Identifying Likes and Dislikes

I personally feel overwhelmed when I look at the 1000s of interior design images I’ve amassed.
How will I ever decide which ideas to recreate and which to leave on the shelf? Maybe I should have stopped collecting when I had three decorating books. Or ten. A home only has so much square footage!

In her book Bloomingdale’s Book of Home Decorating, Barbara D’Arcy recommends making an exhaustive list of interior elements that you like and dislike. Perhaps this is a simplistic idea, but I’ve found it to be helpful (plus, I like making lists). If you can’t identify exactly what you like about 1970s interiors, you will forever be staring at your empty canvas of a room, trying to make a decision.

Here is my list of likes and dislikes (you don’t necessarily have to read this, although it will give you a better picture of what you are likely and unlikely to find covered on this blog):


Low Ceilings, Slanted Ceilings
Conversation Pits, Seating Platforms, Steps, Staircases
Room Dividers
Shelves/Bookshelves, Credenzas
Wood Paneling, Vinyl Flooring
Bricks, Concrete
Wallpaper, Supergraphics, Heavily Patterned Rooms
Monochromatic Color Schemes / Orange & Brown, Green & Blue
Low Hanging Lights on Chains
Built-in Couches,


Pale or Light Shades of Wood
White Walls and Unfocused Color Schemes
Silk, Leather
Stainless Steel, Marble
Four Poster Beds, Bed Canopies
Venetian Blinds, Long Curtains that are drawn back in the center
Animal Skins and Prints, Polka Dots, Checkered Patterns
Decorative Bowls, Baskets, and Pottery / Nonfunctional “Knick Knacks”
House Plants, ETC


I partially dislike over half of the photos I post on this blog. There is something (big or small) that I would change in nearly all of them. However, crossing things off your list that you don’t want in your home can also help you get closer at recognizing the things that you do. Make a note of those things. Don’t disregard an interior before you really look at it; images are worthwhile if even one feature makes you smile. Disliking a photo because of its hectic color scheme is very different that disliking a photo because of its deer head and polka dots. Let’s look at some interiors that can easily be “fixed” to fit in with my likes:

The above room isn’t my absolute favorite, but if I changed the black upholstery to a dark brown, threw out the white fur blanket, and used a darker shade of wood paneling, it would be perfect. I appreciate the repetitive patterns and the (nearly) monochromatic color scheme in the next photo, but I hate the particular pattern they chose, the posts on the bed, and the style of the white accent furniture:

It’s not enough to drag a photo that you like onto your desktop. Figure out why you like it. Be picky. Discriminate.

Notes and Citations:

The images in this post, in order of appearance, are from: The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement (1970), Family Circle Home Decorating Guide (1973), and unknown . For more information on Barbara D’Arcy’s Bloomingdale rooms and the “Saturday Generation,” read this informative post by Onou Design.



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