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So do you have a streamlined, tidy house or a rather more, erm, 'arty' one?

(48 Posts)
NationalFlight Tue 02-Jun-09 07:19:40

Following a thread last week where some people commented on my house...blush

I've been noticing more and more particularly on ebay pictures people have, that everyone's house seems to be like this:

Laminate floor

Leather square shaped (or clean fabric)sofas

Minimal clutter or toys

Neutral colours

Now this looks incredibly tidy and easy to keep clean, so why can't I do it?? Mine is - well some of it's on my profile. 9oh and it's not usually that tidy) I can't avoid bright colours, I just can't, and I think I might go completely mad if I tried to do the above laminate thing.

I'm just not built that way.

Please can people sign in here if they too live in an 'mm, interesting' house according to their friends. It would make me feel less alone grin

NationalFlight Tue 02-Jun-09 07:20:18

Oh and if you have the streamlined look, please tell me HOW you do it, and whether you are a convert from the cluttered thing and if so, is it nicer to live in? I suspect it is!

ninedragons Tue 02-Jun-09 07:30:42

I know exactly the look you mean. It looks like they walked into Ikea, pointed to a page in the catalogue and said "I'll take everything, thanks". I think it always looks like it's been styled for a photo shoot by an estate agent.

We (well, I - DH doesn't give a toss, luckily for me) are far more bohemian and cluttered. I'd rather live in your place than another soulless laminate-and-leather room.

I have Persian rugs in every room, there's not a wall without a painting (or 20) on it or a surface without some lovely little thing I have collected in my travels on it.

I think minimalists are born rather than made. My brother is one. I could never live in his flat, but it does mean I will have no competition when my parents decide to downsize their vast collection of interesting stuff.

ClaudiaSchiffer Tue 02-Jun-09 07:51:48

It's called character luv.

Identikit Ikea, laminate, white kitchen, white bathroom houses are dull and the province of the unimaginative imho (swiftly looks away from Ikea bookshelves).

I like walking into someones house and seeing some personality. Paintings, books, wee treasured things (not knick knacks tho - ugh).

Over here (Australia) it seems that you are shunned unless you have knocked off the back of a house and built an identikit extension consisting of white kitchen, wood or stone floor, large 'family room' etc etc. All rather predictable and will DATE!

You stick with what you like, buck the trend for bland conformity. grin

pavlovthecat Tue 02-Jun-09 07:56:22

I have a messy, but clean place. Even when it is tidy, its a bit jumbled, lots of colour etc. We had beige on ALL our walls when we moved in, slowly, they are going.

Our friend has just spend a fortune doing up his house, it used to have character, with lots of nice things around, mixture of pictures, plants ornaments. He has painted it all neutral, variations of the same brown, and it looks so clinical, like a show home. Most people who have been in there have said it has less soul, non of their personality now.

SamVimesIsMyHero Tue 02-Jun-09 08:20:52

Oh I have an 'ineteresting' house. Permanently messy round the edges, lots of books, lots of toys, music on, lots of pictures and photos. No leather sofa, no laminate (except karndean on bathroom floor)no beige. I have to say I am hankering after a neutral sofa - but only so I can cover it in fab cushions lol!
Mine is a bit grubby round the edges which I hate but am such a lazy slattern I wait until my cleaners come once a week blush
My house is a home, I love it - the souless finished produce of grand designs (white, glossy, minimalist) is my NIGHTMARE.

I do wish I was a bit less lazy tidier though...

abraid Tue 02-Jun-09 08:37:43

Nationalflight, come over here and have a look at my house. Which was 'tidied' at the weekend.

In the playroom: three bodyboards. Not put away by children following trip to beach.

In sitting room: a whole Polly Pocket out all over the coffee table.

In dining room: all my son's revisions strewn over the table.

We won't even go upstairs. We won't mention my daughter's room.

I could spend all day tidying it up and it would look the same tonight. They're children. They have lots of interests. We all read a lot and like to have books and magazines around.
Both children play at least one musical instrument so we have stands, music cases, music, etc, out.


Shells Tue 02-Jun-09 08:43:01

Oh yes, me too. Our house is so full of stuff.

