One Word You Don’t Want

formal dining room, unsourced on pinterest


You thought I was gonna tell you what that word is, right?


Nope, once again you get to decide.  I’ve loved this post Darlene wrote about how she figured out she didn’t want her home to be cute. She likes cute things in other homes, but it wasn’t for her.  And Cute is even on her “Don’t Buy List”, it’s a fantastic concept and one that she’s already written about so beautifully that today, I encourage you to stop by Darlene’s blog Fieldstone Hill and read what she has to say about Don’t Buy Words.

I like how that helped her narrow down what would and would NOT be in her home.  Knowing what not to buy is just as important as knowing what TO buy.

I don’t really have a “Don’t Buy” word, but I do have a word that I don’t want my house to FEEL like. That word is Formal.  I think formal rooms are pretty and have their place but they just aren’t for me.I don’t want my home to feel too formal.  I’m not a formal person–at all.  I have chippy toe nail polish, loosely fitting slipcovers and a head planter wearing a pink moustache.

Now, I’m a little different and even though I don’t want my house to feel FORMAL, I still might mix in a formal item or two because I love to mix up unexpected things.  So for me, it’s not a Don’t Buy word, but it’s a “Watch out for” word.  I don’t think one formal item will make my house formal, but, I don’t want the over all feeling to be formal.  Is formal even a word?  Suddenly it sounds like I just made it up.

Anyway, what’s your word?  And you know what the best part is? There’s no wrong answer!


  1. sterile. My house cannot and will not be sterile. It will have lots and lots of life and character and color:)

  2. First of all i agree with you on the formal thing! Great post…hmmmm….my word would be “ordinary”. I so try to find things or create things that have a bit of a story…which makes it a never ending process!

  3. Contrived. As much as I want my home to express our quirks, I don’t want it to feel forced. I want to naturally create an environment that expresses who we are and what we’re about.

  4. Contrived – such homes always rob the hostess of authenticity. I prefer to know (and be known) someone as they are, not as an image they feel they ought to present.

    • After thinking about this for a couple of hours and then posting without refreshing the page, it made me laugh to discover that Joy (right before me) has come up with the same word!

  5. I’ll go with ‘trendy’. We should decorate with what makes us happy today and always. :-)

  6. Thoughtless. I would,ove for every portion of my home to have a purpose or thought behind it’s presence or appearance.

  7. I have been thinking about the style of my house. i think i need a DO word. I have to find my style and go from there. Cute is not alright in my book either, or formal. I don’t have enough room for formal and it seems useless.

  8. Settling. When I go looking for ___________ to put in my house, be it a new frame or a piece of furniture, I have a HORRIBLE habit of settling for the thing that will fit the bill but isn’t exactly what I was looking for. It’s never long before I’m wishing I could get rid of it because I didn’t really love it in the first place but I feel guilty for wasting money and keep it around, sometimes for years!
    When I finally do set eyes on something that makes my heart SING, I rarely get it because a) I already spent money getting the runner up thing or b) its usually more expensive because it’s vintage or better quality and I don’t give myself permission to spend the money. (Forget about all the money I wasted buying things I didn’t love!) Ridiculous.

  9. Formal would be on the list for me as well. I don’t want a home that looks so crisp and stiff that guests can’t let their hair down (plus I specialize in chipped toe nail paint too)

  10. My word would be Unwelcoming. I always want my house to feel welcoming like a “come in, relax and stay a while and it doesn’t matter if you spill your coffee or get mud on the carpet” kinda feel.

  11. I don’t currently have a home (living with my parents in a kind of in-between phase of my life) but when I am able to set up shop again, I don’t want my home to be sterile. I used to really go for this look, and it proved to be more aesthetic than functional.

  12. Collectible or collectors items — translation: collect [dust on your shelf] -ible. If I want to collect something I’ll decide what that is (and where to store it) Kids art, photos, books I aspire to read (yes, that’s you, Bros Karamazov). So I miss a Beany Baby boom or two, oh well.

