Many stressful decisions characterise middle-aged life, but none more than buying furniture and painting walls. In simpler times, in the days of my parents, this was not much of a deal. You kept porcelain crockery, the precious-looking kind that you never used, in glass cases in the living room. Storage receptacles like the almirah, usually from Godrej or Raj & Raj, which housed everything from clothes to family jewellery, were chosen purely based on the thickness of the steel. This, of course, made sense since its purpose was to prove protection against, according to urban legend, the “acid” that all dacoits carried.
Not that displaying the family crockery in the living room was similarly logical. Still, my generation knew better than to ask elders questions. However, the conventions of interior design were well established: a money plant next to the couch, a vase on the coffee table, a framed picture of the Mona Lisa on the wall next to Rabindranath Tagore, and of all the things people were judged on, their choice of furniture and design was not one of them.
Fast-forward to today. The pernicious YouTube and television have implanted in our collective minds an aesthetic, driven by influencers in the pay of furniture and paint companies, of what well-designed living spaces should be. So, no, you cannot paint all walls with the same paint shade; that would be too economical. You need accent walls, one wall painted in a totally different way, so yes, buy a totally useless can of paint or five.
Neither can you get all the furniture colour-coordinated and purchased from the same store for a bulk discount; that would be “matchy-matchy”, which apparently is a major faux pas, deserving of ridicule. Things need to be mismatched to give an organic lived-in-feel, but no, not like that; too many colours all around is so “ha-ha, what were they thinking!” There should be multiple textures, and some colours are deemed relaxing and some not, and if you are wondering what the science behind it is, there is none; it is what the brown suits in boardrooms want to have incepted in the hive mind till what they want you to think is what you think you think.
Somewhere through the depths of time, the mass-printed Mona Lisa on a generically blue-painted wall smiles benignly at the folly of this age.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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