waiting room. ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

And while we're on the subject of 'word play', would someone please enlighten me as to who/when "space* was coined as the new meaning for room? Every time I hear it I can' help but cringe~it's so overused, and in my opinion, deems the rooms in our homes no different than a public space, such as a waiting room. ;o)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

The only appellation I really loathe is "owner's suite." Sounds just like a skybox at a sporting event, doesnt it?


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I need to actually read all the replies before I post, lots of people had already explained the etiology of the term great room.

In my experience, the hierarchy of ingress to a building:

Entry: Small area just inside door, defined by different flooring than that in the rest of the room (usually tile or wood where the rest is carpet), often further delineated by a half wall or planter.

Foyer: larger area that in a 2 story house often includes the ground floor termination of a staircase, usually including a piece of furniture on which to place mail or keys or packages, delineated by walls of adjacent LR and/or DR, stair, etc.

Lobby: very large, open area that runs horizontally much of the length of the front room, or rooms , of the house--- also called a gallery (which in our area was full of windows almost like an enclosed veranda.

All entries are further defined by an overhead light that is placed in the center of the defined area.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Vestibule is defined as "a small room or hall between an entrance and the interior of the building or house." So, I can't claim that one. My sis's new house has exactly that configuration and it's So cute! Looking past the front door to a striking river view doesn't hurt matters either.

No, I just have an "entry" I'm afraid. I've decided this is one of the worst things about my house. You know what they say about first impressions...you can't make another one. I'm doing my best to make the "space" more interesting.

Pattycakes, I hear ya about the over use of the word "space!" (See last sentence above!) I also like your list, btw! It's a very, very good list, imo!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Marcolo: Great rooms are just oversized corner pantries.

I disagree.

For those who are interested in going green, one of the first things you do is build small....fewer materials going in, less to heat and cool and furnish and maintain, smaller footprint, less impact on the environment. And with the housing market flat on its back and the majority of peoples' incomes stagnating at best, the appeal of the mcmansion is on the wane, especially as taxes and fuel costs continue to rise. But people don't want to feel "small" in a smaller house. So it is using design principles like adding visual breaks without walls and eliminating hallways (like Susanka's not so big house) that allow one to maximize square footage use. A great room...whatever it's contents, is a big part of that design.

We used those principles in designing our new home. The design of the great room is what drove the design of the house. Our great room is about 18 x 26 and in that space I have a family room with TV and wood stove, a breakfast nook, a kitchen with an island, bar area and desk area. I have seating for 18 people should I need it. Yet it is a pleasant and cozy space to be in. It is where DH and I spend 90% of our waking hours. This space is incredibly functional and efficient, and certainly not a replacement for a corner pantry.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I like "owner's suite" or "owner's room" much better than "master bedroom", that term has always made me uncomfortable, it's so exclusively masculine (and I am a full on feminist).

Interesting all the takes on foyer, a term never used in my house growing up, we said "front hall", now we say "entry" cuz we live on the water, and the water side is the front. Also, in NNE we called the area right outside of the entrance the "dooryard" a term that I think is pretty much relegated to the history books.

sandyponder


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Yes, Sandy, and "Mistress Bedroom" just doesn't cut it for a feminist alternative, does it? I just refer to it as "the big bedroom." Since our cat owns the house, I'm sure she'd be delighted with either "owner's suite" or "owner's room!" She indeed loves lounging in there. "Queen's suite" would also be acceptable, no doubt.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

How about a new thread for house words?

I'll start, troublemaker that I am....


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Sandyponder and Stinky-gardener, I've picked up the habit of calling it the primary bedroom. That's how it's often named in resort condos and I like the gender neutral sound of it. All other bedrooms are secondary bedrooms rather than guest rooms.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I love the concept of great rooms regardless of the initial motive. They allow the cook to mingle with the rest of the family and make smaller homes open and airy and most of all, make good use of floor space eliminating redundancy.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I like the idea of flex space rather than undifferentiated open space. But large pocket doors, sliding walls and the like are difficult to plan and difficult to build so they work properly.

