It was a worldwide study of 4.6 billion searches, by Pilot Fish Media, but I can only think that it didn’t include any data from the UK as no-one I know wants their home to look like Justin Beiber’s Beverley Hills pad or Will Smith’s Malibu mansion – numbers one and two on the survey list. The styles just wouldn’t work on a three-bed post-war semi or a top-floor tenement.
A quick google of Oprah Winfrey’s homes – she is ninth on the list – reveals they are all very impressive. We already knew that her friend Gayle King has exquisite taste. Many viewers watching the Oprah interview with the Sussexes, which took place at King’s house, may have been distracted, like me, by the loveliness of the walled terrace with a landscaped background and designer garden furniture.
“High time to weed-kill our patio and replace the dilapidated deckchairs”, was my takeaway, rather than any thoughts of a constitutional crisis.
Donald Trump also featured on the list but his ranking was “sadly” affected by his removal from social media. I’d hope that most people searching Trump interior decor were looking for comic relief rather than design ideas, but maybe the next big trend will be wall-to-wall gold, floor-to-ceiling marble, all topped with ornate chandeliers.
In Britain, I feel, we also get design ideas from celebrities but they are a bit more down-to-earth.
Makeover programmes, such as Scotland’s Home of the Year or Escape to the Chateau inspire viewers with achievable ambitions, rather than a level of expense beyond all but billionaires.
Grand Designs features impressive properties, but counters these with the stress of creating a dream home, while Changing Rooms always seemed to be on a budget of tuppence-ha’apenny with their endless MDF stencilling and stapled banquette seating.
It’s the programmes that don’t set out to influence design that are most fascinating, however. Gogglebox, allows viewers a glimpse of normal homes around the country, and gets almost as much attention for the backgrounds as the people featured.
Mary and Giles, with their matching wallpaper and armchair, divide opinion – a stroke of genius or an aesthetic faux pas?
In the celebrity version, things get even more interesting. Who wouldn’t want to see the Happy Mondays’ occasional table or Denise Van Outen’s knick-knack nook?
Of course, in the last year, many of us have been forced to expose parts of our homes to the view of those outside our immediate circle. In Zoom calls it is important to curate your immediate background.
Editing a bookcase before a call isn’t restricted to MPs keen to avoid the Twittersphere’s wrath.
Fortunately, there are apps that can supply a fake background –whether it be a beach scene, an autumnal forest or just a tidy office.
Having spent too much time arranging vases on the shelves behind my head, I now realise that what I should have gone for, in all Zoom calls, is a background picture of Gayle King’s terrace.
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