I did a very, VERY informal survey about what people don’t like in home interiors. The survey is so informal that I didn’t have a sampling survey, much less a survey population. Having said that, let me just call it a simple Q&A of random individuals who crossed my path.
Here are the answers I got from my oh-so-not-scientific survey.
1. White and more white
The reasons for the dislike: It is boring. It looks like a hospital. It is cold. It is soulless. It has zero character. It is so dull like a hotel room. It makes me sad.
Oops! However, #teamputi still rules in the Philippines, which is understandable. White is a no-brainer. It is trendy. It is a color that can be matched with almost any other. It’s neutral and, therefore, can take whatever interior style is thrown at it. It looks clean and maaliwalas. White can be overpowering though but there are ways to make it look warm and welcoming.
If you’ve got an all-white kitchen, you can use natural stone like marble or granite for your countertops, or engineered quartz that is even more durable than marble. With that, you provide texture in the space.
2. Fifty shades of gray
The reasons for the dislike: Gray everything and everywhere! Even the fence and the decking outside! Dull and depressing! Drab!
The exclamation points already tell you how much these respondents dislike gray. Include the industrial vibe, you know that one with the concrete surfaces everywhere. Some homeowners even think that gray is a lazy choice, and can make a room look…yes, as mentioned, dull, drab, and depressing. If you go monochromatic, your home may end up looking as drab as a mouse (apologies to mice).
But this is so unfair to the grays, especially since there are so many gray hues around. You’ve got warm and cool grays. Warm grays are those with undertones of yellow, red, or brown. Cool grays are those with undertones of blue, green, or purple. Here are color palettes to help you visualize what I mean.
So before you cancel gray from your list of color choices, please look into the gray paint choices more closely. Gray is a very versatile color and easy to pair with other colors. You can pair it with intense colors to make a room pulsate with energy. Or you can match it with cool tones for that sleek and cool vibe. This color would look good on foundation pieces like sofas and chairs. It is also a good color to use for carpets as it can ground a space.
3. Is black out?
The reasons for the dislike: It’s going out of style. especially all black inside and out. Lifeless. Hot. Closed-up space. A room would need very good lighting solutions to make it work so that would jack up costs. It’s not adaptable to working from home.
Black is dramatic. Black everything could be definitely overwhelming. So if you want this paint color on your walls, you must know how to use it. Avoid using this color in rooms without windows because the space may turn out oppressive. If you are not an introvert or a Goth or a gamer or someone who is attracted to apocalyptic vibes and dystopian landscapes, then I suggest you balance black with a light neutral. Black, if used well, could turn out to be like that LBD (little black dress) that could bring the house down.
View this post on Instagram
Look at how black is used in this space. It’s gorgeous and elegant paired with white.
4. Neutrals, be gone!
The reasons for the dislike: “Yawn.” I need a colorful house. Creams, beiges, and browns are so dated. The lack of any bold color is so safe, TOO safe.
Color choices are so personal. We all have associations about colors, just like we do about smells. Someone I know hates the color brown. Her house is white with gold accents and a pink curtain covering the floor to ceiling glass wall. Her sofa is white suede which she covers with bed sheets so as to keep it pristine. Even her outfits are mostly white, and she wears a lot of gold jewelry. My theory is it is because she grew up in a farm, so beige and brown bring back sad memories of the past.
On the other hand, there may be no sad memories for disliking neutrals. Trends show that people want to paint their homes in bright or light colors, as long as these are distinct colors and not the low-profile neutrals that have prevailed for decades. The pandemic is given as one of the reasons for the rise in popularity of colors for the home.
All I can say is that neutrals can look very classy and elegant. So can bright colors. The secret is in how colors are curated in a space. Neutrals, just like black and white, will always have a place in the sun. If you want to set it aside for a more colorful home, then by all means but there’s no need to cancel the neutrals because some day soon, you may be needing them.
5. Open kitchens are out of favor
The reasons for the dislike: People said they need separate spaces for the kitchen, living room, and dining room. They don’t want to be relaxing on the sofa while watching TV, and at the same time inhaling the cooking smells and seeing the dirty dishes. They also didn’t want to end up smelling like fried garlic and onions.
That last one is so true. Been there, done that. A friend had a trick. When she started cooking, she’d stuff her long, curly hair under a beanie. She didn’t look like a domestic diva, but at least she didn’t end up smelling like food when she went to bed, after she made a necessary stop under the shower (without having to shampoo).
Aside from the open kitchen, some have also expressed disapproval for open kitchen shelving, which according to them are collectors of dust, grime, and dirt. Unless. You. Stage. Every. Time. If you’re not the tidy type who likes to organize, curate, alphabetize, color coordinate, group according to height, then please choose kitchen cabinets with opaque (not glass) doors. Want your kitchen to look particularly spic and span? Duco finish it and get that high gloss look that sparkles with the illusion of cleanliness. It will look positively posh and it would be easy to clean to boot.
6. Multifunctional spaces need a focus
The reasons for the dislike: The lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic, like working from home and online learning, have forced most households to cram different functions in a space. Most common spaces like living rooms, dining rooms, or kitchens, and private spaces like bedrooms, have doubled as work or study spaces, which have sometimes made homes cramped and messy.