I think Sarah Susanka has the right idea when it comes to combining but also differentiating spaces from each other.

But the "great room" applied to a room the size of a regular smallish family room but tarted up with a vaulted or double height ceiling so it has the general proportions of a toaster slot is not the right way to do it, imo.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I thought the big family room / kitchen thing was just an "open concept" floor plan. A great room (in my experience) is a large living room / dining room with several activity areas (eating, tv watching, conversation, bookcases, etc) and the kitchen in this configuration is entirely separate.

I use the term front entry because our entrance area is fairly large but undefined by walls. We have a side entrance with a nice door, brick walkway and circular awning that does have a hall that leads to the library. It must look more "foyer" than the front because we often find packages there :-)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I'm with you, Palimpsest - when I imagine my dream house, it has a high, wide, long open room with the car entrance and the pantries and utility spaces in one end. That's followed by the kitchen, with a big island facing the rest of the room. Just beyond that, thick walls full of storage that only come five or so feet into the room from either side, leading into a dining room, followed by a living room separated in the same way with storage walls.

In fact, I want thick walls with storage in them everywhere, lots of open space, and big high windows with deep sills.

I calm down now...


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

"Great rooms" had zero to do with Susan Susanka in their inception. They started exactly the way I said--a way for builders to cheap out. New production homes certainly are not noted for compact layouts, lavish trimwork or complex vistas to create the illusion of space as Susanka recommends. They're noted for garish, energy-hogging ceiling heights in the "foyers" and great rooms, and corners cut on trim and room divisions.

I like the toaster analogy. I always described them as sitting in the bottom of a milk carton.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Marcolo, you are so right about how much bad design there is in open plans. We've all walked into big expensive houses and wondered where the bank teller window was, or how to get to the train platform, or when Quasimodo was going to appear to ring the bells!

The careful carving out of rooms, paying close attention to proportion, ratios of dimension, including hints at the divisions between functional areas where walls are opened or barely there, and the sculpting of space with light by the placement, dimensions, and orientation of windows is an art form that is not well understood.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Bronwynsmom, would you be so kind as to show us what the poorly designed floor plan looks like and what a well-designed one looks like, based on the elements you mentioned? (That is, if you have pics readily available that demonstrate poor layout vs. good one!)

Thanks!

Another question: I know someone who will start a new build in the Fall. She is still in the tweaking stages of the design process with her architect. What would you suggest a friend avoid and what would you suggest is important to pursue? I know, I know...big questions. A couple of ideas you feel strongly about for pros/cons would be very appreciated. Thanks again!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Golly.
I'll have to think about that.

The question about floor plans is difficult to answer in this context, because it's really a matter of three dimensional space. The volumes are as important as the length and width and arrangements of rooms in a large open plan.

A good plan satisfies a host of requirements, some of them true for every house, some of them site-specific, and some of them intensely personal.

So let me think about it, and perhaps recommend some thoughts and resources. It may take a little time to assemble things to show you, and I'm a bit busy at present, so please bear with me.

Meanwhile, there are others here who are wise about these things.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Marcolo, Listerine was an antiseptic horse rub at its inception but that doesn't mean it isn't successfully used as a mouthwash now. I didn't say that Susanka had anything to do with the inception of the "great room" concept, but that they are often used, and very successfully, as part of her home designs.

Granted, I have been in many awful spaces, though I'd hardly call them great rooms...one family room like an elevator shaft....one 3 story high family room with a one story kitchen off to one side so it felt like an armpit sticks in my mind in particular. Many spaces that felt public rather than private, and certainly not homey.

So while 'great rooms' can be awful, they can also be wonderful. So my only point is don't dismiss all of them as "corner pantries."


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Thanks, Bronwynsmom. I realize I asked grandiose questions. I do appreciate whatever time and effort you can devote to answering. You and Marcolo really intrigued me with your last couple of posts. I know y'all touched on some key principles, but I can't fully grasp the concepts y'all are speaking about. (I know they are important though!)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

The original great room in terms of a combined-purpose room was probably the finished basement. Most people I know who had a finished basement kept it as one big room that had a seating area, a game/cards/eating table, and a bar, often with kitchenette.

