Contemporary culture obsesses over the topic of home design and décor. Dedicated TV channels broadcast home and garden advice 24/7/365. Hosts of perky personalities give the low-down on the how-to of DYI projects. Magazines fill mailboxes with picture-perfect homes that fit the financial means of anyone owning majority shares in a Fortune 500 company.
Color me confused. I don’t understand the allure of renovating a perfectly good home. However, I possess no sense of fashion or flair. My eyes glaze over whenever someone mentions paint chips, cloth swatches, and lamp styles. Like the majority of the masculine persuasion, I like any color as long as it is off-white.
I am not alone. Men stare in dull-eyed confusion while their significant others wax eloquent about pillow shams, plantation shutters, balloon valances, or distressed wood. As a public service for my fellow sufferers, I offer A Man’s Guide to Decorating Terms and Other Incomprehensible Words.
Paint plays an important role in any home redesign. However, paint now comes in an overwhelming palette of shades and hues. When just the right tint is finally selected, one must then select “flat,” “semi-gloss,” “gloss” and “satin” finishes. These terms describe the dullness or shine of the paint. As a general rule of thumb, ceilings are flat, walls semi-gloss, and trim work satin. Like owning a dozen pair of black high heels, it’s not something the average man needs to understand as long as he can say, “Yes, dear!”
Women place great store in “accessorizing” a room. Most males are satisfied with a table, easy chair, bed, and TV. In contrast, the female of the species treasures bowls, pictures, plates, dollies, mirrors, candles, water features, wall hangings, and floor rugs. The closest male analogy is collecting fishing lures or power tools. Accessories add “punch” to a room and can be quite “whimsical” and “eclectic. However, accessories should never detract from the “statement” made to anyone “reading” the room.
Decorators insist that rooms possess a “focal point.” For most men, a large screen television creates THE perfect focal point for ANY room. However, women set great store in “conversation pieces” that elicit admiration from female guests. The only conversation the pieces inspire in men is the question: “Where’s the TV?”
“Faux” is French for fake. However, fake is fine if it is French. “Weekend projects” last for months. “Low cost” involves an amortization schedule with a seven year balloon payment. “Wall hangings” cover a perfectly good wall. Finally, “We’re finished” is a meaningless statement used to placate husbands until the next project.
Oh, there IS one other phrase women use in the planning and implementation of home projects. They will occasionally turn to their male counterparts and earnestly ask, “What do YOU think?”
Fortunately, no response is expected to the rhetorical question.