It’s 2016: Let’s All (Re)Decorate For Fuller House!

So remember a couple months ago when Netflix (pause: I was typing this and a Fuller House commercial legit came on the TV – it’s weird this popular streaming service is advertising on network TV. ANYWAYS) released the first promo for Fuller House? If you don’t, maybe it’s because you blocked it out after CRYING SO MANY UNEXPECTED TEARS.

It was the first look into the new era of a Tanner family, or rather “Fuller” family since that’s DJ’s married name now, and how things have changed since 1995. Specifically, it’s comprised of shots of an empty house, which looks all too familiar and different at the same time. For many of us, this home isn’t just the ‘house that built the tanners’, it’s the ‘house that built me’ as a viewer as well. But of course they can’t keep the exact same set from 20 years ago. It’s TV, things need to updated and shown that time has passed, so in conjunction with our ongoing series Let’s All Decorate, Let’s All RE-Decorate one of America’s most beloved houses and explore its new life in 2016.

 

The Living Room

THEN:

This living room is arguably one of the most recognizable in TV, and while its architecture is a classic San Francsisco Victorian row house, it was a product on the 1990s inside. In addition to the random decorative tchotchkes (tiny man with trumpet?) the most notable piece is the white and blue plaid couch. It’s been there since the pilot but what’s always been interesting to me is that it seems so small for a house of 9 people and a dog. And no other seating options? Actually if I recall correctly they sometimes had two chairs that weren’t present at all times?

NOW:

I still am unclear whether Danny still lives here (I’m assuming Jesse and Becky and Joey all moved out?), but he probably is the only one since DJ moves back in so easily. That could explain why not much has changed except for the pillows. WHY IS THAT DINGY COUCH STILL THERE??? Wake Up, San Francisco has got to pay you enough to buy a new one.

The Kitchen

THEN:

This kitchen boasts quintessential ’90s decor wood paneling, a matching wood kitchen table, cabinets, and chairs – Danny clearly wanted the seat cushions to match the living room couch.

NOW:

What’s interesting is that most of the kitchen is the same, save for new appliances and the backsplash near the stove, which I’m guessing has more to do with the fact producers wanted to keep the familiarity of the set but make it modern. Like how those seat cushions are the same, but 2016 is apparently the year the Tanners are super into signage (see:’eat’ and ‘home’ pillow on the couch.

D.J. and Stephanie’s/ Stephanie and Michelle’s Room

THEN:

I always thought this room was so cool- it had a bay window AND enough room for a table and chairs! The posters on the wall are always fun to look at and see where we were in this sliver of pop culture. Also Deej’s bed with the metal red frame is extremely 90s, while Steph’s bed looks like Danny got that bedding as a hand-me-down from his mom.

NOW:

Screenshot 2016-02-23 00.16.34

Per the trailer, Deej is living back in her old room, but instead of sharing the room with her sister, she’s sharing the room with her baby boy. She’s exchanged the George Michael posters for classier rorschach test-looking art pieces and Mr. Pillow for a plushy owl. Also she has three kids, so there’s that.

Michelle’s/DJ’s Room

THEN:

This room started as baby Michelle’s room, which explains the trend in the ’80s and ’90s of slapping a strip of wallpaper with a repeating pattern on the wall. Here, teddy bears are the theme (which is clearly a musical theme with the guys as well), whereas the one in my old room was a strip featuring a series of jovial clowns that definitely aren’t creepy in 2016.

NOW:

Screenshot 2016-02-23 00.26.39

Deej opted to exchange bears for planes, trains and automobiles in her son’s room (so she has two cribs? Or it changes mid-season?). It still has a warm vibe to it like it did before, and her oldest kid will probably come to DJ with a cue card presentation convincing her that he needs to have his own room because he’s too cool and his siblings are annoying and DJ agrees and the oldest and youngest sons switch places.

Jesse’s/Joey’s Room

THEN:

This particular picture is the Joey era of the room, as distinguished by the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin wall posters in the background. JOEY WAS A COMEDIAN, OK?

