Religion makes you decorate your house like a colourblind imbecile
We’re house hunting* and have been witness to a bizarre variety of decorating options over the course of the ~10 houses we’ve seen so far. I’ve noticed a fascinating pattern of religious ornamentation. I’ve seen lots of Christian stuff, including crosses, crucifixes, inspirational posters, and East Orthodox icons. I’ve seen serious, old-fashioned Buddhas and jolly rotund Buddhas. I’ve seen the many arms of Vishnu (“hey, Ganesha, want a peanut?”). And, amazingly, despite the very limited sample size, some very definite trends have emerged that correlate religious expression with home fashion sense:
1) No Religious Ornamentation – This coincides strongly with the having the best home fashion: inviting colours, tasteful, well laid-out furniture, decent artwork. I can’t say for sure whether the current inhabitants actually live this well thought-out life of irreligion and good taste or if it’s just a ploy to sell the house better, ie. Obtain new furniture that you’ll return once you sell the house and clean the house to make it more presentable, ie. Hide your creepy religion. Regardless, these houses show very well.
2) One Dominant Religion on Display – This has always been one form of Christianity (no dominant Hindus yet). This coincides strongly with a more conservative approach to home décor. Sometimes it can be quite tasteful in a ‘granny’ sort of way. Mostly, it is just austere and cold, often keeping the unimaginative original carpet and paint. Typically the colours are drab or plain white. Crosses/crucifixes are obvious in the entrance and usually in the kitchen/dining area and in the bedrooms. There are usually bibles somewhere and maybe some fridge magnets, inspirational posters, even some artwork. Generally not too inviting.
2.5) Fascinatingly, there is a subset of this grouping: One dominant religion plus one wacky apostate – Twice I saw houses that looked like normal religious homes when I was suddenly floored by an incongruous room with a Buddha, Chinese calendars, incense, etc. Both times, this stuff was tucked away in the smallest, crappiest bedroom (actually a converted office room in one case and a cramped partially finished basement room in the other). I get a feeling the rest of the family is hiding these poor souls: tucked away in the darkest, lowest build-quality rooms to live their sinful lives in shame. Or I could just be building the story up in my mind. Either way, weird.
3) Religious Hodgepodge – These houses are living nightmares of décor. There are religious items of all sorts – Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, various Asian traditional religions – basically anything with some sort of catchy motif or trendy ‘religion of the day’ fad associated with it. There are typically woo books on the bookshelf. The paint is insane, usually bright and contrasting and not pale enough to be unobtrusive or dark enough to be soothing. For instance, one place kept the original burnt rose carpet and augmenting it with lime green walls. Furnishings are laid out in strange ways that interfere with movement. Furnishings are also hideously ugly, being of garish designs and colours that look like they are from a bad ‘80s science fiction show. They might have been trendy in the gawd-awful yuppieverse of the ‘80s, but did I mention all these houses were built in 2001 or later? Just atrocious. The basement of one had been converted into some sort of twisted dance club, complete with a superugly black and mirrored wet bar (of the aforementioned bad ‘80s science fiction variety - amazingly, it matched the master bedroom furniture), disco ball, and several miniature plasma lights instead of regular lightbulbs.
While correlation does not equal causation, I will go out on a limb and say that religion seems to impair your taste in some way, or that if your taste is impaired, you will choose to be religious. I will further say, in regards to the class #3 people out there: HOLY FUCK, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? HOW DOES YOUR HOME MAKE SENSE IN ANY WAY? WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE WATCHING TRADING SPACES: HOME EDITION, WERE YOU REALLY HOPPED UP ON A COCKTAIL OF ASSORTED HALLUCINOGENS AND WATCHING AMERICAN GLADIATORS? I MEAN, SERIOUSLY, WTF?!!!
Other than that, I have discovered that in about 40% of homes, regardless of income or education, there will be some form of blatant hockey-related ornamentation not necessarily confined to the rooms of the children. This is Canada, after all.
* There’s a chance I’ll even be close enough to walk to work, which would be very cool.