I did not choose the curtains I’m looking at, nor the ornate mirror on the wall or the ancient and solid mahogany wardrobe where my jeans and wool coat hang. I did not wade through rows and rows of wallpaper patterns to find myself staring at the beige and taupe flowers on the walls. The portrait of the victorian lady dressed in a shawl was not something I picked up at an antiques fair though I imagine she would find herself quite comfortable there. This is not my room, but one I’ve borrowed for a time in my family’s home. It’s cozy and familiar and my things are nestled in along the bookshelves and dressers that surround me, but I never quite forget that this room is not me. I’m fond of it, the way I’m fond of an old friend, who’s personality is not quote like my own, but we’re friends just the same, despite our differences.
It’s funny how you can tell so much about someone by the way they choose their decor. You would know my personality in an instance if you looked into my office at home, but the rest of the house belongs to a stranger, someone who chose the furnishings for someone else, as though expecting a guest with particular tastes.
Look around your favourite room. What do the items in it say about you? Is there one room in the house more your personality than others? Next time you visit someone, observe the items in their house, on the mantle, on the shelves and decorating the walls, What can you glean from what is settled there?
This is more an exercise in observation and description. Got the picture in your mind? Good – now go write it down. For fun, create a story about someone who stays at a friends house for the first time. What possessions do they encounter and what new insight into their host’s character do they gather?