I don't know that the original concept had origins in being cheap. The first couple I saw were actually pretty large rooms in largish houses, and were not completely open to the kitchen. I think the application of "great room" to any living area open to the kitchen is kind of a cheat though, (and pretentious as a result).

Again I will bring up Susanka, not in comparison, but in contrast, because while she uses certain features to make small spaces flow together and to create long vistas, she would never aggrandize a 10x12 room by popping up a ceiling and calling it a "great room."


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

OK, then you are talking about something different than I. Most likely I'm wrong.

I think of a great room as a multi-function space without walls. If it was a single function space, even with a vaulted ceiling, it would still be that space. So in the case of the family room I saw that was like an elevator shaft (the room was probably only 18x20 and the ceiling was 2 1/2 stories high with a fireplace clad in gray stone that went up to the ceiling no less!) was a family room. I thought great rooms were called that because they were greater than the single function of say a dining room or a family room.

But it sounds like you and Marcolo are talking about any family room space with a vaulted ceiling as a great room. Is that right? If that is the case then we need a new term for my room as it has no vaulted ceiling but it does have the family room, breakfast nook and kitchen all in one space with visual cues to make the spaces feel separate without walls....a la susanka. (I certainly never called it a great room to be pretentious...only because that's what I thought it was.)

We used to call the finished basement play rooms rumpus rooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Origins of


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Jterrilynn, I just revisited this thread and saw the nice remark you shared with me in response to my comment about "pink as neutral." I missed your post previously, so I didn't thank you earlier since I didn't see it before! It really perked up my day to find your kind words.

So it's long overdue, but...thanks Jterri!


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

Marcolo's spot on about ways developers looked to cut costs with the analogy of the corner pantry. Yes, they did adopt some progressive ideas that were seen to work, but they sure did often mess them up a lot anyway. How about the chilly "great" room that allowed all the warm air to escape up? Or the ones with the two-store ceiling except for the second-floor hall overhanging part of the "great" room--like a humongous soffit placed where the upstairs needed it to be, but not exactly an asset to the typical great room.

I recently looked on Craig's List for a desk that was already configured for a computer setup (I wanted to hide it all in a multifunction piece in our tiny vacation living room). Ohmygosh, did I find a bunch of junk. To save money, manufacturers had marketed "modern" designs with open shelves instead of drawers (big production cost saving) and just left an open shelf to set pencils or whatever on. Hide the tower behind a door? Sadly old fashioned, modern is SIMPLE (cost pared further). Letting the cords hang free is "honest," design with integrity. This kind of paring away at construction costs, like the corner pantry, is all too analogous to what was done in many, many subdivisions.

As for Susan Susanka, tract homes did get bigger and more elaborate, with some of the worst problems addressed (circulate that warm air) but if you look at her books you'll see that big gorgeous tract homes are specifically the ones she faults and feels we really need alternatives too.

(BTW, foy-er was what I originally called our 12x12 9'-ceiling room with the front door, but it unfortunately makes my daughter feel a need to correct my pronunciation. Fifteen years post adolescence and I'm still embarrassing her. :)


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

I have occasionally been asked what to "do" with some of these double-height foyers or small footprint rooms, and my first response is usually to think about putting a Floor in it.


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Great rooms have been around since the 60s and named such. I lived in two houses during that time when the kids were young and both had this design...CA. Along with a separate living room which was rarely used. And 10 years ago I fell for the layout you just mentioned with a "plant" shelf high on the open ceiling. They could have added 2' to the "master" upstairs using the lost shelf area. Yes, it was a standard builder grade and matched the many others seen. They still had a separate living room, but staged as an office.

On the other hand, our home on the ranch was open concept and never called it the great room. I don't think we called it anything,, other than what each area was.