NOW:

Screenshot 2016-02-23 00.27.00

I’m assuming this is Kimmy’s room (she moves in to help DJ), since it’s bright and eccentric just like ostrich-owning Gibbler. In this scene she is literally doing the Hammertime dance because she can’t get out of the 90s. If there was a lava lamp in here next to a rainbow wax mold of her hand with a peace sign, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Joey’s Room/Jesse’s Recording Studio

THEN:

Before Joey more upstairs, he lived in the basement, a fully carpeted and furnished living area that was all his. Again, Charlie Chaplin continues to be an inspiration for Joe, and his lounge furniture a) has a random white design on it and b) easily looks like it could be patio furniture.

NOW:

Screenshot 2016-02-23 00.27.41

My best guess is this room is now Stephanie’s living quarters. We still don’t know what she’s been up to all these years, but if this is her room, I’m theorizing she’s a world traveler who teaches yoga, based on the couch threads, possible sombrero on the staircase and Indian-style pillow with an elephant on it. Or she could be like, a 4th grade teacher who’s really into global studies.

It’s 1996: Let’s All Decorate Our Childhood Bedrooms!

In this Let’s All Decorate, we’re taking it back to 1996 – one of the summers that stands out sharpest in my memory, although I’m not sure why. The Olympics were on TV and I was obsessed with the entire U.S. Gymnastics team and their flat snappy hair clips. My brothers and I knocked a pint of wall primer onto the hall carpet imitating old people at a wedding dancing the Macarena. I spent my days at acting camp, falling hard for improv. Mitzi, my beloved, gentle mutt, slipped out of the front gate and was never seen again. My mission in life was to be the kind of person who owned a bra, and by fall I had one (I concede that it was, and is, completely unnecessary).  Inspired by the summer’s hit film Harriet The Spy, I took to observing my inner-city neighbors and writing down their activities in a notebook … for about two weeks, when I forgot. There were kind of a lot of drug deals, to be honest. And with my older sister about to head off to her first year of college, we were all shuffling bedrooms.

Nothing says “child of privilege” more than getting your very own bedroom, and being given permission to pick out a new bedspread, wallpaper, and accessories. I took the mission very seriously for an almost-10-year-old: I went antiquing. However, most of my planning consisted of flipping through the giant fall Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs and dreaming about the perfectly coordinated tween bedroom.

A Stupid Comforter

THIS EXACT SET. Yes. The back had pink dots and teal bows.

Now, as an almost-fifth-grader, I wasn’t going in for licensed character merchandise anymore. But there was a comforter set for any tv show, movie, or hobby you were into. In my previous bedroom I had Minnie Mouse because my mom predicted that I’d only be into Beauty and the Beast for a year of so (so instead I got a character I was never into ever).

Here, you like unicorns? Of course you do. Enough to sleep under them? Hell yes:

Sports? I don’t get it, but sure, why not:

Maybe you’re just generically the kind of kid who likes to listen to music and eat ice cream, probably? (AKA the “your dad’s new girlfriend helped decorate a room in his new townhouse and things are okay, but sort of weird” set)

Curtains That Match The Comforter A Little TOO Well

I have to go put my head between my knees for a sec. Yikes. That’s a sick Mrs. Potts on the bedside table, though. Also: canopy beds. YES. Yes. Like sleeping in your own secret tent/fort every night.

But did anyone have parents who bought the whole curtain/rug/bedding set? Because my mom was always  like “come on, Moll, you can have the comforter but I’m just getting white curtains from K-Mart.” Unlike this nerd (who is probs really great at Carmen Sandiego):

A Bed That’s Trying To Be Something Else

Today my bed is just trying to be a bed. Well, I made the headboard out of an 1800s barn door, so I guess it’s trying to be that, but it’s mostly just a bed. But in 1996, your bed could be anything! It could be a race car, a doll house, or – as I had c. 1999 – a bookcase. I don’t know why beds couldn’t just be themselves but it was sort of a weird time socio-culturally.

Like, look at this lucky freaking kid. You just know that in 2015 she’s one of those girls who has a ridiculously lucrative job doing something vague in marketing and who actually enjoys bridal and baby showers, because her life has been blessed from day one:

By the way, I slept in my nephew’s race car bed last year and it was just like a tiny, awful bed with static electricity on the sides.

A Desk You’ll Never Use

Yeah, you’ll never use that desk. You do your homework at the dining room table.