People do seem to comment on it in a negative way - but I love it. Books, music, toys, vases, pictures. Feels totally like home.

Hate show homes. They feel cold to me.

Botbot Tue 02-Jun-09 08:51:58

I like a bit of organised clutter and have a nice messy flat packed with interesting things and books spilling about all over the place. Most of the furniture is Ikea though, and the floor is laminate (inherited when we moved in - would prefer real wood if I ever win the lottery). Love bright colours too - one wall of our bedroom is bright orange.

Am a bit of a fan of interior design, and subscribed to Elle Deco and Living Etc for ages, but a while ago I cancelled both subscriptions because the houses they featured every month just weren't floating my boat - that really clean, sleek, 'luxe hotel' look, with lots of dark wood and empty, glinting surfaces, and 'classic' bits of mid-century furniture like Le Corbusier chaise longues etc, does nothing for me. But last week I bought a copy of Living etc for the first time in ages and was pleasantly surprised - the interiors were much more friendly, cosy and tatty, much more to my taste. I might even start buying it again.

sarah293 Tue 02-Jun-09 08:54:10

Message withdrawn

bellavita Tue 02-Jun-09 08:58:40


I have a streamlined house (although have wooden flooring from the hall through to the kitchen and utility, I don't have it in the sitting room).

I just don't like clutter, never have, never will, my boys are older now so we don't have toys as such downstairs, but that ain't to say their bedrooms are tidy! - but I can shut the doors on them.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 02-Jun-09 09:00:26

I think the big helper for me is to hide the ugly stuff - dvd's/cd's <shudder> all that plastic sleeve on display /paperbacks.

I have plenty of nice pictures/lamps/candley shit that I have out but I have most of the ugly stuff in tall glass fronted (non-see through glass) Ikea Billy bookcases.

In your living room you have a book case to the right of the fire? If it went all the way to the ceiling like the Billy one you would get an extra 2 foot of storage.

swanriver Tue 02-Jun-09 09:04:15

my house is full of art and pattern and books. And usually people.
It makes me a) delighted and inspired - like being in one's own personal V & A/British Library
b) totally fed up

Longing for some nice lino, a wipeclean sofa and some wipeclean dcs too.

swanriver Tue 02-Jun-09 09:09:12

What I do sometimes to is to imagine I am a stranger walking into my house. I remove the more obvious piles of clutter/crap and am left with the beauteous objects. And floorspace for the people.
But I have to keep rebooting, it does not come naturally.

Botbot Tue 02-Jun-09 09:11:23

Swanriver, I know what you mean. Am going to have to rethink my general dislike of leather sofas because our (once lovely, charcoal grey cloth, from Habitat) one is filthy and disgusting. Yogurty handprints etc.

alicecrail Tue 02-Jun-09 09:12:37

Our house is a mess. I wouldn't call it arty, if anything it looks studenty (minus the beer can table)

We have a lovely victorian terrace house with sash bay fronted windows, very high ceilings and a fireplace in the living room, bathroom and our room.

I love interiors magazines but i like the cath kidston mismatch type look, rather than posh city break hotel look.

We just have so much crap and clutter and DH is terrible to get to agree on stuff. He just wants it to be functional, but i want it to look pretty - dammit!! grin

EvenBetaDad Tue 02-Jun-09 09:36:34

NationalFlight - the first thing to say is that it is your home and you should not feel it has to look like what other people have.

We have a stark minimalist house, with stark modern minimalist furniture and we are now deliberately adding back occassional bright block coloured (but not patterned) modern furniture to brighten it up or big modern paintings (I paint for pleasure). Me and DW have the same taste but we also agree about colour and judiciously used against a neutral background colour on walls, floor, ceiling, curtains, blinds it adds a lot.

Lots of different patterns and clutter is the opposite to the minimalist look (not saying that is a bad thing).

The way we get the minimalist look is paint every wall plain neutral colour and put pale oatmeal coloured carpets, laminate/wood floors or plain tiles everywhere.

Then throw away every single thing we do not use or store it away out of sight. Only put on view what is immediate use. Every night before we go to bed we tidy up all toys, books, and file all paper in filing cabinets stored out of sight.

We have white bathrooms with a small amount of coloured detailing in tiles. Only white towels and bed linen. Steel or aluminium or plain wood fittings.

