Decorate Like a 'Real Housewife'

Bravo has hit the jackpot with their "Real Housewives" franchise. Perhaps the popularity can be attributed to getting a glimpse into a lifestyle unlike your own, or maybe you are simply looking for design inspiration.

If that is the case, you can find very distinct styles you may, or may not, wish to emulate:

"Real Housewives" style can be broken down into one of five categories:

Affluent Achiever: This is the style I admire most, with elegant, beautiful homes created by successful women. They have worked very hard to pay for this lifestyle, like Vicki Gunvalson of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and Candy Burruss of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" or they did it the old fashioned way, inheriting it like Mary Schmidt Amons of "The Real Housewives of D.C." Each room is designed to perfection, with no detail left undone. The look may at times be over-the-top, but these high achievers demand nothing less than the best.

All Flash, No Cash: Teresa Giudice of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" might receive the most press for this style, but she is in good company with Tamra Barney and Lynn Curtin of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and Lisa Wu Hartwell of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." To achieve this style, fill your home with expensive furniture, artwork and accessories; gaudy seems to be the operative word for these folks. Add amenities such as swimming pools, bowling alleys, game rooms and wine vaults while recklessly shopping for clothes, in spite of being unable to pay for any of it. This is the most common "Real Housewives" style, as illustrated by the large number of foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales and other financial problems among cast members, that have been chronicled in the media since the franchise's inception.

Search Homes for Sale Find a local expert contractor who has been pre-screened by ServiceMagic Prince Charming: The first step in achieving this look is to find a man who feels no expense is too great in order to keep his woman happy, such as Lauri Waring Peterson and Alexis Bellino of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" and the infamous Michaele Salahi of "The Real Housewives of D.C." This opulent style is often represented by a French-style chateau, but any McMansion or penthouse apartment will do. Luxurious rooms are filled with expensive fabrics, fine art and crystal chandeliers. Prior pedigree is not required, but plastic surgery is.

Neo-Narcissist: To achieve this look, surround the home with photos and paintings of yourself, in varying degrees of undress. Taste level is not important here, size is. The bigger the image and the more prominently displayed, the better. This style is reserved for only the most confident of women who are overflowing with love ... for themselves, like Kim Zolciak of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

Goth Goes Glam: This style is not for the traditionalist, but for the homeowner looking to make a statement. Black and red are the colors of choice for this design style and subtlety is not in the equation. Bold color and pattern match the unique personality of the family desiring this distinctive design. It may not be for everyone, but it is a huge improvement, compared to the first season mess in the McCord/VanKempen home of "The Real Housewives of New York City."

"The Real Housewives" series try to portray a fabulous life of parties, privilege and power, but they are a far cry from reality. What they do deliver is lots of drama and scandal caused by behaviors that most Americans would consider reprehensible. These are not role models, America. Let's get real.


Barbara Green is the Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.


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