Above is Abbi Jacobson’s childhood desk, and who knows, maybe she DID use it. Maybe that’s how she became who she is today, by being the kind of person who actually uses her desk.

A Regrettable Chair

Hey, former 90s kid, current adult person! How’s your back feeling? Not awesome? Yeah, that’s because we sat on bean bags and, like, pool toys. The inflatable chair was more late 90s and the bean bag was more early-mid, if memory serves.

Fun fact: my cat used my inflatable chair as a litter box (as it should be, honestly) and then my dad sloshed cat pee everywhere getting it downstairs. So not worth $21.99 from the Delia*s catalog.

A Shelf For Your Treasures and Collections (AKA Beanie Babies and Creepy Porcelain Dolls)

In the 90s, children and old ladies alike were really into collecting useless things. I actually still have a mix of mine and my grandma’s 90s porcelain doll collections in boxes in my attic that I won’t open because they’ll probably start haunting me. Like Kirsten Dunst, pictured above, you probably used your shelves to “express your personality” and stash your Dottie the Dalmation and World Book collection, plus maybe a Sand Art creation or two.

Maybe A Rug That Looked Like A Road?

As far as I was concerned, these were strictly for rich kids and dentist waiting rooms.

It’s 1997: Let’s All Decorate With Sponge Painting!

Welcome to another edition of Let’s All Decorate! It’s 1997. Maybe we’ve discarded our bonnet-wearing geese, and maybe the last of our weird pastel southwestern stuff has been shipped to Goodwill. If we’re really cool, we might even own a giant tv armoire. But if we are creative, artistic, and like to amp up our home decor using household cleaning products, we have some serious sponge painting going on. It’s like when Elaine Benes wondered who was sponge-worthy, we as a people said “NO. The question is what is sponge-worthy?” And then we collectively answered: Everything. Leave no wall un-sponged!

If you’re too young to remember, or just preferred your walls to be one continuous, non-spongy color, let me explain sponge painting. First you’d paint your wall a base color. In modern times, that is where we leave it. But it was 1997, you were blasting Hanson or Jewel on the radio, wearing one of those shirts with one big stripe across the chest, your curled-under-with-a-round-brush bangs hadn’t drooped yet – you were feeling good and you wanted to keep going. Did you have a sponge and a second paint color? Well then you were ready to create a home decorating masterpiece trainwreck! You’d get a bigass sponge – not a flat kitchen sponge but a big old textured mofo. You’d dab it into paint color number two, then you’d just freaking blot it all over your walls. I mean, you’d re-up the paint when it ran out, which was often because it’s a SPONGE whose job is to absorb stuff. Like, the sponge tried to prevent this decorating atrocity from even happening, but we just kept at it.

You could have more or less overlap depending on how much of the “base” you wanted to show. You could leave the sponge ghosts loud and proud instead of overlapping, like these brown kitchen people. Yeah, that was not how you were supposed to do it.

Also, it helped if your base and sponge colors were variations of the same color instead of… this:Sometimes sponge painting made it look like your house was overtaken by a mud-tornado or a sewage explosion:Sometimes it looked like you chewed up paint and then regurgitated it atop other paint, which doesn’t really make sense, but then again neither does painting your walls with a cleaning implement:But be careful not to press too much paint into your corners! Or actually who cares, it’s all terrible:But hey, if you sponge painted your counters, maybe they’d look like marble!

NO, oh my God just kidding, it would look like your cat walked through tar then trip-trapped across your sink.

You could even sponge up your dresser even though looking at it kind of triggers my vertigo.You could combine your sponging with solid paint and wallpaper, too. It was a way to “mark your territory” for all future homeowners, because this mixed-media masterpiece can’t be easy to remove.

Okay, but why? Look, I’m not an outsider. I was all about the “texture” and “interest” that sponge painting provided. I sponge painted a table and a guest bedroom at my parents’ house. So this is not the perspective of one of those “flat-painters” or “wallpaper people”: I was THERE. I remember. I just don’t totally understand.

