• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

    The Impact of Real Estate Listings on our Perception of Home

    ByNuala Hafner

    Sep 19, 2023
    The Impact of Real Estate Listings on our Perception of Home

    Real estate listings have significantly influenced our understanding of what makes a house a home. In the past, homes had a unique and personal touch, reflecting the individual tastes and lifestyles of the owners. However, with the rise of aggregated real estate platforms like Zillow, the concept of a “staged home” has become more prevalent.

    In an essay titled “Merchandizing the Void,” Kelly Pendergrast explores the hyper-organized and almost retail-like environment of modern homes. Luxury pantries, resembling distribution centers, showcase accumulated wares in an Excel-grid-like shelving system. Pendergrast argues that the turn towards this “logistical imaginary” in homes is a result of the shift towards delivery-based shopping experiences. With the responsibility of creating wonder in products falling on the consumers themselves, homes have become like commercial displays.

    This trend towards staged homes is not limited to real estate listings. Home-improvement television shows have also embraced this aesthetic, focusing on flipping and selling houses rather than diverse decorating languages. The limited range of decorating approaches presented on these shows perpetuates the minimalistic trends of the 2010s, such as farmhouse modern or greige-and-marble designs.

    Real estate listings have become the primary source of viewing, interpreting, and valuing houses. They have shaped our perception of what constitutes a good home, pushing for a more staged and standardized look. Hotels and Airbnbs, which are themselves staged environments, have also contributed to this distortion of the idea of home.

    The prevalence of staging in real estate listings and media has resulted in a disconnection between our perception of home and the reality of how most people live. We rarely see the interiors of non-renovated houses in listings, as they are often presented in a staged and sanitized manner. This homogenization of home interiors contributes to unrealistic expectations and a loss of individuality.

    However, there is hope in newer social media platforms like TikTok, where ordinary people’s homes are showcased more authentically. The youth on these platforms are embracing nostalgia and preserving disappearing interior design trends, offering a refreshing break from the staged aesthetics of real estate listings.

    In the end, it is essential to remember that the purpose of a home is for living, and decoration should be a form of self-expression. Our homes should reflect our individuality and personal preferences, rather than conforming to staged ideals perpetuated by real estate listings.

    – “The Staged Home” by Kate Wagner, Mic Drop
    – “Merchandizing the Void” by Kelly Pendergrast, Dilettante Army