The subject of home furnishings has never really registered on my radar. It's not that I've ever consciously tried to avoid the subject or even given it much thought either way; you could say I've been indifferent to it, agnostic even. I've been aware of it but it's never occupied a space in my life where I've had to give it any great attention; until now.
I've recently moved house and it wasn't the easiest thing I've ever had to do. Anyone who's ever moved house will understand what I mean. There are solicitors to deal with who speak a different language from the rest of us, there are estate agents who not only speak a different language but also appear to come from another planet or dimension where normal rules do not apply! And then there are the logistics involved; gas suppliers, water, electric, the telephone company, removal men . . . the list goes on. So it came as some surprise to me when home furnishings supplied welcome relief from what was turning into a nightmare experience.
I wouldn't describe myself as particularly creative or inventive when it comes to interior design and picking out home furnishings to fill a room, or at least I wouldn't have until a few weeks ago. After this recent house move, which was from a small rented flat into a house with two bedrooms, a living room, dining room and separate kitchen, I realized I didn't own much furniture. I had the basics; bed, sofa, a few chairs but little else. I realized that the only things I'd actually added to the rented flat were a few badly constructed shelves and I'd left those behind.
So I stood in my new house, a blank canvas, wondering what other people do when they have so much space to play with. For a few days I just stared at the bare walls, vast spaces and did nothing. Where should I start? But just as the enormity of the task of decorating and furnishing the house became too much for me to take I had a stroke of luck. A home furnishings brochure was posted through the letter box and I was on my way.
Looking through the brochure I was amazed at how much was on offer. I was bowled over by the things that I could buy. In the back of my mind I had vision of the 70's house I was brought up in and the awful ornaments and accessories that sat on the shelves like kitsch artworks; completely out of context but in tune with the times. Home furnishings in the 70's tried so hard to look modern but ended up looking like they were designed by children with a palette full of colors who still manage to make everything a muddy brown color.
I ordered more home furnishings catalogues and threw myself into the task of decorating the house. I found I was able to indulge my love of movies and music in the choices I made and I was even able to buy things that I know my parents would never have allowed into their 70's abode.
The living room I turned into a cross between an art gallery and a home cinema or entertainment centre. I had one home furnishings brochure that had large art canvas prints of scenes from my favorite films and musicians that I admired. I decorated the walls with those and bought some large shelving units that held all my CDs and DVDs.
My bedroom I filled with cushions and mirrors, all with a hint of red to them and of course more prints of movies and musicians. I was even able to turn the second bedroom into a space age looking office space with clever use of angle poise lamps and other home furnishings. I'd say I'm half way to finishing the job now, next task is the kitchen. I'm thinking the Mos Eisley canteen from Star Wars!
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the interior design industry.
Find out more about Home Furnishings and interior design.