Five signs you might be in the grip of decorexia, like Carrie Symonds

The latest news from Number 10 is that Carrie has got the interior decorators in and the makeover of the flat above the shop is, according to the PM, “totally out of control”.  

These are words every partner of a woman intent on transforming her living environment has uttered at some point, along with “How much a metre?”,  “What’s wrong with the sofa we’ve got?” and “Are we wallpapering the place in solid gold?” Poor Boris; he’s fallen foul of decorexia, every thirty-plus woman’s desire to decorate the hell out of a new home and remake it in her own style.

It happens to almost all of us sooner or later. Thirty-two is, admittedly, sooner than most, but it’s presumably because Carrie is a lot younger than the previous incumbents of Downing Street that she feels the urge to rip out all the old and bring in the money-no-object new. In case you don’t know, here’s how decorexia works:

You start off thinking ‘I’m not having what she’s having’

This happens regardless – we’re not having a dig at Theresa May – it’s the fact that you didn’t choose it yourself that rankles. So you feel compelled to fiddle and tweak, repaint at the very least. However, if you are the second wife/partner, newly arrived in your current position, then nothing short of a decorative erasing of history will do. The full 360-degree purge. Only the white goods will stay. Maybe not even those.

You want to make your mark

Ideally, the aim is for people to walk into your house and gasp at your brilliance, originality and exceptional taste. Ten years ago you wanted to be the person in the coat and red boots swishing down the street, turning heads. Now you’d like that, but you really want to be the owner of a room that people envy. You want someone to say: “She’s been very clever – have you seen what she’s done in the bathroom?” You have at least partly decorated your bathroom with a view to wowing future visitors. Note: decorating during lockdown is extra dangerous; there’s the possibility that every single creative and show-off instinct you’ve ever had is finding expression in your soft furnishings. You’re also (if you’re Carrie) imagining the first big soirée round at yours when it’s over, and all the great and good draped on your Lulu Lytle-covered sofas, looking fabulous by candlelight.

You dare to look at the top of the range stuff

You wouldn’t dream of wandering into Victoria Beckham on Bond Street to check out the coats if your budget was £100. But when in the grip of decorexia you’ll happily browse the houses of the rich and famous, and then you get ideas. Next thing you know, your aspirations are completely out of whack with your financial circumstances. You think you can have the same cushions as Anna Wintour. Fatal to look in the first place.

You get trapped in an ‘I’ll only do this once’ mindset

That’s the guaranteed way to escalate costs. Anyway you won’t. Remember apricot rag-rolled walls? Remember Scandi raw materials, wood piles and tufted cream rugs? Carrie is decorating in the manner of Annabel’s nightclub (more or less) with lots of busy clashing prints and bold-coloured walls, because that’s what some people are doing in 2021. Will she be loving that in three years’ time? Not necessarily.

You go, frankly, a little bit mad

Because we live in a world where it’s not considered insane to give serious thought to your taps. You may go through a short phase when you think you can’t live with the bathroom tiles, or the hall carpet, or the kitchen worktops, but then one day you’re out the other side and suddenly none of it seems important. You have no idea why you bought a rug for a small fortune that you can’t put on the floor.

Sounds like Carrie is not there yet.  

More Stories
Macron CRISIS: New poll shows Le Pen closing in on French President -‘Victory is at hand!’