Sunday, April 24, 2011

"quick, easy & on-the-cheap"

Maybe because I grew up really poor I've got a bit more insight into the what it means to make do with what you've got, or really only buy what you need, but lately I'm seeing a lot of home decor blogs & magazines offer tips and tricks on how to spruce up one's home "on the cheap" that have me shaking my head and rolling my eyes.

One recent example was a light & airy, beachy living room makeover featured in a major mainstream publication with helpful hints from a designer that regularly combs antique fairs, flea markets and thrift shops. This designer buys books at Goodwill that all have blue covers because she wants a pop of color in her book shelves. She had about 30 books on display ... that she has no interest in ever reading ... because they were blue. I don't get it. Why buy books if you're not going to read them? Are people decorating with books now so they can look smarter? Why is that a design element?

The other thing that didn't only puzzle me but actually made me a bit mad was an article that talks about lightening up the look of your room inexpensively by bringing in clear and pastel bottles. There were about 15 in this particular photo. They looked very pretty and yes, it added an airy element to the space. The price for each bottle or vase? Anywhere from $15 to $100. This publication was promoting the idea of spending $100 on a clear glass vase. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. How is that even responsible, especially in this economy? Furthermore, why would anyone spend $100 on a clear glass vase when there are hundreds of just as beautiful clear glass vases for about $12.99 at any Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross in the country? A hundred dollars for a lot of people is a lot of money, and yet these publications blithely run articles promoting these products as if it was $4.99. (And don't get me started on the pictures of couches with 6 lovely toss pillows that all cost $65 ...)

I'm almost willing to give pubs like Sunset a pass because it caters to folks here on the West Coast who tend to have a bit more disposable income. (That's not to say everyone that lives on the west coast is rich, but that we have several more "rich" cities in the area.) But Better Homes & Gardens? Um, you carry a line of home goods that is sold at Wal-Mart. I'm pretty sure you did that because you realized that your key demographic is a Wal-Mart shopper. People that shop at Wal-Mart tend to be cost-conscious and are looking to get the most bang for their buck. These are not necessarily people that spend $100 on a vase or $65 on a pillow cover, and yet you feature story after story highlighting these products? Is it just me or does that seem like a major disconnect?