Am in a smaller home now without an open concept and do miss it at times. But sure is well insulated and guessing my utilities are much lower. There is a master which is a necessary listing. Even if just a bigger room separated from the other two bedrooms, which my house has with higher ceilings. I use it as my office/art room. Wouldn't know what to call my personal bedroom (Mine?).

Back to design past, my norm to this day is comfort and color. Good furniture from rustic to clean lines. As I get older there is less "things" to dust. Can't get away from ranch life, perhaps memories to hang on to. Except for the plantation shutters, which will always be loved. Have never been into heavy drapes, flowered patterns or lace anything. Never got into the mediteranian heavy furniture or what they now call rustic pine. I've made my decorating mistakes, but this forum keeps me in line and have fun seeing all for new ideas.

I can drool over all the new kitchens, my maple is driving me nuts. They should have listed these as...gone. Even if they are painted...gone.

As an old computer graphics engineer, I can tell you that furniture (PB, RTA, etc) started with companies designing their office furniture and layouts. Computers interacting with equipment that cuts the pieces. Almost anything not hand built or by quality manufacturers is done this way. Kit houses are coming back using the same process. Will never be a Sears kit house. Maybe this process will become more defined and better quality. But it is here to stay and does allow many to buy furniture they may not have been able to afford. Other than PB prices, PB has done a darn good job on marketing. Wonder when they will be added to the list.

We all have our own style, tis' called home. Apologies to those who decorate with what I mentioned. I see many of your homes that call to me, but never get there completely. Have used many ideas and resources which I love trying.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

"My brother/sil are "able" but they don't! They still have 70's mediterranean/Spanish!! I want to say something, but don't have the heart. She watches hgtv so you would think she would get a clue. ;o)"
Is it really that heinous a crime?
To have "dated" furnishings?
Are we too overly concerned with keeping up with some invisible arbiter of current decorating?
If said family likes their home's vibe, if the home is functional, and if they have no need to stay "hip, hot, and happening" why should that disturb anyone?

I for one respect people who go their own way and pay no attention to fashion divas and consumerism.
And that's what this is- sheer consumerism.
Many, many people have far more important matters to concern themselves with than following every decorating "rule" or trend.
Many people are lucky to have a sofa and the fact that it is out of style matters not in the least.
IMO the entire industry is a study in keeping up with the Jonses.
Good grief- buy what you like, use the colors that make you happy and stop asking everyone else what to do.

:)

Cearbhail

I have to agree with you. I never got into keeping up with trends when it comes to my home. I work and spend my hard earned money on what I like and makes me say Ahhhh when I walk through my door. I'ts my home so why should someone elses opinion determine how I decorate. When I was sixteen I fell in love with the Queen Anne rice carved four poster bed set and said that is what I will have when I grow up. Well I am currently lying on that very same Queen Anne rice carved four poster bed at the age of forty-four. I'ts real wood and in great shape even after twentythree years.

I have just recently decided to get a new bedroom set and religate this one for a guest bedroom. Still love it but now I have my eye set on a gorgeous tufted leather sleigh bed. Which I will more than likely lay on for the next 20 before I am ready for a change.

I decorate my home the way I like and yup I still love a picnic plaid sofa and chairs for the family room off the red white and blue kitchen featuring apples with picnic plaid ribbon. :) My money, my house, my choice. The words trendy and dated don't matter to me because when it comes to my home the only word that matters is happy.

Oh yeah I still have a television with a big butt on the back too in my enclosed entertainment unit in teh livingroom. Why? Because it still works and I don't see the point of getting rid of it just to get a flat screen. Your house do what you want. If someone else doesn't like it just say "O.K" and keep on being happy with your choice.


