On decorating magazines

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
Nescio. Sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

No one has ever captured the experience of buying British mainstream decorating magazines more perfectly than Catullus’ elegant little couplet.

Why do we buy them? I don’t really know either. The one thing we can be clear about is that no one really buys them in order to solve actual decorating problems.

Like all the best fantasies, the world of decorating magazines is governed by clear rules, is marvellously consistent and has very little whatsoever to do with real life. Here, after all, is a world where ‘trends’ apply to the sort of furniture that costs thousands of pounds. How often do you ever hear anyone say ‘I bought my kingfisher-blue sofa from Heals this summer, and I thought I liked it, but now it seems that the autumn trend is for mulberry-and-gunmetal, so I had better buy a new sofa instead?’

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