Beware of the Diderot Effect


Last October I found these amazing borders in the Antique and Design Center at High Point. I am a sucker for vintage textiles and these pieces are different, but the same; plus being in the same colors as my living room sealed the deal (Yes, I can be a master at rationalizing when it comes to decorating.). They are appliqued suede arabesques on a metallic threaded ground from France , probably 19th century.  So of course, I had to have them.  My plan was to choose one for a large lumbar pillow on my living room sofa.  I even started pulling samples and wrote the work order for my workroom. Easy peasy- done deal. Not quite!


I suffer from what the French call the “Diderot Effect.” The French philosopher , Denis Diderot was once given a very grand red dressing gown. But when he put it on, it made his surroundings look shabby. The furnishings of his study—a wicker chair, a wooden table, a plain rug, a wooden plank that held some books—had to go. He replaced the wicker chair with a leather one, the wooden table with a formal desk, the rug with a fancy wall hanging, and the plank bookshelf with an inlaid armoire.


Not that the runners made the living room look shabby ,but the pillow idea didn’t seem like quite the right use for the purchase  and it morphed into using the runners on the backs of 2 dining chairs which then meant the chairs now have to be recovered.  That set off the domino effect that I am now reupholstering 2 dining chairs and Bergere and looking for 4 complementary dining chairs this weekend at high point market and I am pretty sure the area rug will have to go…..   I should have known that that scrap of exquisitely applique may require me to redecorate the whole house. I know I am already in trouble at High Point Market because the bleached oak sideboard I left behind is still haunting me.


What’s your Diderot effect?


UPDATE:diderot effect

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