Like most members of my generation, I cannot pass up an opportunity to shift the blame to Baby Boomers. Their kids were growing up and they had more time to sink into household projects. This was their answer to a childhood in post-war houses that were painted in solid colors, I guess. Always the rebels, those boomers. Obviously I sponge painted as a child, so sure, my generation was in on it. And after a lifetime of “everyone is special” and “you all get a trophy” we believed that maybe we were decorating savants. But with most decorating trends, “so simple a child could do it” isn’t really an endorsement.

Maybe there weren’t generational factors at play. Maybe it was just the final gasp of 90s DIY culture. Maybe El Nino led to an explosion in the sea sponge population. Or maybe we just all lost our damn minds for a while there.

It’s 1999: Let’s All Decorate With Giant Armoires To Hide Our TVs!

It’s another installment of Let’s All Decorate!, a series where we explore the design trends of the not-so-distant past! Today we look at what happened after the geese in bonnets and pastel southwestern decor was sent to Goodwill.

A wise man once said “when you’re living in America at the end of the millennium, you’re what you own.”

And when you were living in America at the end of the millennium, one of the things you owned was probably a bigass faux French-Country armoire that you hid your tv in.

We just all sit facing this closed up armoire GUYS IT’S TOTALLY NATURAL.

The question of how to make your television seem appealing is as old as TV itself. In the 50s, televisions were encased in these weird wooden tv boxes that were probably supposed to make them seem like furniture. My grandparents used one their whole lives. By the ‘70s, a lot of families had TV stands with shelves on the side and a big cut-out hole for the TV.

Raise your hand if you grew up with one of these guys; now raise your hand meekly if your parents still have it.

By the late 90s, we had moved beyond that. Television was no longer novel and impressive. All the fanciest people didn’t have giant televisions, they were bragging that they didn’t own one. What’s a TV junkie to do?

Sometime around 1997, some brilliant mind came up with a solution. Oversized, plush furniture was in vogue, and we all wanted to look like we lived in a cushy French country house. Except, with television. Because we’re Americans. So why not hide the TV in a giant tv sized armoire?

I’ll tell you why not. Because that was weird. First of all, most people’s TV armoires had the doors flung open all of the time anyway, because – will wonders never cease – people like to watch their televisions.

Second, why is your TV a secret? Are you actually embarrassed that people will enter your living room and know that you like to watch the NBC comedies on Thursday night? Do you even remember the late ‘90s? That TV block was amazing. I’d be ashamed NOT to watch it.

They even watched TV on TV.

And finally, is an armoire at all BETTER than a TV? If you’re going to be embarrassed about the state of your home, it’s probably worse to have guests think that you have so little clothing storage that you have to keep your armoire in the living room. Unless you are Belle (Poor Provincial Town Belle), and that thing is going to fling open its armoire arms and dress you in the finest French country fashions, it’s not a piece of furniture that needs to stay out in the open.

I can’t blame Americans for trying. At the time, I thought the TV armoire was a great look. Trading Spaces was about to hit the airwaves, and we were trying to channel our inner Grace Adlers. It replaced an unsightly television with a classy yet chunky piece of furniture. Then flat screen televisions came onto the scene, and as quickly as they appeared, the armoires were all sent back to… France? Maybe? Bedrooms? Closets? Where did they go?

Actually, a lot of people are finding fun ways to upcycle their TV armoires. And other people are still using them, which isn’t a terrible option if you don’t watch TV much or if it fits your living room. At this point they aren’t as ubiquitous as they used to be, so if you have a TV armoire today you aren’t following trends, you’re following your heart.

The point is, it took us decades, but eventually we realized that televisions are made to be watched, and hiding it in a weird piece of furniture doesn’t make it more attractive. No, what makes a television attractive is what is on it. Or who is on it. Whatever.

It’s 1995: Let’s All Decorate With Pastel Southwestern Stuff

Welcome to another edition of Let’s All Decorate!, where we explore the baffling interior design trends of days past! Today we look into a craze that swept the nation in the 1980s and 1990s, when pastels reigned supreme and appropriation was king. Long before we were all wearing “tribal print” shorts and flats, our parents were decorating in “Southwestern” style. Today, my friends, our walk down memory lane is lined with cacti.