The downside is that I have to clean without mercy every week (and tidy and wipe down a lot in between) because even a very small amount of dirt or clutter shows up in a minimalist house. I am a slave to my Dyson vacuum cleaner blush. Our kids are not allowed in certain parts of the house without strict supervision and they know not to touch walls at all. They have their own room where they are allowed to make some mess as long as they tidy afterwards. No shoes are allowed in the house. We feel unhappy when other parents allow their kids to climb all over our furniture with food or dirty clothes. I accept that a lot of people would feel very very uncomfortable with that way of living though.

Our bedroom and lounge and dining room has exactly the funiture and very similar room settings like the pictures in the links but it is absolutely not for everyone and there are other good magazines and websites for the more bohemian look that is just as nice.

As SamVimesIsMyHero says - our house might be for other people something like a vision of hell. grin

piprabbit Tue 02-Jun-09 09:51:13

Why not try joining in with him? He might find it really funny, you might enjoy yourself and the attention of other people won't be focused on your little boy..... then you can perhaps introduce some other ways of celebrating excitement together over time. Since becoming a mum I've found one of the joys is behaving in ways I'd never get away with if I wasn't accompanied by a small child (skipping down the street; singing in public; standing in the park pointing at dogs and going oof oof etc.) grin blush grin

piprabbit Tue 02-Jun-09 09:51:58

Oops sorry - wrong thread

Jux Tue 02-Jun-09 10:00:34

Ours in a character house. Lots and lots of it, everywhere. All over the floor, all over the surfaces, all over everywhere. Yes, definitely a character house.grin

LovelyRitaMeterMaid Tue 02-Jun-09 10:01:53

Our house has character smile

As our next door neighbour puts it, some people live in a house. We have a home smile

WoTmania Tue 02-Jun-09 10:02:25

those ''streamlined houses' aren't cosy! Think how boring it must be to live somewhere you know where everything is. Think how dull a life with no games of 'hunt the house keys' or 'find the essential bit of paper' would be.
You're colourful sofa is amazing by the way.

NationalFlight Tue 02-Jun-09 11:07:10

Cheers Wot grin

Thankyou all, this is incredibly interesting - I'm much relieved to know I'm not alone, and it's good to read how others feel about houses.

I suppose my fear is other people walking in and going hmm rather than thinking it's nice - I so want to have a 'grown up' house, where I am not afraid to invite people round.

It's gradually getting to the point where I am tidier - things have a place iyswim - so I don't automatically hide when the doorbell goes these days.

Also I like knowing where things are and that's getting more and more frequent, thank goodness. Our old place was shocking.

Ikea is nice and we've a few bits from ebay (not near an actual Ikea or I would be there all the time!) but it's the ubiquity of the square cream leather seating, with the total absence of colour that somehow worries me - as though people with homes like that know something I don't? Or is it just fashion? It almost feels like we're 'supposed' to live like that in order to be modern and have the best lifestyle. iygwim.

Sod it, I don't think I could handle it. I am way too fond of cushions grin

NationalFlight Tue 02-Jun-09 11:10:58

Evenbetadad - see, that dining room is GORgeous - the orange and shininess, well it's beautiful. It has depth and is interesting and striking.
The other rooms I'm not so sure, they have fewer contrasting surfaces, the bedroom to me looks quite stark. But the chairs, Oh my smile

I have some habitat ones a bit like that in green. But I suspect my dining room doesn't have the professional touch like in your picture.

I'd be encouraged if someone said they could live that way without it involving curfews on the children etc...I think you are brave and honest admitting that!! smile

doggiesayswoof Tue 02-Jun-09 11:22:00

National, your house looks a bit like mine.

Actually, mine has the busyness of yours without a lot of the nice bits like all the lovely cushions.

I like the minimalist look when I see it in other people's houses (and I don't think it's necessarily cold or characterless, depends how it's done) but I could never maintain it, me and DH are both too messy.

I would love to have more colour and less mess overall in my house - I'm thinking of getting doors for my Billy bookcases like Laurie has.

I hate hate hate not being able to find things and I'm gradually getting better at filing and having a "proper place" for things. It doesn't come naturally though.

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