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black thumb, I like your post and agree with everything you have to say.I also have a fat tv in my bedroom enclosed in an armoire, which I have read are very 'out'. I have 2 armoires in my home and I love them both. They arent going anywhere. I much appreciate an original house that suits the owners than a house that looks like a Drs. waiting room, which I think all the staged homes look like. I prefer a homey, unique kitchen that looks like it gets use than one that looks like no one goes in there unless to polish the granite and ss. In my younger days I was always trying to keep up with trends but over the last 10 yrs. I have become very happy and comfortable with favorite furnishings I have collected over the years. I think our home reflects our hobbies and style.
I have a 'greatroom' which I have always interpreted to be a large living room area instead of 2 separate living areas. As empty nesters, it works for us. When our kids were at home the separate 'formal' livingroom was nice because the kids and their friends could hang out in there. Now it would be a totally unused room.
Lastly, I have a dreaded wall paper border in our guest bath. I picked it, hubby hung it and 12 yrs. later I still love it. It's also staying.
I love home decorating, looking at magazines, watching some shows and reading home decor websites. I also will decorate my home to suit our lifestyle and worry about trends and fads at all.


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That's the part I don't get. There is nothing wrong with not changing your decor. But it is odd to me that people who don't change their decor - but have the money to do so - would spend any appreciable time on a home decorating forum. I'm not interested in changing out my car every few years and much of my clothing is old. Both by choice. But I don't post on car forums or fashion forums.


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I never thought about it until I read Blackthumb's post, but the two televisions we own sport "big butts." We're not big tv people, so they serve the purpose. When one breaks, a space-saving, streamlined flat screen would be nice, but buying one is not on my short list of priorities. I never thought about how dated our tv's must appear to others until now. But it's okay. They fit in with the rest of our decor!


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graywings, the fun thing about decorating forums is that you can get many great ideas for your own home and its just plain fun to see other's homes. Decorating is not just what the 'experts' dictate, most of which is not very practical for the majority. I love looking at people's pictures of their homes and the wonderful things they have done. Some I love, some not so much, but its fun to look at. I think decor is such a personal thing, and should be. Example, I see many pictures of beautiful, 'in', expensive kitchens that people have posted. I enjoy and can appreciate the beauty and design. Then I see the kitchen of a person that has lived in their house for 40-50 yrs.,full of personal items collected over the years. The appliances are old, the cabinets old and lovingly repainted, the furniture cleverly mix matched.These folks want to participate too. And....their kitchens are wonderful! Why do you think that only those interested in the latest trends don't appreciate home decor? Home decor is fun whether you can afford to redo every 5 yrs. or are happy with your family hand me downs and items you love. I love it when I see an idea and think, "I love that" and I can acheive that with what I already have.


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Janetz

You are absolutely right. I enjoy looking at other homes and watching all those HGTV shows. You can take any idea and tailor it to fit your taste. Also I may want to share my photos too and there will be others on the boards that can appreciate my taste and enjoy looking.

I might not change out the furniture pieces but I can try a new wall color or change the comforter, there is more to decorating than throwing out all the old and bringing in all new. I enjoy changing the look of a room just by adding or taking away various accessories. I get to keep the pieces I love but still when I want it have a fresh look.

Stinky-gardener

Those big butt televisions will probably last for ever! lol


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I agree with you, janetaz. I also post on fashion forums though I've never owned a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. I enjoy talking with people about fashion, just as I enjoy talking with people about decor. If I wasn't having a good time, I wouldn't be here.


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I've heard granite countertops have been out for several years, so when I went to look for new ones during our kitchen remodel I checked out quartz and caesarstone first. I just wasn't impressed with them as I was the granite. I don't think it will go out of style. I have to say black granite is so low maintenance, too. It doesn't need sealing and I can spill anything on it and get it off (including paint :/).

My husband and I are remodeling and we were talking about what we would do if we custom built a house. We both agreed that formal dining rooms are as much of a waste of space as formal living rooms. We'd rather just have a big breakfast room instead. We also have a great room, but it gets insanely noisy. Next time we'll have some separation between the kitchen/breakfast room and the family room. I wouldn't necessarily put up a wall between the two, but I'd have it offset to the side like an L shape they used to build in smaller track homes. That's just my preference though.


