Monday, August 20, 2012

Home Decor for the Visually Incompetent

I'm very un-visual. I key into the world more via other senses. So I'm poor at anything involving design. Tasks like picking out drapes or choosing a car color or deciding where to place a coffee table leave me yearning to simply roll dice.

So, a few years ago, when I decided to live, for the first time in my adult life, in a house, I felt a rush of terror as I contemplated empty rooms and bare walls. One option would have been to simply dump in all the chintzy second-hand and Ikea-bought furnishings I'd carried around to countless apartments since college, but I was feeling too old for that. Where to begin? It was paralyzing. So I asked someone for suggestions, and he offered some of the best advice I've ever received:
"Don't be in a rush. Add one thing at a time, and be completely sure it feels (not "looks"...feels) absolutely right and comfortable. Don't worry about the look. Don't have an overall plan. Just start adding details, one at a time, with great care."
It took nearly three years to furnish the house, but I lavished great care, and, in the end, the place had the magical power to make anyone stepping into it feel absolutely comfortable and relaxed. The place didn't make a grand impression; there was no particular design "impact". But neither did things look sloppy or mismatched. What hit you was the Vibe. I'd nailed it!

Of course, few people could handle a three year process. But those who'd go mad living in a partially-decorated house are the sort who are good at this stuff! They don't require a low-and-slow approach; they have the skill to pick out everything en masse and whip it all more or less neatly and stylishly into place!

But as quick and competent and "natural" as such people are, I'm not sure many of them could create as deeply alluring a vibe as I, in my glacial thick-headedness, managed to achieve (thanks to my friend's great advice!).

More re: the benefits of slow-learning.

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