I have a secret obsession: DIY design blogs. I’d like people to think that I spend my time pouring over great works of literature or getting involved in socially conscious endeavors but the truth of the matter is, I waste an inordinate amount of time skimming through various blogs and magazines dedicated to making one’s home a prettier place. Some home trends I could do without (I don’t really care for mirrored dressers or duncan phyfe sofas). Others I feel I must have (anything tree related is an instant winner). One of the newest trends I’ve noticed is recycling as an aesthetic. It seems that many people are suddenly inspired to use reclaimed materials in new and creative ways. Sometimes the materials are used for practical purposes (check out a friend’s ingenious use of discarded doors as fencing material) while others have more artistic ambitions (OKC’s IAO Gallery hosts an annual exhibit showcasing local art from recycled materials). Either way, decorating one’s home is fine enough but decorating with “trash”, well, that’s perfection!

I wonder if anything deeper can be said of this fascination with reclaimation? Yes, recycling and “going green” have become more chic in recent years but why? Surely Al Gore isn’t so much a cultural meme that he’s infiltrated even the world of home fashion. And with my other job being a daily reminder of just how selfish people can be, I have a difficult time believing that people are becoming more eco-friendly out of some inner sense of goodness.  Perhaps it has more to do with the idea of taking something worthless and making it not just useful but admirable. In a time when images of beauty are so beyond the realm of normal (read: unattainable), when one’s worth is based more on utility than companionship, it makes sense that we might look for ways to express how we prefer to be valued. It is said that a home is often an extension of the dweller’s personality; what if our homes are also an appeal for appreciation?

Or maybe I’m reading into things. Maybe the economy’s just got everyone down and folks can simply no longer afford Pottery Barn.

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