  13. UNCOMFORTABLE would be my word.
    I like many styles and many “things” but for me they need to be put together in a way that doen’t prevent you from living in your home or family and friends from enjoying themselves.
    We have “formal” livingroom and diningroom on each side of front entry foyer. The rooms are not large and small f formal. They are formal enough to make them special and make us like to use them. Mac and cheese and hot dogs are served in the dining room as well as Son’s Prom dinner for just him and his girlfriend (served by mom and dad). The family room, kitchen,dining area, and sunroom are the hub of the house and when we have people over every room is used. The comment we hear most is ” Your house is so comfortable” and that means more than beautiful. Beautiful is nice too but comfortable is what we try to achieve.

  14. Boring! I am stiiiiillllll working on decorating our home we moved into in December 2011. But I guess it will never be done? Right now, we just have some pretty boring basics, but I am slowly bringing in the fun, personality and color! I hope our home will continue to transition from boring to show our personalities and interests more. I love the idea of this post!

  15. My don’t word is “formal” as well. I want our home to be comfortable and welcoming. Lived in and show the things we both love. :)

  16. Lifeless. My mom is relentless on being neat and clean – which is good in theory, but I think a home should look like people live there currently, not like it’s getting ready to sell. My home is neat, but I also have a couch that you can see where people’s butts have sat – and a junk basket that has scribbled post-its and pens – and coats on the coat rack.
    I also try to only buy things that are dual purpose, that have drawers and shelves so things can be neat (in their place) but they can still be used.

  17. cute is mine. but I may have to steal formal too…. I tend to accidentally purchase formal, because I love sophisticated. BUT I also love comfort. And since I think you can have it all, why not sophisticated AND comfortable. So, formal is out! Great word!!
    THANK YOU for this kind post. I am blushing all sorts of pinks over here.

  18. My word is Trendy. I have a vision of how I would ideally like my home and I need to remind myself when I see something cute that it’s not in-keeping with the rest of the house. Cool colors is my other – it works well in main areas of other peoples’ homes, but not mine. :)

  19. I loved Darlene’s post on this topic so much that I finally figured out what my don’t buy word is and wrote a post about it not too long ago. Mine is actually a phrase – “this will work” and it’s totally changed the way I shop and decorate my home. Great post! I think my don’t-want-my-house-to-feel-like word is “decorated” – i want it to look collected – not too overly thought out. Guess I need to stop thinking about it so much ;)

  20. Hey, I just wrote something about this! For me, the word is DEFINITELY “trendy.” I can easily spot it in other people’s decisions, but I sometimes find I have trouble spotting it in mine (!). I know I like antiques and timeless styles in general, but of course, vintage and industrial styles are both having “a moment” right now, so I am confronted with vintage-y things or rustic, timelessly-functional looking things, and I can’t always tell whether my reaction is, “that’s pretty – it looks like a real antique, and I would also love it in 20 years,” or, “that’s pretty – it really reminds me of some unaffordable stuff at Restoration Hardware.” I have to discipline my mind to make these distinctions constantly, for the lure of set-designed advertising is so strong…

  21. My word would be museum-ey. And it’s very likely not even a word. But you know those houses where everything is so neat and perfect that you worry about touching anything? Let alone allowing your children to enter into?

    I love the feeling of a picked up house but we always have a random toy basket and the bar area between our kitchen and living room is never set up and seasonal but always a mess of preschool paperwork, mail and diaper rash cream.

    I like a little lived in and I want people to feel like not only do WE live here, but so can they when they enter into our home.

  22. loved the dining room pic. i just pinned it. lolz

  23. I loved Darlene’s style identification series! My don’t buy words were graphic, bright, and clever. The first two are trends I like in pictures but they feel uneasy in my home when I try them out. Clever is something that seduces me intellectually (latest example: 60’s era glass vase with an interesting lozenge shape) where I go Oh isn’t that neat, won’t people think that’s interesting, but actually it’s not really my thing.

  24. Meaningless. I would rather have some sentimental clutter than have simple and orderly store bought items that mean nothing to me.

  25. Cheap… who doesn’t love a great deal!? I absolutely adore finding a great steal but I want quality goods at a”get the car” price. The last thing I want is for my house to feel like a mass of cheap stuff. A low price isn’t worth sacrificing style, comfort, or quality.

  26. Dated! Being in a 1970s building, traditional and mid century modern decor is a slippery slope to an apartment that feels stuffy and dated. I have found that a mix of rustic, contemporary and chic decor, with a touch of glam, is the only way to chase out that old stuffy feeling.

Leave a Reply to Olusola Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.