Home decoration shows as stages of improved ordinariness


Anne Soronen

In recent years, home decoration shows have become a popular television genre in many western countries. They are categorized as a sub genre of lifestyle television, in which elements such as home, garden or personal appearance are altered to achieve a more stylish impression.

I explore how notions of gender, class, and sexuality are produced in the discourse of ’ideal home interior’ in the episodes of the Finnish decoration shows Inno and Kodin kääntöpiiri, broadcasted in 2004. These shows represent the home primarily as an issue of consumption, taste, and personal style. I approach them as media texts that on the one hand reproduce the cultural association of home decoration with female dwellers but on the other hand question it by representing male dwellers and design experts as actors in its field.

The structure of these Finnish television formats positions the participants as ’ordinary people’ by addressing them as ’non-celebrities’ and ’do-it-yourself people’ (as opposite to the experts). Although the participants themselves also represent their position as ’lay decorators’, many of them want to indicate that their preferences distinguish them from ’ordinary people’ with conventional or bad tastes. The expressed taste preferences can also include an implicit idea of distancing oneself from a certain class or class fractions.