Think about some of the comments you've heard while touring people through your home. Chances are good that guests have said things like, "Oh, I love your art collection," "That sofa is amazing," or "Your home is so cozy and bright!"
But maybe someone has walked into your home and said, "Sorry, but I think your cabinets just look tired. You need to refinish them," or, "This looks terrible and is idiotic."
Then, of course, there's the possibility that an especially vocal visitor might have stopped, looked around your space, and said simply, "Wow. What the fuck."
It might be hard to fathom (at least I'm hoping that's the case), but all of those words above have been said in response to our own 1960s brick ranch home. The difference between the niceties and the negativity is that the former were spoken in person, while the latter comments were left on my blog and social media accounts beneath photos I've posted of our space.
It's easy for me to tell myself that the naysayers wouldn't respond to our home with such hatred if they were to visit our space in person. I like to think most people are raised better than that. Truthfully though, it's just not a good enough excuse for me. It all comes back to phrases like, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or (every mother's favorite idiom) "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
Sure, I willingly and voluntarily put our home out there on social media, which has led to certain room photos going "viral." Many would say (and have said!) that, like any public figure, I've opened myself up to criticism and opinions about our home, but my place here today is to remind all of those outspoken, opinionated commenters that there are human beings cooking and laughing and making memories behind those digital home photographs you might see while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.
My point is this: designers are people, too. Unconstructive criticism and harsh expletives are, quite simply, rude. Style is such a subjective thing, and, of course, we don't need to agree on every particular execution of it, but let's all try to rethink (and especially reword) our reactions to each person's preference.
I'll leave you with just one request. The next time you see a photo of a home with a certain design style that isn't quite up your alley, please resist the urge to spend your time typing up a negative comment. You might be thinking, "Outdated and ugly," but let's leave those words in your head for a change.