Digital Decorating Dilemmas

Today our ‘Monthly Musing’ comes from none other than Megan Morton, interiors stylist, writer, house whisperer, and principal of The School.

Today Megan unpacks a common decorating dilemma – the great divide between digital and real life. For all it efficiencies, the internet can be to interior design what drive thru is to food. Fast, always available, but prone to leave you even hungrier than before.

Never fear, today Megan shares her tried and tested tips for finding your digital vs. real life decorating equilibrium.

Megan Morton

Megan Morton’s impressive bookshelves! Illustration by Jeffrey D. Phillips.

Megan Morton
29th of May 2015

As far as calculations go, $2760 may seem like an odd amount. But I am in what I call a ‘delusional spending bliss’ – the act of spending money you don’t have, joyfully, on decisions you will live with in your forever-bedroom. I am peaking like a child who has been given chocolate for the first time. My face is riddled with pleasure. I am parking in spots that aren’t designated for cars. I feel like all my favourite stores must be in cahoots with me, chasing the same beautiful unicorn.

My inner stylist is talking to my outer shopper, whispering ‘go for it’. I am high-fiving myself. I am high fiving the barista and small children. I am high fiving anyone in my decorating path. That is, until the credit card company texts me. They have resorted to such methods because I wouldn’t take their calls. I was too busy trying to dodge import duty on a pendant light that is going to be the rainmaker in the bedroom.

Seeing one of my posh clients at the shops doesn’t even break my trance. She asks if I have just come from yoga. I say, ‘No Sheila, this is just my buying face.’ I leave with a third bedside table lamp that I have no room in the budget for, let alone a table for, and Sheila with paintings for her salon wall that we are working on the week after.

I should have known better. I have done this for people (and for myself) for a very long time now. You see my paid workday was cancelled, and in a knee-jerk reaction, I decided the only decent thing to do would be to spend the afternoon at the shops. I am wanting this bedroom done. And I want it done now, in instagram time, not normal time. My ratio is 1 insta day equals 10 normal days. So before I even start, I am officially behind schedule and by COB there will be another 4029 #beautifulbedrooms completed. We are making houses beautiful in a trying time.

For all its efficiency, the internet is also causing some major work-flow-confusion. We use the ‘net as our home improvement walkie-talkie, pinging clients pleasing chair/table combinations on Insta. Lounges are put on credit cards, decided from a photo that is not even half the size of a credit card! The most popular instagram users put up a tapestry of screenshot images as their styling avatar, hoping no one will poke around for the real evidence. And Pinterest mood boards are about as useful to a builder as a birthplan.

The internet can be to design what drive thru is to food. Fast, always available, but prone to leave you even hungrier than before. Starving in fact.

Thanks to all of this endless abundance, true beauty has never been so elusive. So, instead of getting worked into a frenzy, I call it a day, go for a swim and defuse my rampage. Making a house beautiful isn’t something you can just ‘add to cart’ or Pin-into-reality. The best rooms aren’t ever made in an afternoon. It is a long distance relay, and a beautiful home is something you have to step up to.

Tried and tested tips for finding your digital vs. real life decorating equilibrium :

– Spend comparable time off line to on. (For some home truths around this one I suggest you time log yourself when online, pretend you are on Internet Weight Watchers).

– Note the amount of times a post, picture or suggestion on instagram makes you want to cringe, versus those that make you feel like you are suspended by sunbeams.

– Be sure to meet a maker or a shopkeeper IRL for every couple of ‘add to carts’ you complete.

– Try to keep your own style muscle exercised, even though you may be neck deep in screen grabs from other people’s feeds.

– Vow to view things in person.

– Concede that the most beautiful things in life will not ever be better on the Internet. (Babies and afogatos are cases in point of how real beauty works as living experiences over contained captures).

– Consider a device free day. Mine is Wednesday. (And it is a piece of midweek heaven and the reason why I get all my good ideas on Thursdays).

If you have managed to assess your digital versus real life balance, please follow Megan on Instagram at @megan_morton or her magical School @theschoolinstagram where her talent teach amazing classes. If not, visit her at The Studio, 2/85 Dunning Ave Rosebery. She is upstairs trying to write some new books and welcomes all real life disruptions. Especially those involving babies or affogatos.

Jeffrey Phillips is an editorial and commercial illustrator based in Melbourne.

Illustration by Jeffrey D. Phillips.

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