The dark side of home improvement

It all starts with buying one very funky thing. Once it’s in your house, everything else that is not sufficiently funky starts to nag at you, wanting to be replaced. You then replace them, one by one or in big groups, until everything reaches or exceeds the level of funkiness set by the first thing.

I had planned only to fix the broken things in the house: renovate the nasty bathroom, paint the walls, organize the closets, replace the furnace. My first funky thing was the chartreuse paint in the kitchen. It made all the colors I’d planned for the rest of the house seem dull and uninspired. So, I started picking brighter and odder shades, most noticeably Chinese Red for the dining room. I haven’t yet finished all the rooms but already each morning when I wake up, I feel I’m living in a box of Crayola crayons.

Then the old furniture seemed staid, so I bought new couches — not couches even, but settees, and an armless chair. Then a lamp. Then another lamp. Then the shelves looked all wrong, so new shelves are now on their way.

Then I bought and installed this lamp. (Not at that price.) And with that lamp I transitioned into a whole other realm of home decor. I’ve nearly run out of rooms to update, and I’ve definitely run out of money. And I’ve only now happened upon the look I want.

Incidentally, also on that Design Within Reach website (they call it Design Within
Reach but perhaps it should be Design Several Steps Outside Of Your Budget) are these nifty rug squares I’m going to use for an area rug. You buy a bunch in coordinating colors, and then you can arrange and rearrange them as needed, in a grid. It’s ideal for people with children or pets (or messy friends, or messy selves), because if a square gets stained you can replace it without replacing the whole rug/carpet. The manufacturer has even more colors and styles.

I bought a couple to check them out, and promptly spilled dirt and water from a plant all over the lightest colored ones. The care guide said to rinse them out under the faucet and soak up the water, and sure enough they’re clean again. Very space age. Can’t wait for the first time one of my cats throws up on one of them.