Thursday 31 October 2013

Decor Crimes

“Total modernising, but trying to keep the character of the property back to the cottage style.” “60s is Victorian, isn’t it?” “All the doors have been dipped when they moved in 10 years ago.” “This is our Victorian-inspired room”.  “Artex – it’s a bit old-school.” “Corridor rooms.” “The Wow Factor - finished to a very high standard.”
(All from makeover shows and property programmes)

“The copying on show in Milan proves that not only do most designers not read history books, they also don't read magazines they are not in.” (Kieran Long)

“Cheltenham: Staying in the most incredibly middlebrow hotel. I've seen no colour but taupe in days. This is Britain's default genius loci.” (@tomdyckhoff)

“Glade plug-ins, square plates.”

In American sitcoms, a vivid crocheted Afghan over the back of the sofa is a sign we’re in a blue-collar home.

More here.

And some from

Worst interior design fads: Artex walls, avocado bathroom, woodchip walls, removal of original features, fake laminate wood flooring, exposed brickwork on interior walls, brightly coloured Formica kitchens, lino, spiral staircases, wood panelling

Worst furniture fads: built-in bar, mock fireplaces, animal print rugs, net curtains, MDF built-in cupboards, black ash furniture, futons, reproduction "antique" furniture, teak sideboards, multi-functional furniture

(Don’t they know that teak sideboards and lino are really hip?)

If you have a terrace house, please don’t install:
granite worktops
marble bathrooms
ranch-style stone chimney
rustic white-painted door with black iron knocker, horseshoe, nail heads, letter slot
stone cladding, especially multi-coloured

(Of course, it’s your terrace house – do what you like.)

Looks to avoid:
3D plates hung on the wall
60s psychedelia (Instead of opening the doors of perception and ushering in the Age of Aquarius, it immediately became just another décor style or dress fabric.)

an island, with a tiny overhang, and bar stools for eating in the kitchen (So you can’t relax and there’s nowhere to put your knees.)

boutique hotel style
bright overhead lights
bunting made out of remnants
carpet in the bathroom (Especially pink. Especially when it goes up the side of the bath.)
carpets in pubs
converted mill with the machinery in the living room
copying your parents’ décor (your clothes and lifestyle won’t match)
corner bath
cosies for dining chairs
cottagey feel: same old bland interior, with one “rustic” detail
country house hotel style (gilt mirrors, lots of chintz)
country kitchen: science lab with rustic doors

diagonal wood cladding or wall tiles (80s)
divan beds (except they’re comfortable and can double as sofas)
Dralon (velvet-look material for sofas)
exposed stone wall – in your bathroom
exposed stone wall in an old cottage – especially not lacquered (The original inhabitants would have plastered and painted.)
extensions that create a long, narrow room and make the original rooms too dark

faux granite worktops
feature wall with very dark wallpaper
fitted carpet in churches
front and back rooms knocked through to make one long, thin room
furniture blocking a window

Georgian door with fanlight on a 60s council flat or 30s semi (architects call them “embellishments”)
gold Roman blinds

gravel everywhere: on your sitting out area, on a “membrane” with weeds poking through, as parking for 20 cars in front of your McMansion (It’s all over Prince Charles’s faux-old village of Poundbury, I hear.)

huge three-piece suite crammed into a small room
leather sofas or suites
matching curtains and wallpaper

modernist interiors in a Victorian/Edwardian/30s shell. Gutting a 30s house with small rooms, turning it all into one “space”, and filling it with lime-green sub-Eames furniture.

nested tables

new houses based on converted old houses (They’re being built with a long thin “open plan living kitchen dining area” with a window front and back modelled on two knocked-through rooms.)
ochre-toned art (if you want to sell a picture, use lots of red)

painting a decent Edwardian pub exterior in orange/cobalt, orange/jade or lilac/violet (Mid-noughties - they’ve all been repainted brown, black or grey. I wonder why.)

prominently placed family portraits
ragrolling, dados and stencils (80s)
removing all internal walls from a tiny cottage
removing all original features later than 1900
removing half-timbering from a 30s semi
reproduction antique furniture, patterned carpets and Chinese rugs in a modernist flat (pensioner style)
room with a nautical theme

shells in the bathroom (80s whimsical)
sofas and chairs jammed against the wall, miles apart
space wasted on hallways and corridors, especially in a studio
stripped-back inglenook containing a small wood-burning stove
tartan wallpaper/carpets/furniture
turning part of a room into a “kitchen area” instead of making the whole room into a kitchen you can live in
TVs in cupboards or covered with a cloth

varnishing floors, furniture and all exposed wood in pale orange
Victorian conservatory on modernist house
Victorian grate, Regency mantelpiece

Victorian lamp standards in 60s shopping malls
walls covered with clocks and decorative plates
whimsical bronze figurative garden statues (and sculptures of lions made out of chicken wire)

More decor here, and links to the rest.


  1. A friend who helps out at Emmaus - where they take throwout furniture, refurbish it and sell it - says that beautiful Victorian pieces (all the rage when my generation was setting up home) is no good to them at all, they turn them down. What they need is the GPlan stuff - like the teak sideboard mentioned above - and coffee tables and nests of tables, which we thought were the hideous stuff of our parents, to be avoided at all costs....

  2. Nests of tables! But not "Sheraton-style". ;-)

  3. I agree with you that we should not use Granite Work Top for the flooring of the roof. Because granite will become warm and we can not even stand in the summers and opposite in winters.