It’s 1995. You’re a mom shopping out of the J.C. Penney catalogue, and you’re looking to revamp your home’s current look. All of those geese in bonnets and powder blue gingham are so 1890 1990. It’s 1995, Clinton is in office, TLC is on the radio, and “Navajo” motifs are all over page 178 of the fall Sears catalogue. You are modern, you are edgy, you are worldly, and now you own peach and seafoam lamps based on Native American vases. You are my mother. Hi, mom.

I think there were a few months when ducks in bonnets and “Southwestern” lamps lived in harmony in my childhood home. That’s before the Southwestern lamps killed themselves. One day one of my brothers knocked over one of the lamps. It was made of powdery terra cotta, and it shattered. The lamp was quickly replaced. Months later, we broke another one. My mom declared that the next person to break one of those lamps was going to pay for it themselves. Not a week later, she knocked one over dusting. Elizabeth Bishop had it right: “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” Those lamps were freaking ugly, and eventually, they lost the will to exist.

It wasn’t just my family: plenty of middle-class Americans – some from the Southwest, but just as many from the Northeast like us – wanted to paint our living rooms with all the Colors of the Wind. Possibly in Benjamin Moore’s Blue Corn Moon.

This living room from Ugly House Photos is peak Department Store Southwest. Note the pastel teal, the Native American porcelain doll, and what appears to be a Horn Of Plenty on the side table:

And how about this bedroom? America: where we will take your sacred land and build a strip mall on it, then fill the strip mall with a Pottery Barn that sells knockoffs of your art and furniture. I do really appreciate how they incorporated both a canopy bed and tiny rodent pelts.

 

Faux painting was a 90s decorating trend I’d rather forget. We all remember sponge painting and marbling, but this home, featuring faux primitive cave etchings, really takes the cake.

Is this a set from the smash tv hit Hey Dude? No, it’s a house with dehydrated cow skulls. If it looks like clip art scenery from Oregon Trail, maybe it doesn’t belong in your house. Or maybe it does.

 

I believe the following look combines the 90s penchant for Southwestern motifs with our brief love affair with Magic Eye paintings:

 

Falling under the category of “well, at least it’s less bad than the trail of tears, but then again so is just about everything:”

 

You don’t see Southwestern interior decorating much anymore, at least not outside of the bona fide Southwest or actual Native American homes. In those cases, it’s great! But I like to think that in white, northeastern homes, all of these teal and peach monstrosities made like my mom’s J.C. Penney lamps and offed themselves while they could.

It’s 1990: Let’s All Decorate With Geese In Bonnets

Welcome to Let’s All Decorate, an occasional series celebrating the wacky, tasteless, and all-out amazing home decorating fads of days gone by!


In the late ’80s and early ’90s, my mom loved ducks and geese. Actually, let me rephrase that. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, my mom hated ducks and geese. When a favorite walking trail was infiltrated with Canadian Geese and their human-sized poop, she was livid. We raised baby chickens every year – she was a fourth-grade science teacher – but when a colleague hatched ducks, she didn’t understand (“too dirty”). But like so many middle-class women, my mother loved pictures of ducks and geese, as well as ceramic statutes, cookie jars, and wallpaper borders. It is as though at some point around 1988, all of the moms of the world got together, probably over Snackwells cakes and an episode of Oprah, and decided hey, let’s all decorate with ducks in bonnets.

When I really think about it, the bonnets were the weird part. The “put a bird on it” trend is still going strong, so obviously people like surrounding themselves with the ephemera of avian life. Fine. But those birds are living wild and free, you know, like birds do. The ducks and geese of the late ’80s and early ’90s were adorned like women from yesteryear. I have so many questions about this. Did the birds put the bonnets on themselves – too much sun on the beak, perhaps? And how would a goose make a bonnet? Did a human dress them in clothes, and if so, why? And who was the first person who thought “hey, ducks are kind of cute, but you know what would be way cuter? If they dressed like a lady from the 1800s!”

