Obsessive Compulsive Decorating Disorder: Does it exist?

Obsessive Compulsive Decorating Disorder

Are you obsessed with your home décor? Do you spend hours on researching for the perfect shaped mat or mirror for your house? Do you lose sleep over getting the perfect item for your home? If yes, then you may be harboring obsessive compulsive decorating disorder.

Sounds unbelieving? Well, we all are aware of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In such cases, an individual obsessed with specific activities intended for a good cause (which in most cases do not serve the cause at all) feels a compulsive drive for repeating the same activity/activities.

This drive is irrepressible; the concerned individual will not be at mental peace unless he/she gives in. This is one of the most common mental disorders affecting millions across the globe. Decorating anxiety can also be another form of OCD where a woman will never be satisfied with her home decor and go on seeking the perfect arrangement which is never to happen.

Home décor as a hobby:

Obsessive Compulsive Decorating Disorder
Home décor

Home décor is a common hobby pursued by women. They love to arrange the interiors in uniquely pleasing ways to satisfy their creative side. But if it turns into a compulsive habit, it no longer stands as a hobby.

You invite stress and anxiety and suffer from what is called obsessive compulsive decorating disorder. The issue of self-image and self-esteem comes into play and creativity takes a back seat.

Obsessive compulsive decorating disorder – Does it exist at all?

There exists a link between interior design and mental health. A decent and neatly organized interior is not only eye soothing but sets an ambience of tranquility. But if one gets obsessed in organizing and designing bringing in new changes now and then, the essence of tranquility gets lost. It turns into a mental disorder.

There are quite a few symptoms of OCD that can be easily related to compulsive obsession with home décor like:

  • The extreme urge for a specific order of things
  • Repetitive actions and behaviors
  • Constantly arranging objects without any specific cause
  • Thinking about specific things/actions again and again

Every individual has its own way of decorating home. Some may dwell in decorating anxiety owing to their fastidious nature. A moderate level of such anxiety is normal but not the compulsive obsession affecting the individual’s life and those surrounding him/her.

Is this obsession towards home décor gender based?

upgrading their home décor
upgrading their home décor


A few years back, an article headline “Obsessed with home décor? You may have self-image problems” released in the web magazine The Globe and Mail caught wide attention. According to a notable writer, women today are pressurized about continuously upgrading their home décor making it as a benchmark for their accomplishments to such an extent that they are facing self-esteem issues.

Home décor involving each and every significant and non-significant house items was never given so much importance few decades back. But in the pursuit to be trendy and to remain at par with peers, women are getting obsessed in it and are losing sleep over trivial issues related to it. This has perhaps given rise to the modernized form of obsessive compulsive decorating disorder.

Home, an extension of self-image:

Just as women take lots of efforts to maintain their self-image, they consider home an extension of it and continuously think of rearranging and refurbishing.  An associate professor who has studied women obsessed in expressing themselves by home designing feels that more the social pressure more will be the obsession to control things like uplifting body-image and home designing.

Online sites contributing to extreme forms of obsessive decoration:

Online site

Home décor occupied the no. 1 position in pinterest sharing. It recorded over 1 million visitors in July 2011 crossing 21 million visitors in a single year. Interestingly enough, women constitute over 80% of total visitors.

Home improvement shows, DIY ideas and a plethora of home décor sites and blogs are showcasing eye-catching home rearrangement ideas creating the opinion that such a beautiful home is the foundation of all success and happiness.

Extreme obsession in home décor:

The obsessive compulsive decorating disorder gets manifested to such an extent that many women may develop the thinking that an ugly interior implies an ugly person. Getting caught up in decorative obsession makes women ashamed of their oft-decorated interiors instead of making them feel proud.

Women get overly competitive regarding getting the high-end furniture inviting unnecessary financial stress. They often start comparing their homes with that of the glossy interior images shot with professional lighting and designing. In reality, this never happens and women end up suffering from low self-esteem. Catty remarks from other women in online sites and forums make the situation worse.

Blind followers of these blogs and sites are constantly rearranging their homes by frequently painting the rooms or buying expensive furniture and showpieces only to sell them at a huge loss later. Well, women are not purchasing happiness or satisfaction from this but the home décor companies are having a good run!

Many obsessed with home décor do not refrain from posting hypercritical comments on innocuous items like table napkin, lampshade or a spoon stand. Items that went well with the owner’s likings immediately turn out to be a soon-to-get-rid-of piece for no obvious reasons.

This constant rearrangement procedure just to project a trendy image has turned into a pressure point for many women. They start doubting their self-worth and get into an unhealthy condition of obsessive compulsive decorating disorder. Decorating anxiety, it seems, has turned out to be no less stressful like dieting or following a beauty regime.

Time to prioritize your own choices:

change in décor

A passion often turns into an obsession. There is no harm in it. If you are passionate about home décor, certainly you can pursue it without overdoing things. We are surrounded by endless likeable things.

With the internet invading our lives, the list seems to be never ending. Amidst this chaos, we need to assess the requirements and make choices accordingly. To control your obsessive compulsive decorating disorder, you can do the following:

  • List your priorities according to your budget
  • Think of why you need to make the change in décor. Is it a necessity or a fancy choice? Will the change benefit you in some way or the other apart from imparting satisfaction? Always satisfying your crave may not yield good things.
  • Consult your family members before making any rearrangement. They too live under the same roof.
  • Avoid getting influenced by others although you can always look for new ideas.
  • Check whether your passion/obsession is affecting your normal lifestyle and that of other members of your family.
  • Take interest in other activities.
  • Always give your choice the first chance.

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