Wednesday, August 24

There's no accounting for taste

Want to hear something shocking? I can hardly believe that I'm going to say this publicly, but here goes:

My house has no white walls.

There. I've said it. Not a single wall in my house is painted white. You'll find some subdued colors, like Benjamin Moore Fieldstone in my living room:

What does it mean that there is "no accounting for taste"? Each of us gets to decide what we believe to be beautiful. It's an amazingly freeing concept!

And you'll find some very bold colors, such as the custom blue of my dining room walls.

Ever wondered what it means that there is "no accounting for taste"? Each of us gets to decide what we believe to be beautiful. It's an amazingly freeing concept!

But aside from the half wall below the dining room chair rail, nary a white wall will you find.

Now, even more shocking:

I'm not planning to paint any of my walls white.

You know what that makes me? A little out of step with the decorating times.

White walls are all the rage right now. Surely I need to be painting something?! It's not that I think white walls are ugly; I don't. I admire them in many houses. But I decorate my home according to my own taste, and white walls don't quite fit.

Should I set aside what I prefer and go for what is popular? After all, I write about trying to make my home a place of grace and beauty. Is there something wrong with me? Will the Style Police come to arrest me?

The answer is no.

Have you ever heard the comment "There's no accounting for taste"? I've heard people say that many times, usually while rolling their eyes. For years I assumed that this comment was an insult, because that's the only way I'd ever heard it used. People would look at something they found to be ugly or unappealing and say, "There's no accounting for taste," in the same tone of voice as saying "Ewww. Get that out of my sight."

But now I know that "no accounting for taste" is a statement of fact, and it's actually a very freeing concept.

You see, there are many things in life for which there is very strict accounting. There is accounting for how much money is in your bank account. For the amount you must pay in taxes. For how many pills you get in a prescription and how often you can get it refilled. For how many calories you are able to take in and how many you must expend to lose or gain weight. There's accounting for so much.

But there's no accounting for taste, because taste is not something that is prescribed by an authority or set by laws of nature. Taste is an individual thing, and we're all different.

Now, it is true that many of us agree that certain styles are pleasing or lovely. There are principles of art (color, proportion, symmetry, etc.) that are almost universally appealing. There are some design principles describing things that tend to look good to most of us. And it's certainly true that some tastes are more popular than others. But it's not true that certain kinds of taste are right and others are wrong.

So I'd like to make a proposal: let's stop comparing ourselves with one another and enjoy our own styles. Your taste is your taste, and mine is mine--and there's no accounting for taste! There are no rules. There is no Style Police. Each of us gets to decide what we believe to be beautiful--and then we can enjoy sharing it.

Life is good if we all bless and encourage one another. Vive la différence!


  1. Great post - and I always love seeing that gorgeous dining room! We don't have any white walls either, well not a true white. A couple rooms are creamy like Bone White, Linen White and White Sand but none are a true white-white. I need a little color.

  2. You get an Amen and Hooray from me!! I have some earth tones that some would say are too 'tan' but they make me feel comfortable and we like them, so we are keeping them :)

    It soooo easy for what we see the most of to be what we think is 'best' but that's a slippery slope for sure! Great post :)

  3. Amen! I have no white walls in my home either. I am fine when I see them in other places and even think, "Oh, how cute!" However, I am just not a white wall person. I love color and warmth.
    It is funny, last fall we purchased some farm land. It is sort of a weekend place with the most beautiful pecan trees, pond, etc. There is a manufactured home on it that is really cute. We spend more time outside than in, but every SINGLE time I walk in it, I think I need to paint the "all white" walls.
    We do need to stay true to ourselves.

  4. I am with you 100%!! We own two homes and the only white walls in either house are in the laundry rooms. I love color and pattern and I must have it regardless of what the current trends are. I'll even go a step farther in saying that I don't want to see all white pictures in my Instagram feed either!!

  5. Great message! It sure would be boring if everyone had the same taste. Respect everyone's differences and style yourself and your home to your own tastes. :o)

  6. Hi there, I totally agree with this post! While I have been known, when we lived in Ca. years ago, to have an off white wall color. Now we have lots of different colors. I also admire homes that have white throughout, but for hubby and I it isn't practical. Too many little ones and pets around.
    Thanks for sharing and here's to color!

  7. Your home is beautiful because it's a reflection of you! So glad you can see past the color of walls to know that!😘

  8. You've written about this very well and in such an interesting and thoughtful manner. I totally agree and sometimes, it is not even in someone's budget to be painting or updating all the time so we really should respect each other's choices and not judge.

  9. Richella,

    I too have NO white walls and I love the colors of my rooms which for the most part are deep rich colors. I would get bored very fast with white and even though I admire it in other people's homes, I think it looks very stark and institutional.
    I stick to my style which is mainly Country Victorian which I know is not in style but it is MY style. It is what makes ME happy and that is all that matters. I can not travel so I made my home into the Victorian Bed and Breakfast that I would love to visit and stay at if I could travel....
    I gave up a long time ago in trying to keep up with what was in style because it did not make me happy.
    Go with your heart and nothing else matters!!

  10. I so agree with you!!! I'm not into white walls, but all my walls with the except of 2 rooms are all tan! I love a good neutral wall, and decorate the room with my favorite things with a pop of color. Some people find it boring, but I have come to the conclusion that its my house and I love it and that's all that matters!!! I love this post, makes me love my tan walls even more!

  11. Oh how I love this!! (and no walls in my house are white currently... though I confess my kitchen might be soon since it's just so dark in there and I'm over the green of 9 years ago...!) I have always subscribed to "if it makes you smile and you love it, then you should decorate with it"... Some may think my house is quirky but I'd rather not feel like a stranger in my own home! And we should extend that grace to others as well to be comfortable enough to just do their thing! Thanks for the encouragement Richella ♥

  12. From the comments I see, you're on trend! I have no white walls either. :-)

  13. I love the colors you used in your home. I also don't have white walls and don't think that I ever will since they really wouldn't go with my furnishings. I like the look, I just know it's not for me!

  14. Great post Richella....My name is Shirley and I have no white walls! It would be a very boring world if everyone decorated exactly the expression of yourself....I love your beautiful, warm and inviting home filled with love and beautiful color!!

  15. I say paint in any color that makes us happy. The trends change so quickly and there is no way I plan on painting my rooms everytime the color of the moment changes. I am behind on my house painting schedule but when I get back to it I will paint the walls the colors I love. You have a beautiful house and I enjoy your posts.

  16. Your room is looking very cute specially your yellow chairs i really like them. Your all renovation is excellent. renovations surrey

  17. No white walls here either! I can admire the all white decor in others' homes, but it is not for me. I like color, I think it is cozy.


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