Is Your Interior Design Style too "Home Depot Chic?"

It is not surprising that when the American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services opened over 2000 stores across the United States since 1979, it single handedly changed the way we viewed our interiors and the world. Thirty years later after replacing everything brass with its cousin, chrome, have we gone too far? In sprucing up your domicile, like those found at the big box stores, have you actually increased your resale value or lowered it? Professionally, I would have to say that 20 years ago - you raised it, but today, I would have to admit that if you are still choosing the $9.99 pendent light to hang over the dining room table as your most recent update, you have lowered it. 

Interior design elements in your home are intended to be an extension of your personal style and taste. A successful interior environment makes its inhabitants comfortable, motivated, inspired and most of all, happy to be home at the end of a long day. However, this was not the case 30 years ago, when The Home Depot started selling mass quantities of fixer-upper materials to the mass public. Things such as: Institutionalized brass plated door knobs, oak colonial moldings, formaldehyde-filled particle board cabinets essentially wrapped in contact paper, sagging plastic blinds, risky ceramic tiles... and lets not forget grandma's selection of wallpaper and borders that made their way into America's homes and are dreaded everywhere with their super glue adhesives that require endless amounts of sweat equity to remove. Attempting the removal, as I have done, is just insanity!

Today people are fascinated with the idea of interior design thanks to the education of those gurus like Martha Stewart, Candice Olsen and the one and only, HGTV. Our friends and guests alike love to ogle over our personal interiors with their savvy gazes and knowledgeable vocabularies, but where does that leave you? The one that still lives inside of the house that The Home Depot built! You don't seem to be receiving very many compliments on your peeling brass door knobs or your sagging and yellowing plastic blinds! How does one, such as yourself, move forward without making the same mistakes again? Listen up, follow these strategic moves and watch as you transform from drab to fab!

1.  Back to the big box store: If you still have not learned your lesson and you need to return to the scene of the crime because (1) it is the only store in your town or (2) you still don't have internet - try these hints to help you out. Do not to be mesmerized by the inexpensive price tags and try to focus more on the style of the piece. Buy something that you haven't seen before. On a better note: it can be tricky but sometimes and I mean sometimes, the big box stores do have some stylish buys.

2.  Change of style: On the other hand, if you have already recently filled your entire home with everything that is on the lowest level of the design spectrum, try turning a new leaf. Leave your comfort zone and change up your design style. Once you have done that, practice working these everyday bland and common pieces out of your environment and replace them with more defining elements of style that resemble your personality and what you like, not just what you think you can afford. 

3.  Revitalize: Take the brass surface mounted light down and spray paint it a color to match/coordinate with a room. Add individual shades on to the light bulbs of the dining room chandelier and take a risk by adding some fringe or other embellishments like glass beads. This will really make it your own statement piece. 

4.  Internet: You don't always have to buy what is in your local stores. The 21st century brought us the internet and it is time that you start using it! You can find anything in the universe that you could possible want, just in front of your fingertips from the world-wide-web. The amazing thing that will affect your pocket book is that you don't have to pay sales tax or shipping on the majority of items out there for purchase. Try it out and you may become addicted faster than you think! 

A redesign of an entire house or even fixing up an individual space can be very physically and mentally rewarding, but in many cases can become overwhelming for the novice. Don't hesitate to enlist the assistance of a professional interior designer with your project, however small or large if you are feeling scared or stuck. Interior designers are educated and licensed to assist individuals in finding personal style, maximizing purchasing power, educating and most of all, working within budgets. Interior design professionals are well versed with the millions of resources available, know how get the biggest bang for the buck that will guarantee resale value and return on investment.

So, for your next remodel or even your small fixer-upper, forfeit "Home Depot Chic" as your default design style and take a more pragmatic approach to your method. Use your trips to the big box stores for screws and nails and leave the interior finishes up to the professionals that understand the mental and physical values of interior design.

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What have you bought at a big box store that has either helped or hindered you? Leave a comment below or contact Shane at shane@theinmancompany.com

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  • Been there done that "Home Depot Chic"....Too funny and real. It sold after doing much of what you advised, especially the brass lights, and cheap tile.

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  • Home Depot Chic??? Too funny! Bottom line is..there is nothing like a well designed home to add value. People can smell "cheap" a mile away.

    Great tips Shane, Thanks for the ideas :)

  • Great blog Shane. It is much more cost effective to hire a professional Interior Design Consultant to assist with your room re-do. Having things done correctly the first time definately saves time, money and heartaches. Michelle is so correct, people can smell "cheap" a mile away. By the way, you did a fabulous job with the kitchen re-do for the parade of re-modeled homes here in Traverse City last weekend. What a transformation. Cannot wait to read your next blog.

  • Very true, but if you are patient and have some design sense, it is amazing what you can pick up in the least expected places -- I got a cute little side table at Target (incidentally, their stuff is pretty good design) that even my fussiest design friends liked. It's not good enough to be the centerpiece of my living room, but a great little find. Such finds are everywhere. But the major pieces should come from a
    quality furniture/design source.

  • As always excellent design advice Shane! The revitalize info is great for simple yet highly effective design updates. Additionally, jumping on the internet bandwagon is sage advice. Thank you for sharing your expertise with the masses for free. Just imagine what extraordinary direction a person would receive by acquiring your services? Frankly their space will catapult into a design level that will leave others salivating.

  • I love this post. With all the big boxes taking over, it's nice to support the smaller boutiques and designers anyway.
    Thanks Shane!

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