JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Your home is your castle - so, what if it's a dump?

Date
What does your home say about you?

What does your home say about you?

Should you care what your home says about you?

Shut up your assumptions to the contrary; caring about interior decoration is not just for Wilde, James, All Women and that Martha Stewart – there’s a rich body of literature which speaks to the distinct relationship between masculinity and interior decoration. We are all, as Fight Club would have it, slaves to the Ikea nesting instinct.

Yet the fact is, not all of us occupy spaces fitted out exactly to our liking. Bothersome things like time and money and a lack of decorating confidence often get in the way. There’s also the limitations wrapped up in renting (my reality), share-housing (growing reality), or still-at-home-living (your reality?).

So should we really judge a person based on their personal space? If we’ve wound up in someone’s bed, staring at the ceiling, and the ceiling happens to be an awful shade of unsexy, should we let that diminish our feelings for the person who put it there (especially when that person mightn’t be the one sleeping beside you)?

You might think it a superficial question. You might think it something beneath you. But let’s be honest. We’re wired to judge. We judge the appearance of people all the time, often unconsciously. It’s not unreasonable to think we judge homes as well.

So should we care? Should you invest as much time and attention tending bricks and mortar and bed sheets as they do the body, mind and spirit? Would this make you more attractive or more desirable? Would it give you a competitive edge on the dating scene, or help keep your home life happy?

There are strong, well-established links between psychology and physical space. Here’s a great study which shows how heterosexual British men who migrate to Dubai find their domestic house objects take on “a heightened significance in processes of identification”. Here’s another about ornaments in modernism and deep meaning contained within.

It is hard to deny the strong connection between space and culture. Whether our homemaking speaks to a national identity, or a political one, or perhaps even a class or creed, there are myriad mores enmeshed within our walls. So our spaces, and the things therein, influence our sense of who we are, or who we want to be. Let’s not forget the many voices who argue longstanding laws of good design and feng shui also bind the mind to the material.

Of course, the relationship between furnishings and feelings works outwardly as well. You need only think as far as the Oval Office to understand the role space plays in shaping first impressions. This paper paints a muse-worthy picture of how the personal brand of each President was imbued in their selection of desk, drapery, rugs and more. Superficial objects? I think not. Something we can relate to? Yes. In a theoretical sense at least (damn you cost of things!).

But should we hold our lovers to the same standards as leaders of state?

Friends or partners who get a gander at my little bit of (borrowed) land would hopefully get some sense of me from my stuff and the situation of my abode (read; likes books, fresh flowers, hip deco stylings and inner-city-living). But my bedroom? Not as it could/would be (ie more silk, sexier bed, exotic wallpaper, ‘treasure’ chest...). Could this be damaging my life prospects or general constitution? Potentially.

So, should I be worried? I usually make a point of not worrying. Especially when it comes to the judgements of others. Do I consider the messages I send to other people? Yes.

Would I like my space to be more attractive?

Well. Who wouldn't?

What stock do you take of a person's house and home? Does it have a bearing on your wish to be with them? And what if you're in a relationship - how do you manage sharing space and an aesthetic - is it damaging if one person's decorative voice smothers the other (insert your conventional gender assumptions here)?

 

 

Comment Problems?
There are some issues this morning apparently guys. Feel free to email me your posts:
kfeeney@fairfaxmedia.com.au.
Cheers,
CK

98 comments

  • Our home is a reflection of ourselves so yes we should care.
    Personally I’m a minimalist who enjoys simplicity, organisation and structure.
    I live by myself in a well sized 4 bedroom house, I enjoy the large spaces but they are sparsely furnished and decorations are few.
    Peoples circumstances need to be considered, the renting/sharing examples are good ones.
    My 2 pet hates are dirty and/or untidy people, eg a permanent mountain of clothes on the floor is not acceptable, a shirt worn 20 times and still not washed is despicable.
    So before concerning ourselves with décor, how about the more basic stuff like hygiene.

    Commenter
    Victorious Painter
    Date and time
    September 26, 2012, 8:04AM
    • @Victorious,

      I can not agree with you more. I left the ex because she always have clothes on the bed, chair and floor. Her excuse of not wash or put them in the wardrobe - It is easier to find them like that! WTF

      Commenter
      knightly
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 9:21AM
    • Strong agree, VP!

      Commenter
      Jill
      Location
      psychedelia
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 9:48AM
    • knightly is the only man I've ever heard of to seriously complain because his wife is too untidy. It's always the other way around.

      Commenter
      rudy
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 10:14AM
    • Agreed.

      It is your space where you spend a fair chunk of time so it will only naturally reflect the person you are..

      Commenter
      Lovely
      Location
      At my desk
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 11:12AM
    • @Rudy

      Yes, and I am very proud of that fact!

      Commenter
      Knightly
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 11:32AM
    • @rudy, the worst couple I’ve met to date, the wife was unquestionably the untidiest and dirtiest by a long distance, it was also interesting to note that it did appear to be a wider family characteristic, I did note a wider set of dysfunctions which does get back to the topic, interesting.

      Commenter
      Victorious Painter
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 1:16PM
    • @Rudy

      My husband often complained about his ex-wife and her housekeeping skills. He'd clean up after her particularly when they were expecting visitors. I shared a house with another woman for a few months and was glad when her boyfriend came to stay on the weekend as he'd cleanup. She was foul.

      I'm with VP.
      I don't like yuck. Seeing a filthy bathroom or kitchen is really off-putting. Use the toilet? I'll hold it thanks. Want a cup of coffee? No, I'm good.

      Commenter
      Ripley
      Location
      Hunting Aliens
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 1:38PM
    • I agree - I've shared houses with girls and some of them were the messiest people out. A girl I went to school with had a bedroom so cluttered with clothes strewn everywhere that you couldn't move (and now she's a grown up with her own house - she's got a whole house to mess up!) and my bf's ex-wife is one of the dirtiest people I've ever met (she calls it "lived in"!!!!). I'm glad I've got the stereotypical gay man's clean gene!

      Commenter
      Wayne
      Location
      Bendigo
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 4:02PM
    • Completely agree about dirty houses, but untidy? My house is very clean. My husband is asthmatic so there is no dust. Bathroom and kitchen are scrubbed once a week, and vaccuuming/dusting is a necessity. We don't go to bed when there are dirty dishes around because, well, I just can't sleep otherwise.

      Clothes are generally put away, although I'm in borrowed maternity clothes at the moment so I'm living out of plastic bags in a corner of the bedroom (pretty untidy, but I don't want them to get mixed up).

      Paper, however, is my issue. Bills, work stuff, my husband is in IT, so there are unidentified cables, hard drives etc. It drives me nuts but I just can't seem to organise paper!

      I believe this is a tidiness issue, not a hygiene issue. I know plenty of people who are so neat it's unbelievable but you walk into their bathroom and it clearly hasn't been cleaned in a month. I'd rather have my untidy but hygienic home.

      Commenter
      Sally
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 4:44PM

More comments

Comments are now closed
Featured advertisers

Horoscopes

Capricorn horoscope

Trust others to think for themselves. Don't be snobbish about what seems obvious. Everyone learns at their own pace, including you.

...find out more here