I have a wardrobe of accessories for my home that I change seasonally or according to mood. The backbone of my décor is neutral to allow me to do this. My rationale is that I wouldn’t wear the same blouse or scarf every day and that is exactly how I feel about cushion covers.
It does, however, make me an uneasy participant in consumer culture. When you review the shelter magazines regularly, as I do, you trip across “must-have” lists of new items that are intended to inform you about current trends and surely keep their advertisers happy.
There was a time when I asked my Mom’s opinion about a new acquisition that I thought made a vast improvement to my décor. She replied, “It’s not better or worse, just different.” Initially, I was dismayed by her response. Now, it seems to me that it is a good yardstick for judging proposed change.
I am ready to spend more money to do things that make an improvement; but I’m less enthusiastic about dropping big bucks just to make it different. That’s where flea markets, second-hand shops and discount stores come in.
Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics writes about “The Hedonic Treadmill” in his fascinating book, The Upside of Irrationality. Apparently, it is hedonic adaptation that causes us to tire – or fail to notice – things that once delighted. A good read for anyone contemplating major purchases.
PS Don’t you just love the new shawl draping my chair? $15.00 from Winners. And, by the way, it’s a rhetorical question.