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