09 July 2006

decorating angst

My parents are building a house.

The project is temporarily taking over their lives. Thus, my mother no longer asks me about my life but rather "did I show you the laminate samples yet?" Of course, of samples of anything they show me, I dislike most the one they like the most. They're oh-so knotty pine. I'm oh-so not.

But I understand their deliberation over minutae and the attendant stress. For I suffer from traumatic decorating syndrome.

I love poring over home decor magazines and perusing design blogs. In theory, I love decorating my home (or apartment, as it were). I love envisioning the ideal layout. The reality is that I've literally thrown myself on the floor, so fraught with decorating angst was I. There are so many OPTIONS but yet it takes both time and money to execute styles, so I'm incredibly committment-phobic.

I have difficulties committing to the color of napkins, much less a couch, much less an entire house. Note: I did finally purchase a couch. Wonder of all wonders. It only took me a frickin' year—to buy the first style I had looked at. (In contrast, Katherine and Ben took a mere 15 minutes to choose their sofa, and it looks great.)

I'm going to try to blame my parents for this angst. I grew up in a modest but charming old house, which infrequently saw new furniture additions and makeovers. Furniture just seemed to migrate to a new place in the house, repurposed. A new purchase for the home was well-thought. Still, I never witnessed my mother writhing in frustration over which recliner chairs to buy.

My parents' pragmatism and eco-mindedness informed my buying habits. Add to it my interest in design and "nesting." But it's the strain of neurotic idealism that really makes it decorating angst. I know, there are probably drugs for that.

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