You know how real estate agents are always rattling on about curb appeal and staging a home so it looks good to potential buyers? Turns out, maybe they’re not kidding about how important it is to stuff your personal “taste” into a rented storage unit and go for a nice plebian beige when that For Sale sign goes up…
A guy named Leif Swanson has convinced me that common sense is in very short supply, when it comes to making a home “tasteful” and appealing. Leif sells real estate in Arizona — a place I’ve never visited. I have, however, spent a good bit of time visiting Leif’s hysterically funny (and inspirational, in a what-not-to-do kind of way) Ugly House Photos blog. look attractive to others.
And you absolutely must set aside the better part of a lunch hour to check out the What Were They Thinking?!?! category, at least. There, you’ll find such treasures as:
- Taxidermy and plaid couches;
- Improperly stored firearms in the kiddies’ room;
- Amateur paintings of nekkid babes;
- Stripper poles;
- People who should really have left the room before the photo shoot began;
- The world’s ugliest fireplace surround; and
- much much more.
But that’s just the beginning! The whole site is a glorious encyclopedia of how not to decorate a house that you’re hoping to convince someone else to buy. As Lief says, how you want to live is your business — your taste in decor is your own, after all — but it’s a whole different thing if you’re trying to sell the house.
Take these bedrooms, for example:
The ones that really get me the most are those bedrooms where someone obviously tried hard to create a certain ambience.
Apparently, with the aid of a Target sale on bed-in-a-bag bedding, inspirational photos from a Sears catalogue saved from sometime back in the disco era, and subconscious longings to see what Disneyland would look like as an 1800s bordello…Tried really really really hard.
The moral(s) of the story? There are two of them.
1. There’s a place in the world for vanilla.
Plain and beige — don’t knock it! Neutral is good when you’re trying to help someone else to imagine that they could possibly go into hock to the bank for decades to come because they so badly would love to make your not-quite-dream home into the home of their dreams.
2. In real life, you’ve really got to keep your decorating opinions to yourself, you know.
Sure, on the internet we can look at these photos and laugh. All these pictures were put out there for the purpose of selling a home, knowing that people would be looking and criticizing and snickering and generally being judgmental about it all. But would you want someone to point a finger at your own weird eccentricities of decorating taste? — heck, no!
Or am I the only one with an amazing fridge magnet collection, garish Mexican tin Christmas ornaments around the top of the kitchen walls (year-round), and more dog-bed in the house than there are beds for humans?