Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sad neutrals, begone!

One of the few good things to have come out of Social Security withholding my benefits for way too many months was that it allowed me more time to think about some of the things I want to do with this apartment. 

That's also one of the bad things. Over the past few months, I've spent an inordinate amount of time checking out various blogs and online magazines for redecorating tips. Kitchens are the biggest moneymakers -- HGTV quotes HomeAdvisor as saying a regular kitchen remodel today can cost between $14,611 and $41,432, or about $27,000 as the midpoint -- so of course there are a blue billion articles full of advice on improving your kitchen. Bathrooms are the next biggest gold mine in terms of remodeling, so there are a lot of articles on that, too. 

I say "moneymaker" and "gold mine" with good reason. Virtually all of these articles -- like every article about redecorating in general -- is designed to make you feel inadequate. Because their advertisers, or in the case of influencers, the companies bankrolling them, want to convince you to do something to make your home more comfortable/luxurious/minimalist/maximalist/coastal grandma/spa-like/easy to sell/whatever. For the last few years, as near as I can tell, what you were supposed to be striving for was a farmhouse kitchen with a minimalist aesthetic everywhere else, or something. Anyway, there was a lot of beadboard. And everything from the walls to the sofas to the kitchen cabinets was supposed to be white. A slight deviation from white was allowed, as long as you stuck to neutrals. So beige was okay. Then gray had a moment, and so did greige, an unholy alliance of beige and gray.

It should have been apparent that once designers got on board with greige, neutrals had just about run their course. So now the self-appointed experts are doing a 180. Color, we are now told, is in. No more sad beige! 

Some folks have not quite gotten the hang of this color thing. Here's a screenshot of a Facebook ad I've seen a couple of times. It's from a video posted by an influencer (or maybe the company set up the account themselves -- it's hard to tell these days) who says that with this quilt, her sad beige days are officially over! 

So I'm looking at this and thinking, "If that's your idea of color, honey, we need to talk."

Alert hearth/myth readers who have seen my art quilt headboard and who recall the saga of the stripey chair will understand why I say that. I've never been a fan of neutrals; I lived in apartments for too many years, where all the walls were white unless you painted them yourself and made them white again when you moved out or you didn't get your deposit back. If there's something in my space now that's a neutral color, there needs to be a damn good reason for it -- and resale value is not a good reason when you don't intend to move again for a really long time. And there had better be something fun nearby to balance the bland.

Now I get it. I do. Bright colors take some getting used to. Generation Jonesers may have a leg up on it, given that pop art was, well, popular in the late '60s and early '70s. Some of it is still around; Peter Max, who helped to define the genre, did this poster for Earth Day 2000, 24 years ago tomorrow: 

That's another screenshot, this one from Max's website. You can buy this poster there -- signed and dedicated! -- for $355.

Decorating experts and influencers have a long way to go before we're back to including pop-art colors regularly in interior design. Baby steps for now, I guess.


I have to share this with y'all. At the bottom of the article on coastal grandmother style (admit it -- you thought I was kidding about coastal grandmother style) was a link to an offshoot they called coastal cowgirl. I don't think it took.


Oh hey, there's an update to my kitchen remodeling adventure: The new countertops are finally on their way! I'll share pics when they're here in a couple of weeks. Also, the twelve-year-old fridge started to go bad, so I replaced it this week. I'm hoping the stove will hang on 'til I have the cash to get an induction model (and new cookware that will work on it, which is another story).


These moments of colorful blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Happy Earth Day!

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