Look at this goose, dressed like she’s Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Duck Aunt:

And this freaking bird, gussied up like she’s about to go a-courtin’ with Gilbert Blythe:

Or how about this bird, wearing an apron so she doesn’t muss her feathers while feeding the chickens or whatever:

I’m almost positive my mom had these wall-geese:

This one goose has a shawl, because she’s chilly:And no kitchen was complete without this cross-stitched goose stuff, so all your goose friends would know that you welcomed them:

In 1990, it’s always Goose O’Clock (alternate slogan: “It’s Duck O’clock Somewhere?):It’s 1992. You’re thirsty. Best pour yourself an ice-cold glass of Goose Juice:

So, what social factors caused the Goose In A Bonnet fad? The trend has an almost perfect overlap with the Bush I presidency (1989 – 1993). Coming down from the go-go, Trump-and-taffeta Reagan era, were we all looking for something a little more homey, a little more rustic, a little more “waterfowl in sungear”? If so, it makes perfect sense that our interest in birds dressed like reenactors at a living history museum died just as the cynical mid-90s sprang to life; that when Gen X came into their own, they brought with them a sense of irony that had no room for geese that look like Hollie Hobbie.

Or was it the international tumult of the time –  Tiananman Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Iran-Contra, the Gulf War —  that had us all grappling for stability in the form of ducks outfitted like Strega Nona?
Friends, I think it was none of those things. I think it was pure, all-American bad taste. We talk a lot about all of the neon, day-glo nonsense that was going on 25 years ago, but let’s not forget about pastels. Bathrooms were outfitted with pastel peach and seafoam, with shadowboxes displaying shells and sand dollars. Living rooms had wallpaper borders with pictures of old-timey quilts. While most of the geese are in pale blue – a popular color during the pastel craze – you also see a bit of “dusty rose,” a dirty version of pink that people thought was a good idea.

I wonder if all of our chevron and naked birds and coral-and-teal is going to look as dumb as these Country Geese in 25 years (“Country Geese” is what they were called, and yes, it did take a long time on Google to learn this). I think the answer is maybe. But doesn’t it feel so refreshing to look back and remember a more innocent time, a time when we all said “hey, it’s 1990. The future is now. Let’s all decorate with geese in bonnets?”

Design Spy: Crazy Decorating Styles You See At Open Houses

When my parents put the family home on the market during my freshman year of high school, they knew it was going to be a tough sell. The location could best be described as “drug dealer-adjacent.” The neighborhood even had a nickname – and not a cute New York-y one like LoMoFi or The Fishmonger District. No, it was called The Fatal Crescent, because if there was one thing we loved in the inner city, it was comedic nods to Mesopotamia. They knew that everything had to look amazing during the open house. They almost got it right, until they forgot to remove the laminated Mets poster that covered the buckling section of the wall in the attic bedroom. [I think it somehow explains a lot about me that all of my childhood posters were laminated. NO I CANNOT GET A GRIP. Getting a grip isn’t an option when you’re raised to painstakingly laminate Rose and Jack’s party in third class.] Imagine our dismay to come home and find that a prospective homebuyer had taken down the poster to get a closer look. I mean, God. That shit was loadbearing.

 

Through attending weekly open houses as a homebuyer, I’ve learned that my parents weren’t alone: a lot of folks just can’t get it together. So, as I get increasingly weary of comparing square footage and furnace attributes (who in the fresh hell has OIL HEAT?), I’m taking an almost anthropological interest in home decor instead. Sure, every family is different – some of them cover their buckling walls with Yankees posters, which may not even be laminated – but I’ve noticed some common decor styles:

 

Mormon Mommy Blogger

I’ve written before about my fascination with Mormon Mommy Bloggers, mostly for their effortless ability to do what I cannot: to exist as a generally appealing person who is also a lady. The Mormon Mommy Blogger decor style can be practiced by anyone — even if you aren’t Mormon, even if you aren’t a mommy. You need a bright and cheerful color combo, bird appliques, stripes and chevron, and tons of shit from Etsy. Just go to Etsy on a day – any day at all – hit up the homepage when they feature items that go together, and buy it. Then go to Anthro and buy a bunch of their stuff too. Most items you get will have the word “whimsy” or “tribal” in the description, which makes sense because you are part of the most whimsical tribe of all (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Instructions Included

Some people aren’t able to get through their daily life without signage telling them what to do and where. They may forget to Live, Laugh, and Love if it isn’t written down somewhere. In the kitchen, there is a big sign that says “EAT.” Over the bed: “DREAM”, or, for more whimsical people (but not, like, Mormon-whimsical) “Always kiss me goodnight.” In the family room: “FAMILY.” I’m sort of surprised their bathroom wall doesn’t proclaim “POOP” in Helvetica.

