You only really appreciate how simple SL makes the process of decorating and furnishing, when you have to do the same thing for real. Compared to the real world, the whole exercise in SL, whether you’re tarting up a treehouse or customising a castle is ridiculously easy.
To begin with, virtual furniture is a doddle to manoeuvre – there’s no heavy lifting, no backache, and no dropping wardrobes on your toe as you struggle to negotiate the stairs. A quick click and drag of the mouse and you can shift a grand piano from room to room, with no effort whatsoever; you can throw mirrors and delicate ornaments around with wild abandon, and those awkwardly-shaped and heavy items of furniture that would take four strapping muscle men to move in RL, (and they’d still have to take off the handles, and those things that held the candles, to get it in), can be moved with a flick of the wrist.
Size isn’t so much an issue either: Whereas guesstimating the size of a gap that will nicely accommodate that lovely new dresser could easily spell DIY disaster in the real world, much of our inworld fixtures and fittings are easily and quickly resized to fit into any space, without us resorting to amateur carpentry just to fill the gap. And, if not, you can always embed any overhang in the wall!
Then there’s the decorating – and if you’re the sort of person who’s under the misguided illusion that you actually enjoy decorating in RL, then I can only assume either someone is paying you to say that, or else you’re a little bit insane!
Let’s compare the processes in RL to their virtual equivalent:
RL – Spending hours trudging around DIY stores, collecting wallpaper samples and colour charts; endless deliberation over colour schemes and themes; stepladders, pasting tables, dust sheets, cleaning brushes, aching muscles, bruised knees and then realising you have to do it all over again for the second coat.
The SL story – pick your chosen colour or texture, drop it on the surface you want to change. Don’t like the result? Keep playing until you do.
No prizes for guessing which I prefer! In fact, it’s the ease with which SL permits you to experiment with colours, textures and lighting that’s prompted me to come up with a cunning plan. These days, before I even consider stirring a tin of paint, you’ll find me recreating my room inworld; I then have a blank, custom-made canvas on which to experiment with whatever ever decor takes my fancy – something like one of those in store kitchen design terminals, only perfectly tailored to my own needs and without the annoying salesperson trying to make a huge amount of commission out of me. The real beauty is being able grab pictures of wallpaper designs and import them, or – by scanning colour cards and grabbing the RGB values – being able to colour match to any paint I choose. It’s pretty cool, I think!
Of course, that doesn’t remove the need for rolling up my sleeves, digging out the brushes and getting to grips with the real thing at some point, but at least I’ll have something to show me how it should have turned out, once I’ve finished! Sadly, RL is a far cry from the ease of SL decorating. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world where changing a colour scheme was as easy as flicking a switch, or as simple as swiping a pallette? (I still live in hope of the day we can get our hands on smart nail Polish, like in Total Recall!) – but I fear that is still a long way off.
So, in the meantime, I’ll struggle on with my paint pads and emulsion in my hair, and be content that – in the virtual world, at least – the end result shouldn’t look too bad!
I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors any more, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black