Lately, your favorite Dandy has become an enthusiastic list-maker.  Most likely, this started with my use of my iPhone’s reminder app.  It seemed so innocent at first: make a note that could be location or calendar-based.  The iPhone would remind me, I’d never forget anything, would always look like I’m incredibly-organized (not a natural towering strength) & all the world would love me. Slippery slope, y’all…

I live & die by a quality checklist.  And, I feel compelled to guide & mentor the future Dandies of this world that may not know when they are venturing into dangerous territory.  Defining your personal style of decor is all trial & error & I’d like to help the next generation avoid some pitfalls.  No doubt, this will prove exceedingly helpful & will be discussed with the same glassy-eyed zeal that Oprah has when discussing The Secret.  Also, I recently watched Cider House Rules & fell in love with Tobey Maguire again.  It’s a vicious cycle…

Ten Things I Hate & You Should Never, Ever Do In Your Home:

  1. Themes Rooms: Nothing makes me cringe more than when I walk into someone’s home & I hear, “This is the Bicentennial Room” or, “my living room is done in Asian Traditional, my kitchen in Rustic Mediterranean, my bathroom in Danish Modern & my bedroom in Modern Southern American Folk Art pieces”. My shoulder blades constrict & I have to choke down the urge to scream, “Christ on crutches! Is choosing a central theme so difficult?! I mean, it’s taught to elementary school children for God’s sake!”.  To some, this reaction sounds extreme.  Others understand how blindly enraged excessive theme rooms can make a person.  So, for the good of all, exercise restraint.  A simple nod to a new style is all you need.
  2. Plastic on the lampshades: For women of my grandmother’s generation, plastic on the lampshades was not uncommon at all.  Then again, Velveeta, shaving your eyebrows & home perm kits were also not uncommon.  I don’t know about y’all, but I wouldn’t allow any of those things in my home either.
  3. Kitty Condos in your living room: Nothing says, “I have no idea how to create a room in which my friends & family want to spend their time” like plopping a one of these monstrosities down next to the chair in which I am supposed to sit, relax & drink my mint juleps.  Don’t misread me, your Dandy loves animals.  I rescued more strays as a child than anyone else I can think of.  I still do. However, I don’t feel it necessary to renovate my home so that Kitty can climb to the ceiling.  Cats, like children, should be taught to sit on a sofa & look cute.
  4. Matching sets of furniture: Let me say that I get it.  It’s easy to walk into a Rooms To Go, pick out a set of furniture, get a complimentary TV or whatever they’re giving away at the time, go home, accept delivery, arrange it once & go on with the rest of your life.  I wish I were that easy for me, y’all.  The thing I dislike about sets of furniture is that they’re too easy.  The style of your home should say something about YOU.  And, I’m not sure “I’m willing to take a package deal if I don’t have to be creative” is the message that you want to send.  Mix it up!  Buy a sofa at one store, chairs at another.  Find some cool old tables on Craigslist.  Stay away from the personal ads.  They’re sketchy. Put a little effort into it.  Not only will everyone think you’re so stylish & clever, you won’t ever have that embarrassing moment of walking into someone else’s house & realizing that y’all have the same ugly RTG living room set.
  5. Loose, Exposed power cables: I live in an old house.  I understand the advantages like wood floors, original moldings & plaster walls that you could hang a body from.  I also understand that, prior to the 1980s, contractors deemed it seemingly excessive to put more than one outlet in an entire room.  Yours truly has had to run wires across rooms before just to do basic things like have a lamp where it needed to be.  That doesn’t mean your HOME should look like a sad, depressing office space.  Cable-management is not rocket science.  Go to a home supply store, buy a bag of zip ties & commence to crawling around on the floor & under furniture to do your best to combine all cables & wires & hide them.  Will your posture be shot for a few days afterwards? Most probably.  But, here is the frightening truth: marriage equality isn’t the downfall of our society; visual clutter is.
  6. Bright Overhead Lighting: Like being reminded how much older you’re getting?  Like counting the lines forming around your eyes? How about seeing every pet hair or speck of dust that has accumulated on your chinoiserie coffee table since you dusted 5 minutes ago?  If y’all answered yes to any of these, then you’re a bad person & there may be no hope for you.  I too have a light kit on pretty much every ceiling fan.  But those are for  emergencies.  Real emergencies like in I Am Legend when that virus started turning people into dark-seeking monsters. (Little know fact: if more people had emergency overhead lighting, that movie would have never happened.  They would have turned on the OHL, the monsters would have died & Will Smith would have spent the next hour & a half of his screen time doing pull-ups.  And, that, would have been a damn good movie.)
  7. Excessive amount of pillows: Look, I love pillows as much as the next Dandy.  But, seriously, you’re not in a harem.  Cool it on the throw pillows.  Especially on your bed.  Moderation, y’all…
  8. Living Rooms without surfaces: This is very similar to the living room with a kitty condo next to the chair that I’m supposed to sit in.  I need an end table, coffee table, somewhere to put my cocktail.  So, don’t be that person that has nothing but a sofa in your living room (yes ma’am, I have been in these houses before.  They’re willing to spend a small fortune on shoes at Bloomingdale’s and have three pieces of furniture in their entire house).  Also, don’t be the person that has so much stuff on every table that there is literally not even room for me to sit my iPhone on it.  That’s just annoying.  Everyone knows your iPhone has to be visible & accessible at all times.
  9. Accent Walls:  OK, OK, calm down.  Hear me out.  The reason accent walls made the list is simple.  They’re difficult to pull off.  I actually love a good accent wall.  My personal preference is that they are done in a color closely matched to the other walls.  I’ve done the whole khaki-colored walls with red accent wall thing.  I’ve also done creamy white walls with a dark chocolate accent.  Learn from my mistakes y’all. Even I’m not perfect (collective gasp).
  10. Fake Flowers: They’re pointless.  Dried flowers are cool.  Live flowers & plants are even better.  Do a little research.  There are a ton of options out there for even the blackest thumbed among us.  “ZZ plants” will live in almost any situation.  I think they’d even live in The Situation’s bedroom.  Seriously, I’ve seen them in restaurants tucked in corners that not only didn’t get any natural light, but that were illuminated with a couple of weak accent lights.  Also, orchids live a really long time if you select them properly. (Side note: learn how to select orchids).  Do your homework.  It really isn’t that difficult, y’all.  And, if a plant or two dies, it’s ok.  No one thinks you’re a bad person.  Except some obscure plants rights activist groups.  Don’t even get me started.