I might do this in my house, but I’ll make it a little more realistic. Kitchen: “REGRET.” Bedroom: “Always spend a half-hour deciding what to fall asleep to on Netflix.” Family room: “DVR.”

Page 104 of the Spring 2011 Pottery Barn Catalog

Decorating comes naturally to some people – and to others, The Pottery Barn catalog comes quarterly. Close enough. These folks will buy a coffee table, and also buy the exact flat bowl, weird twine ball, and candlestick holder that appear with it in the catalog. These houses look nice, but I’d like to see what these people do if you give them an off-book vase or picture.

Mid-20s pastiche

No, not the 1920s, though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more art-deco homes. I’m talking about being over the age of 25 and having never bought furniture on purpose. These people have the plaid couch from their college house, the IKEA desk from their first apartment, the weird rococo chair from their nana’s den, and the dining room table that their parents replaced. I’ll admit that my furniture comes from all kinds of sources, but I make an effort to paint or upholster things so that it all goes together. Mid-20s Pastiche is more of a stylistic melting pot.

The ‘Car Interior’ Interior

I’ve been to a few houses that are very clearly Men’s Houses By Men Who Would Like You To Know They Are Men. Walls are painted a carseat gray. Accents are in some shade of red. There might be black bedding. There’s definitely chrome, and possibly framed car photos. The homeowner definitely uses some sort of hair wax. Ladies, if a gentleman brings you back to a house like this, it’s always okay to make an excuse to leave, because otherwise you might get killed. I don’t know why, but this style sets off my creep-o-meter.

I enjoy being a girl!

This is the female analog to the car interior style – in fact, the houses in these two styles are essentially the adult version of the Barbie/Hot Wheels Happy Meals. You can expect the following: Animal print. Hot pink. Wine glasses with maribou on them. Wall art celebrating martinis. Some sort of artistic depiction of shoes.

This woman doesn’t have a tinted black and white poster print of little girls she doesn’t know with caption “girls just want to have fun!”… but she did in college. There’s a very real possibility that she was in a sorority, but make no mistake — not all sorority alums are like this. She knows exactly which Sex And The City character she and her friends are (she’s “a Charlotte,” but probably more like a Season 1 Shoshanna.)

The Feral Child’s Keeper

This goes beyond babyprooofing – these people are actually afraid of their children. Every surface below six feet is completely devoid of ornamentation. Furniture is bolted to the walls. Bills are stored in something you have to lock. Crayons and markers change locations as soon as kids figure out where they’re stored in case they do some rogue wall coloring. Furniture is covered in sheets (“the one time we took off the sheets Emma-Lynn spilled a gallon of chocolate milk on it”). Floors are covered in dropcloths (“sometimes Ayden trails paint behind him – house paint.” Ayden is a baby). Light switches have duct tape over them (“otherwise Kayler likes to play with the lights” Kayler is over the age of 7). The kitchen has a lock on it. Everything has a lock on it. These people cannot have nice things because their children will ruin nice things (their children are not Mormon). I picture parents setting up the Frozen DVD then slowly backing slowly out of the room, occasionally opening the door a crack to throw in bags of fruit snacks then slamming it so the feral children don’t nip at them.

The Collector

Hummels. Camels. Precious Moments. Lladro. Bells. Teaspoons. Ashton-Drake plates. Madame Alexander dolls. Tchotchkes representing the land of your ancestors, even though they immigrated in the 19th century. These people never met one of something that they wouldn’t rather have 30 of. On the plus: they’re probably super easy to buy Christmas and Birthday presents for.

Crockpot Method

As in: Set It And Forget it! These people decorated their house one time, in the past. These are the best houses to go to because you feel like you’ve entered a time capsule or a living history museum. The classic crockpot house has 60s or 70s decor – big yellow flowered wallpaper, shag carpeting, avocado appliances, a bathroom fit for one of the Pink Ladies. But as more baby boomers move out of the houses they raised their kids in, sometimes you see an 80s or 90s house, with Laura Ashley curtains, light pine tv cabinets, and geese or ducks wearing bonnets.

