Describing home decor

Not all readers enjoy the time spent on describing home decor, but, as a writer, I think that the home can be a showcase for characters’ emotions. You can learn whether someone is wealthy or impoverished, self-entitled or self-loathing, admired or hated.

Consider these two examples:

The intricate Louis XV desk dominated the room. Martha admired the inlaid wood scroll, and bronze accents. The fact that Robert actually used the desk left her feeling envious and a bit woozy. He, of course, would never admit it was a reproduction.

Randy slammed his cereal bowl down and scrutinized the table. In another house, the worn yellow Formica table would have been vintage, but here it was simply old. Rust speckled the wobbly chrome legs and chips and scratches scarred the top like an alley cat that had survived one too many scrapes.

The examples describe two very different pieces of furniture, and by doing so, set up the lives of different characters. Notice the verbs I chose: Martha admires the desk in the first examples while Randy scrutinizes the table. How characters react to their surroundings can be quite telling.

How else might a writer use furniture to set the tone of a story or give insight into the personality of a character?

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