EST. May 2000 (AD)


Popular Columns:

Guide to the New Decorating Aesthetic

By Elizabeth Hanes

In case you didn't notice, the cultural consciousness changed abruptly last month. Especially affected is home decorating. No matter that you spent years collecting rococo picture frames and French country kitchen accessories. These stylistic excesses now are decidedly out. What's in are designs evoking assertiveness and industry: stainless steel, sleek lines, and anything bullet-shaped. Also in vogue are decorating schemes that speak of frugality, such as the copious use of unrefinished flea market finds. So, toss out those relics of last August and come along with us as we help you redecorate in the nouveau style.

In the Kitchen

Combine the industrial, stainless-steel look with the frugality angle by making your own kitchen canisters out of old coffee cans. Simply strip off the label to reveal the shiny metal, then recycle non-winning lotto tickets into canister labels by printing "FLOUR", "SUGAR" and "COFFEE" on them with a magic marker. For an avant-garde approach, leave the canisters unlabeled and keep your family guessing.

Can't afford to chuck out all your appliances and replace them with new ones? Not to worry! Here's a simple way to create your own stainless steel look. Get several cans of industrial strength spray adhesive and a few dozen rolls of aluminum foil. Thoroughly scrub and de-gloss the surfaces of your appliances. Spray with adhesive and quickly roll on the foil. In just minutes, you'll have a kitchen so shiny it'll give you a migraine!

In the Living Area

The current social climate is a somber one, and your decorating scheme should reflect this. Toss out that passé pit group of living room furniture, which speaks of frivolity and merriment. To create a more functional look, gather some oak delivery pallets (easily stolen from behind liquor stores at 4am), dismantle them, and then reassemble the pieces into Adirondack chairs. To add a touch of color, crochet yourself a sofa.

Your Persian rug is far too opulent and must go. In its place, we recommend weaving an area rug out of old polyester leisure suits, which are easily obtained from any thrift store or the singer at the Holiday Inn lounge.

Of course, your floral/paisley wallcovering now doesn't work with your new, homespun décor. For one easy solution, cover it over with burlap. Use the leftover spray adhesive from your kitchen project to make the transformation quick and easy! For a slightly different style, create a faux adobe look by decoupaging the walls with torn up paper grocery bags. Your friends will be amazed at your ingenuity, if not your taste.

In the Bedroom

Should you sacrifice romanticism and coziness for the sake of the new decorating aesthetic? Absolutely! Get rid of those fancy floral sheets and frilly bed ruffle and replace them with utilitarian white muslin bedclothes. Recycle the ruffle into a valance when you replace your drapes with simple white cotton curtains. While you're at it, eliminate colored towels from the master bathroom and replace them with white ones. Whiteness speaks of purity, frugality, and industry, making your bedroom the height of aesthetic accomplishment. As an added benefit, your husband will never want sex again in that frighteningly sterile environment.

In a social climate where the ordinary is now extraordinary, we can ask no less of our aesthetic sensibilities. Place yourself among the trendsetters of this remarkable shift in the home decoration paradigm. Your family will thank you for it.

©2001 Elizabeth Hanes. All rights reserved.