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The real reason we want entertaining spaces

According to a recent study out of UCLA, which I discovered via this Curbed article, American families tend to spend most of their time at home in informal, rather than formal, spaces. That means more time in the kitchen and family room, as opposed to in the living room and formal dining room. 

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to all of you. Was a study necessary? Maybe you even have plastic on the furniture in your formal rooms because, you know, they’re reserved for “entertaining.” The reason I mention this is because I thought it was funny how Kate Wagner describes this phenomenon in her Curbed article:

The ironic inefficiency of hyper-exaggerated high-end entertaining spaces belies a truth: These spaces aren’t really designed for entertaining. They’re designed for impressing others. And not just impressing others: After all, it’s general politeness to compliment a host on their home no matter how impressive it is. The real goal, deeply embedded in these oversized, over-elaborate houses, is not for guests to say, “Oh wow, this is nice,” but to make them think, “Oh wow, this is nicer than what I have and now I feel jealous and insecure.” In true American irony, these giant “social” spaces (and McMansions in general) are birthed from a deeply antisocial sentiment: making others feel small. Considering that so often our guests are members of our own family adds another layer of darkness to the equation.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kate Wagner, she is the founder of McMansion Hell, which is a hilarious website dedicated to blasting McMansions. A pejorative term for houses that privilege raw size and the appearance of wealth over quality. Now that you know that, I am sure the above blurb makes a lot of sense.

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