 

All The World’s A Stage

This house looks awesome. The decor is current but not so trendy that you can’t see living there. It’s natural enough that it doesn’t look like a catalog page. But look closer – is that plastic lettuce in the kitchen? Yep – the house has been staged.

TV Characters’ Bedrooms That I Covet

As a kid, your bedroom is an important place. It’s the only place that’s really YOURS – or maybe shared with one or two other people, but still. It’s a no-grownup zone, and though your parents probably made you clean it and set some parameters, you had a bit of free reign as far as decorating went. I seriously went with it – in fifth grade, when I got a new bedroom, I went antiquing to pick out the right accessories, and pored over catalogs for months until I found the right bedspread. Even now that I’m older, I love seeing character’s home spaces on tv. Like a child’s room, the way these people decorate their bedrooms – the place in their house that outsiders wouldn’t usually see – tells you a lot about their character. Plus, the set designers just make them look really, really cool. Until I was preparing this post, I didn’t realize that set decorator would probably be my dream job. Here are some of my favorites.

Clarissa Darling Obviously, right? Clarissa’s bedroom had everything! Her own computer game system. An amphibian named Elvis. Multicolored, hand-painted furniture. Mismatched quilts. A hat collection. Partially painted-over wallpaper. Hubcaps. License plates. SAM.

Carrie Bradshaw

I know Carrie’s apartment is pretty unobtainable, but I love how her bedroom wasn’t TOO perfect. It was cozy, with bookshelves and a big comfy duvet. Even her radiator was cute. I remember reading an interview with the set decorator back when Sex and the City was still on, and she said that Carrie’s apartment was done in the shades of a bruise, since she was a little brokenhearted when she moved in. While that sounds grody, it’s actually a really pretty color scheme – soft gray, light green, and shades of blue and violet.

Jess Day

While the word “adorkable” could go away forever, this bedroom kind of IS adorably dorky. I love the bright teal wall contrasted with the brick, the clustered prints over the bed, and the fun printed bedspread. I could actually see Jess picking out all of these items. While Jess has some ditzy moments, she’s a teacher so we know she isn’t dumb. I’m happy to see some books in here to remind us of that.

Literally All of the Main Teens in Pretty Little Liars

I like how dark Aria’s room is, actually. Plus the gumwood gives it a craftsman vibe, and all I really want right now is to own a pre-1940s bungalow. My dream Arts and Crafts house is on the market now, about 10K too high and 4 months to early for me to buy it, so this is all a little fresh for me. Anyway.  The window seat is to die for. I’m usually not too into bedroom wallpaper, but this is so soft and pretty with the light furniture and white  french doors. I wish I could find a picture of the whole bedroom, because while the decor is pretty dainty, Spencer has a hardcore desk/bulletin board situation. So Type A! I know at some point we’ll all be over gray as a neutral (we got there with taupe, after all), but Hanna’s bedroom is just so nice. I’m less jealous of the bedroom and more of the adjoining bathroom with a clawfoot tub. I’ve always sort of wanted a white iron bed, so of course I love Emily’s bedroom. Plus an alcove AND a window seat!?! Between that and the cheerful, but not to bright, yellow and green color scheme, this is a winner.

Cora, Countess of Grantham

This image is from http://chameleon-interiors.blogspot.com/2012/02/downton-abbey-putting-downton-to-bed.html, which has a great analysis of Downton Abbey bedrooms, if you’re so inclined.

Really, I love all of the bedrooms in Downton, but I especially like how, despite the heavy furniture and being in a stone castle, this feels breezy and airy. I love the fireplace, too – so cozy! I expect that this bedroom comes fully equipped with a lady whose job it is to brush and braid my hair before I go to sleep. It goes without saying that I picked Cora’s bedroom over Mary’s because a Turkish houseguest didn’t pass away in the bed.

Based on the above list, I think I have some criteria for a perfect bedroom. Sloped ceilings or an alcove, mixed prints, giant plush bedding, books, and some kind of windowseat or built-ins. When I was a kid, I loved kids’ rooms with multiple sets of bunkbeds or rows of beds. Like Madeline, except that I don’t want to live with a dozen French orphan children. Basically, if I end up in a tiny house with a ton of kids, I’ll be all set, decorating-wise. Otherwise, I’m screwed.