Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Trip Through the IKEA Catalog

I love looking at photos of organized spaces. Pantries, mud rooms, and entryways! Hooks, shelves, jars, and boxes! Tantalizing peeks into partially (artistically) opened drawers and cabinets! Those photographs are somehow fascinating. (Larger versions of these photos are just a click away...)

(Ok, I'll admit it. I like to look at "home" photographs in general, even if they're not focused on organization. I also am extremely fond of House Hunters and a handful of house-flipping and -decorating programs.)

For someone who loves the clean look of organization, though, my own ability to keep things organized is sometimes lacking. Of course, no-one (or let's err on the side of caution and say "hardly anyone") keeps his/her home as perfectly/artfully arranged as the rooms presented in many catalog and magazine photos.

There are lots of white-spined books in these showrooms-- probably because white is not distracting and goes with anything. Then there are the photos where some of the books just happen to match the decor of the room. Almost as though they had been carefully chosen for that very reason. . . Like these touches of blue that go with the painted wainscoting:

Coordinating colors in the furniture, flooring, and wall art of the room, I can accept. (I pay some attention to those things, myself.) But what are the chances that the books in the bookcase-- or the clothing stored in the closet-- would magically fit into that particular room's palette? (Unless this person is completely, unhealthily obsessed with a certain color scheme. "No. I keep telling you, I can't buy carrots. The orange just doesn't 'go' in our kitchen.") The results are attractive, but artificial. As much as I like the look of those perfect, photoshoot-ready rooms, I'm just not prepared to arrange my entire life around the color of the family room rug-- or sofa-- or what-have-you.

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Interesting (?) side note:
Years ago, while browsing a book about the "shabby chic" style, I was amazed to see that the author actually suggested purchasing cosmetics (for example) in colors that coordinate with the room where they'll be kept.

Kind of like this, I guess:

Note the "pretty" toiletries in glass dispensers? And see how they're all either white/clear, acid green, or gold? Now, that takes some serious devotion-- especially if you do it in real life and aren't just putting on a temporary show for a photograph or sales display.

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Then we have photos like the one below:

It's a pretty room-- so fresh and open, with all the windows and the white paint, curtains, and bedding. The wall of green houseplants really gives it a little extra something, doesn't it?

But then you begin to wonder who's going to keep those plants watered, fed, cleaned, etc. Some of them are 'way up there. . . Who's going to enjoy the plants when they're five inches from the ceiling? No wall of fresh green houseplants for me.

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If you haven't been to my Flickr photostream in a while, there are some recent photos of our non-catalog-worthy (yet (g)) breakfast room/kitchen. I took them mainly to show the progress we've made on our beadboard wainscoting project.

There's still a lot of painting to do. The cabinets will eventually be painted white. (I've written about it too many times to back out now. ;o)) The walls will also be painted, but at this point I can't tell you whether they'll be robin's egg blue or cream/almond/sand. Then there are the hinges and pulls (more on that another time). . . some crown moulding to install. . . and a few smaller projects for revamping the room's furniture/accessories.

. . .Oh, and I just remembered the "tables and chairs" project. . . So I'll probably have the official "before and after" photos ready for you in about two or three years.