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So many people dine exclusively in their "breakfast" rooms or areas adjoining the family living area. When will the very idea of calling a home's real dining space a breakfast room be considered hopelessly dated? So overdue--nothing's as inappropriate as that piece of silliness.

Yes, Jjdcl, your thoughts brought that one up. Surely it's that redundant table gathering dust in a side room you're shucking off and your dining room that you do, of course, intend to keep? :)


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The table in the room adjacent and open to my kitchen only seats four. Eating a meal with more than four people takes place in the room adjacent but not open to my kitchen. Other activities take place at both tables depending on the number of people involved, the time of day and the season...Internet browsing, book reading, game playing, puzzle working, crafting, letter writing, package opening, package wrapping, list making, conferencing, etc. Sometimes, both tables get used for the same meal with the smaller table used for snacking, conversation and meal preparation and the larger table used for eating the resultant meal. I like both tables and both rooms and would like to have a similar arrangement in any house where I live.


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We both agreed that formal dining rooms are as much of a waste of space as formal living rooms.

For me I need both. I'm also not a big fan of open floor plans I need to have the ability to close off sections. Plus I love hallways. Twisting winding hallways that takes you different places. lol


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Is not using your dining room but for holidays or special events really all that new? I'm originally from the mid west and only knew of a handful of people that used their dining room on a regular basis. Almost everyone I knew had a small table in the kitchen. That's the table where all the housewives had coffee in the afternoon with friends. Game playing, crafts and homework were done there as well as breakfast and dinner. Same at my grandma's house! She had a huge table in the middle of the kitchen and that is where all the action was. Grandma was also a baker and did all her wedding cakes there. The formal dining room was for holidays and special dinners. I'm in my early fifties and that is how it has been most of my life. I have lived in Florida since 1978 and it's the same here. Maybe it's different in other states? And, having a formal room that does not get used regularly is not really all that new either. Formal rooms, parlors and such are as old as the hills. They used to be the "nice" rooms kids were not allowed in as they must remain pristine to entertain adult friends. Sometimes we think things have changed much more than they have. Granted you did not see a computer in the mix then.


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Why do you think that only those interested in the latest trends don't appreciate home decor? Home decor is fun whether you can afford to redo every 5 yrs. or are happy with your family hand me downs and items you love. I love it when I see an idea and think, "I love that" and I can achieve that with what I already have.

So you are changing your decor, you just are not doing a major reno? That I understand, and I think it is what the vast majority of us do. But I read posts that make it sound like the posters have decorated their homes and then stopped and never changed anything again. If you are making changes, even small ones, then you are following trends to some extent.


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jt, I did a topic a year or so ago asking why they don't make kitchens with kitchen tables anymore. I'm in the midwest too, and all of the older homes have kitchens like that, and I love them. So much fun playing cards and snacking away. lol.

Pal, my son is building a home with a two story foyer. Thankfully I convinced them to add an extra room there for a study or simply for storage.

The pro's can tell us all they want that granite is "out", but I say b.s. LOL.


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Yeah Oakley, all the kitchens in the neighborhood I grew up in were at least the size of the family room or close too. They were large in comparison to the over all square footage of the home. It's a good thing to as everyone who did not have a full basement had to house that new fangled washer and dryer in the kitchen area. Of course down the road people added on or found new areas for the washer and dryer but at first they all went in the room with "room" that already had electric and plumbing.


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So my 3 day old granite counters are passe? I don't think so. I doubt that these particular designers will ever come to a consensus on the One True Counter. Then people wouldn't feel compelled to keep buying new counters.

I looked at a lot of counter choices, but Absolute Granite seemed like the most practical. I don't to get concrete just because it is hip right now.


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RE: Seven deadly sins of dated decorating

So my 3 day old granite counters are passe? I don't think so. I doubt that these particular designers will ever come to a consensus on the One True Counter. Then people wouldn't feel compelled to keep buying new counters.

I looked at a lot of counter choices, but Absolute Granite seemed like the most practical. I don't need to get concrete just because it is hip right now.


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