Unless you can afford to move to a bigger home where you can make a home office or a separate study space, you’ve got to put on your thinking hat and find ways on how you can give focus to each functional area. An easy way to do it would be to zone each area in a multifunctional space by, for example, painting the home office in the living room a different color. Or you can also make a partition, or even an illusion of such. See the idea in this post on How to Maximize Your Tiny Condo.
7. Junk quotes, signs, and labels
The reasons for the dislike: That “Live, Love, Laugh” quote is on its last legs. Many are so done with it. That and other motivational and inspirational signs in the calligraphy font that “most people don’t live by,” (add an eye roll here). Or even labels the say “toilet” or “laundry” or “coffee bar”. What about those huge carved spoon and fork duo mounted on the wall? The ubiquitous Last Supper?
I still see a lot of those in my FB feed. That and tips and recommendations where to go and get “budolized”. This is what I have to say: live and let live. So if you want to have all these quotes, signs, and labels in your home, go for it! Or as Nike says, “Just do it.”
8. Shabby Chic is just shabby
The reasons for the dislike: Shabby chic looks old and dirty. The distressed look is so 80’s! Grunge is dirty period; so uncool. May have been cool 40 years ago but not today.
Also known as the French country style, shabby chic can be appealing. Here are some of the characteristics of shabby chic:
- weathered and distressed surfaces
- mix of styles like ornate and rustic
- pastel color palette
- flower patterns in home furnishings, like bed linens from Laura Ashley in the 80s
- vintage furniture
- touch of metallic accents like silver candleholders, burnished mirror frames, or oyster inlay
But it is also a style that is best used in context, meaning, it has its place. It may seem out of place in a shoebox city condo owned by a hardworking individual. But if said person doing online work were to move out to the rural area for a better quality of life, this style could work. Such a whimsical style may be just what is needed to blast the stress away. If you don’t have the luxury of relocating, having such a space that allows you to relax and breathe slower, then by all means, have such a decor in your small apartment. As long as you keep your home nice and tidy, shabby chic could be your saving grace.
9. Farmhouse design elements are for farms
The reasons for the dislike: It seems many people are so over with the farmhouse style popularized by Joanna and Chip Gaines. Shiplap, stacked stone, ridiculous sliding barn doors, are too country and out of place in urban settings.
I do like that bedroom above even with the barn doors. It’s practical to have sliding doors in a small space because the usual door needs clearance for it to swing unobstructed. Just like shabby chic, the farmhouse style may bring some homeowners that feeling of being safe, comfortable, and cozy.
The farmhouse style can be warm and inviting with the big, comfortable furniture, the vaunted ceiling with its lofty flair, reclaimed wood that gleam with fresh purpose, huge kitchens for the cozy dining experiences, large covered porches that make living closer to nature possible.
As you already can glean from the description, the farmhouse style needs ample space for this type of expansive living. This is the reason why it’s best to have this kind of home outside the city. This type of design also needs space around the house itself for that outdoor space typically seen in a farm.
10. Skip everything faux
The reasons for the dislike: Enough already with fake plants, artificial flowers, fake flickering tea light candles, fake fur…
Please don’t be so harsh. Many people are just bad with plants, even if they mean to be kind. Granted that fake plants and artificial flowers are just dust collectors, they still can brighten a corner. Of course, it depends on the quality of the fake decor. I’ve seen a banana tree that looked absolutely hideous with its lime green “leaves”. And it was life-size too! Cringe.
As for flickering candles that are battery-operated, I am sure manufacturers came up with this one with safety in mind. Let’s face it, real candles can be fire hazards.
As for fake fur, the animal lovers are sighing in relief.
11. Low-quality products
The reasons for the dislike: Crap products, made from low-quality materials.
There are really so many low-quality products in the world today. They just look nice, especially on your screen. Before you hit the buy button, think very carefully about the purchase. Keep in mind the caveat emptor “Buyer beware”. Another term for it may be “sold as is,” which means that the product may not be what you expect or may have some damage.
Just be careful with your hard-earned money. You wouldn’t want to get a dreamy-looking, mid-century style sofa that would collapse under you once you sit on it. Or find out that the snazzy, retro coffee machine, is made up of plastic parts that are hard to disassemble and assemble, something you need to do every time you make a cup of coffee.
Most of these products also come in beautiful colors that imitate the high-end brands. Performance-wise, they are a failure. Unlike the minimalist axiom of “form follows function,” these products are more form and can hardly function. The low price is usually a major red flag. If it’s a big-ticket item that you are buying, it’s better to look at reliable brands and suppliers. Do your research and go examine the product first before you make the purchase.
What to do with Other People’s Opinions
There are other things that people dislike, like bling everywhere including in towels, or products with designs that are impossible to clean, or even those books in shelves that are either color-coded or all wrapped in white paper.
Taste, like paint color choice, is personal. If you have someone close to you with very strong opinions, you can listen. But do remember that listening and following are two different things. Even the trends that you see on social media may be treated as guides, and not gospel truths.
Adding personal touches, like framed photographs, to your home can bring joy to you and your family. If you can, buy things that will last a lifetime. Choose organic materials where you can instead of plastic.
Use this list as a guide to a self-discovery tour of what you would like in your home.
Subscribe to Let it B (myboysen.com) for more home tips.