When Did “Pretty” Become a Bad Word?

This Wednesday, House Beautiful sponsored it’s first annual Design Institute at the Decorative Center Houston. The event celebrates design, color, & emerging trends. On the opening Keynote Panel were Newell Turner, Editor in Chief, House Beautiful, and speakers Charlotte Moss & Suzanne Kasler. The question was posed: “When did “pretty” become a bad word?” Newell explained how beauty transitioned from the Industrial Revolution to the Aesthetic Movement (a turn from the Industrial Revolution turning to nature) to the Great Depression, etc. and how we define beauty is a result of our surroundings as well what’s going on in the economy. He went on to explain that pretty is not a look, but a description, a lifestyle, or a way of living.


Suzanne Kasler explained that “When you bring something down, it brings other things up.”  For example, having  a hand-painted silk wallpaper with linen drapes, or luxurious fabrics on a sofa paired with a sisal rug. I agree that “What makes a room beautiful is how you edit!”

Charlotte Moss was influenced by her mom who always surrounded her with beautiful things and quoted Frank Lloyd Wright: “When you invest in beauty in your life, it will be with you all your life.” She believes that beauty starts at your front door, from how you greet your guests to how you want to be greeted when you walk in after a long day, to how you decorate a powder room. “Decorating is about generosity.”

As far as color trends, Kate Smith, the writer of Sensational Color Blog and regular House Beautiful contributor, said that we would be seeing a lot of color influence from the younger generation. This urban-edgy trend is from the exposure to graphic novels, digital color & graffiti.

I am seeing bursts of intense color everywhere, especially pink! Kravet’s showroom highlights these benches in a beautiful silk fabric (Now that’s pretty!)

Houston’s High Fashion Home

More fuchsia in the Fall/Winter publication of Better Homes & Gardens Color Made Easy Magazine

How do you feel about intense color?

Thought for the day: What do you do to bring Pretty into your life & home?



  1. Jennifer says:

    I love this post Stacy!! Thanks for filling us all in:) Sounds like you had a “pretty” time!!!

  2. I live pretty. I love pretty.
    I sense pretty. Most of all, I feel pretty in the deepest moments of my sleep, that private place where I am most exposed and most open to a subconscious revival of all that should be beautiful in me. Dressing my bed properly makes my pre-, post-, and innermost slumbering moments a true investment in pretty: me.
    Thank you for your blog on pretty!

  3. Love, love, love this post! I love all things ‘pretty’ so this is right up my alley!

    What’s going on with Blogfest? I didn’t go last year, so I can’t register until January. Were you able to register early? Hoping to get a spot when it opens up, but I know it’s going to fill fast! Fingers crossed!

  4. Mariann says:


    What beautiful interiors! I love the pink and green!

  5. Stacy says:

    Thank you so much Mariann…I always adore the House Beautiful peonies!

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