Why the all-white aesthetic is overrated

A few words on taste

If there’s one thing that we here at Mockingbird Studios don’t do, it’s that we don’t judge. Tastes are subjective – we understand that; in fact, it’s because we understand that so well that we provide so much customisability in our products and services to begin with. Want to transform your child’s bedroom into a scene from outer space? Done! Feel the need to turn your office’s rec room ceiling into a chessboard? You got it! Want to turn your living room walls into…whatever this is? Don’t even mention it!

What is the all-white aesthetic?

You’re probably aware of the trend we’re going to talk about: you might have even adopted it yourself! It’s the kind of trend that focuses on the opposite of everything a graphics solution company like ours should typically be about – the empty, all-white walls. Throw in some strategically-placed potted plants, some old Kilim rugs straight out of some museum, some sterile (call it “neutral” because it sounds better) pink designs here and there, maybe some “found” objects to lend some artiness to the aesthetic too…

Sound familiar? Well, the ‘all-white aesthetic’ has dominated the world of online design for the past decade or so. In fact, it would be foolish of us to not recognise the aesthetic as the current zeitgeist when it comes to interior designing as its influence on it is virtually inescapable.

But where exactly did it come from?

Tight budgets

Necessity is the mother of all trends, as they say. With the middle class all around the world being shocked by repeated major economic crises since 2008, it was only a matter of time before these shocks manifested themselves in the lifestyle industry. All of a sudden, homeowners looked at their plain white walls – whose redesigns they’d probably been postponing till their next bonuses – and thought, “Hmm, this isn’t really that bad…let’s call it minimalist!”

A minimalist reaction

Minimalism is one of the most fascinating movements in the art-world the 20th century has ever seen – be it in music, cinema, poetry, advertising, clothing and yes, even home décor. However, like with everything else, trends come and go: so let’s cut to the 2000s. The first decade of the 21st century was undoubtedly The Decade of the Pattern, with flocked designs and things like Mylar wallpaper ruling the roost. As a result, when the pendulum of popular favour swung, it swung towards stripping back – of using as little as possible to create the greatest impact.

Just…leave it be!

With all this talk about fancy art movements like minimalism, you might think of the origin of the all-white aesthetic as being somewhat deliberate – when the truth of it, in a vast majority of cases, couldn’t be more unglamorous. See, with renting becoming a far more affordable option than traditional house owning, urbanites are always in a state of flux: often-times the lease in question isn’t even long enough to be conducive to long-term design-planning. So what do they do? They simply embrace the simplicity of their domiciles – the white walls and plain marble floors – for what they are. Mind you, this doesn’t mean that they have no plans whatsoever: they might still be planning ahead in order to buy that couch that they want or that fancy dinner table; but in the meantime, they’ve effectively embraced the all-white aesthetic sans any of the artistic reasons that you can think of.

So…what’s wrong with it?

At this point, we feel that our readers should know that we don’t have any problems with all-white homes – the very fact that it’s a major zeitgeist-defining trend clearly means that a lot of people from around the world see quite a lot of value in it even if we don’t.

So what you’re about to read is our opinion – and our collective opinion is that it’s just a little…plain. It’s akin to embracing a blank canvas as a finished work of art rather than looking into all the infinite possibilities that that very blankness affords – much like US composer John Cage’s controversial “4’33””, the idea behind that blankness (which, frankly, is the very point) starts to feel a bit gimmicky when stripped of all its novelty. We feel that it’s not only a really stultifying approach to home designing (wherein people tend to intellectualise their lack of imagination or effort), but that it’s simply been so overdone at this point.

Can’t we just move on now – shed all of that baggage and start anew with that blank canvas? Who knows how colourful the future might end up being!

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