The last time my house had a décor overhaul was more than 10 years ago, and so I decided to redecorate and refresh, room by room, starting with the main bedroom.
Everything was moved out, the walls and ceiling were freshly painted white, the floorboards gleaming, the fireplace polished. Then the terror set in. Where to even start with this clean slate?
The possibilities were infinite, and the problem is I like every period, so regency wallpaper, a mid-century chair and a stuffed squirrel sitting on tapa cloth was on the horizon.
The rest of the house has a modern Arabic feel. But I wasn’t feeling it for the bedroom, especially now it was all pale white. I then watched An Affair To Remember for the 100th time and thought: “Aha, I’ll make it look like Deborah Kerr’s cabin on the ocean liner.”
I went online and ordered a teal blue velvet bedhead, and a pale Fifties yellow armchair. Out went the blinds, in came the floor length dove-grey curtains, the pale-pink roses, the beige lightshades, the raspberry throw rug Deborah wore to disguise the fact from Cary Grant that she had lost the use of her legs. Clever me – I should be on one of those designer shows on television.
I then realised I needed hemming tape for the drapes, so I decided to make the pilgrimage to Ikea. I did the normal routine that we all do – start looking at lounges excitedly, lose interest between office furniture and bedding, wonder who exactly could live in the suggested one-bedroom apartment, start singing loudly near lighting and lose the plot at the checkout.
But on my way through I realised that my Fifties fantasy was not exactly original. There they all were, at vastly lower prices, the blue velvet chairs, the pale pink rugs, the grey lamps.
Even more insidious than fashion, the décor world has plotted far in advance to make us buy into a global trend, starting with the Pantone shade predictions. Just as my mother unleashed the avocado green and orange in the 1970s, here was I slavishly and unknowingly recreating Pantone’s 2019/20 colour charts.
Apparently we are going to be surrounded by two palettes: “Cravings” which has shades of spicy reds (Deb’s rug, I suppose), flamingo orange, rich purples and a shot of grassy green.
To balance it out, there is also “Classico”, which is swan white (my walls), deep teal (the bedhead), flannel grey (the curtains, we are seeing a theme here people), burgundy red (the bloody rug again) and caviar black (the fireplace). Far from a design maven, I’m a follower, a sheep just making up the numbers and buying the velvet footstools.
My son called me while I was in Ikea, reeling from the fact that I apparently had no personal taste or flair and asked me to buy him a cactus for his bedroom.
“There aren’t any,” I snapped, looking around. “Cacti are out.”
But tapa cloth …?