But have you noticed what I've noticed about how the lower middle class is presented in television shows? Their homes are bathed in color. People who have above-average means (most people on television) tend to have a general color theme, but "poor" people just have random stuff sitting around, I guess, and that is what shows us that they're not people of means.
Of course the first thing to spring into my mind is the Conner house from "Roseanne." My grandma crocheted (or knitted??) at least one blanket like that. How about yours? I guess the theme here is that they have mismatched pieces of furniture, and this shows that they don't have any money, because if they did, they'd have stuff that was matchy-matchy? In fact, did they change it the last season?
Oh, another thing that shows "poverty" in television shows is the colorful restrooms. Here's the one in the Conner house.
I actually dig the flamingo curtain, obvs. I'm sure if someone bought a house with this bathroom today, they'd rip it out... but I don't know that I would. I think it's kind of cute.
The bathroom on "Malcolm in the Middle" had a similar pink and blue theme, but I can only find a .gif of that from the spider episode. So just trust me.
On "Married with Children," the living room was kind of bland, but that was to illustrate Al Bundy's life, I'm guessing. His very colorful wife had a bathroom that reflected her own personal, ahem, taste?
On The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, Kimmie and Titus live in a basement apartment in an allegedly poor (but gentrifying) and crime-ridden area of New York. Again, we have these deep, rich colors: turquoise on the walls, red window coverings, purple paint in another room, patterned flooring, and mismatched couch cushions on a blue couch.
|Oh, plus Ms. White going "upstairs." Genius.|
It doesn't look that small or that awful to me, but when richer people come by, they always remark about how poor Kimmie is. *shrug*
I don't watch Shameless, but have read that it's one of the better depictions of poverty on television righ tnow. Guess what?
Right: colored walls, wallpaper with tiny pattern, that bright turquoise pack-and-play, teal shelves, and colorful stuff on the shelves. Then the kitchen (below) has curtains with a small pattern and a bunch of stuff hanging on the wall. So I guess any small pattern, whether as wallpaper or on draperies, indicates that one didn't have the funds to buy something more subtle?
One of my favorites, both in terms of the television show itself and the decor, is The Middle. It looks "real" to me, and it looks comfortable. And I can relate with the "months without a kitchen sink" thing. I never did that, but I did have no oven for a year once. But I'd totally live in the Hecks' house.
Handmade blankets are another common thread. Do rich people not use hand-crafted items made by grandma or anyone in the family? Do they only buy stuff from Peru that was pre-selected because it complemented their Flor tiles?
This whole house just looks like fun to me. A little loud? Maybe. But I'd take it.
Oh, and we can't forget another infamously poor group: The pals from Friends. Although their lack of funds and "crappy NY apartment" were a joke, guess what they had to PROVE they were poor? Yeah. Turquoise.
Oh, and mismatched dining chairs. Delightful.
So, what does that mean? I don't know, but I look at these obviously color-saturated abodes... Oh, yeah, here's one that's way more literal first.
Where Lois and Hal from Malcolm in the Middle lived after they'd had kids:
Versus where they lived pre-kids, when both had jobs so they had more money (and time to clean, I suppose):
I couldn't find a great picture, but EVERYTHING was white.
Does this Hollywood design strategy reflect a larger truth? Our living room is crazy with randomness, but here's what I see when I look around: 1) A giant old comfy couch (that we haven't moved since 2013 because it's TOO HEAVY and justifies hiring movers all on its own) that was built during the 60s or 70s, likely, and that used to belong to James' grandma. It's orange and yellow and faded brown, as you would expect. 2) A giant blue recliner and a half that I bought for $25 from a guy who was moving out of our old apartment complex. It's SO comfortable. 3) A beat up old travel trunk that I bought off of Craigslist from a guy in Dripping Springs so James would have a place to store stuff in "his" new Austin house, other than just keeping it in boxes. 4) A red foam kids' couch that I got for Mal and that he uses as a ball pit sometimes; one of the best purchases I've made for him (other than his kitchen). 5) A red kids' recliner that someone who has never met me before ordered for Mal because she saw a picture of him watching TV sitting on a stepstool.
You know what? That makes for one loud color pallette, but I love all of these pieces, and I did get an area rug to kind of pull everything together, but it actually adds another color (TURQUOISE!) that wasn't in the living room before, and there's no red in it. So it's still a hot mess. I probably could afford to switch it all out, but why would I?
Color makes me happy. Patterns are fun. When I moved into my house in Sherman, a Las Vegas friend saw a picture of the dining area (which we used as a homeschool room) and said, "You can paint over that wallpaper and it won't hurt my feelings." I never did. It was warm and inviting. Did it look like it belonged in a grandma's house? Probably. But being at Grandma's feels nice, right?
When we moved here, I purposefully got mismatched dining room chairs. Again, I like the variation. And, if one breaks, I don't have to work hard to find an exact match. Just find something else that strikes my fancy at the time (which is a thing that your grandma would have said).
Our bedroom is another non-uniform collection: a bed we got because we gave up on our kid sleeping on his own for years, a leather recliner James "won" in a raffle (his friend was organizing the giveaway and manipulated the drawing), pictures from our trip to Haiti, nightstands that were originally end tables James' parents got as wedding presents maybe, and a cat condo. Oh, and a blue chair back with arms.
I blogged a year or so ago about how I thought I would never own "grown-up" furniture, meaning a set of really anything. At the time, D didn't love my ideas and asked if we'd ever have a cohesive design scheme. However, lately, between the awesome NASA pictures we did (had each one printed on canvas), and the sweet outdoor couch area we finished off today, D is starting to appreciate the "quirky" "style."
So there are two things: I want my house to be comfortable, and I think what we've done accomplishes that. Also, when our little tiny house downtown was up for rent, the listing called it an "adorable eclectic home." Thing is, move our loud, clashy, comfortable stuff out, and it's just this kind of boring itty bitty space.
Thus, I'm sticking with the poor TV folk style. I like it, and I hope you do, too. Feel free to come over any time! <3