Debranding Your Bathroom

Awhile back, the artist Keri Smith put a post on her blog about how she debranded her bathroom. She took all her products–toothpaste, lotion, shampoos, etc.–and made “skins” to cover them up. Which is to say, she drew pictures of the Leroux family, who she said were French, and put them over the bottles.
For some reason, she has taken the post down, but at least she left up a shorter post about the project, as well as a picture of the Leroux family:
savvyhousekeeping debranding your bathroom keri smith unbranding
The post made me look at how many brands I have in my house and made me think about how much they intrude into my life. I started removing the labels off things I use every day, like my deodorant and mouthwash, and I found that I liked them better when I didn’t have to look at the brand name. In some subtle, visual way, the brand was intruding on my everyday activities and I didn’t even realize it.
When I am finished remodeling my bathroom, I may go even further and do what Cumbersome has done, which is to buy some bottles from a place like Ikea, label them, and pour the products in, like so:
savvyhousekeeping debranding your bathroom keri smith unbranding
In researching this idea, I discovered that a lot of people seem to dislike the idea of debranding/unbranding a section of your home. In this post on Apartment Therapy shilling stickers to use for debranding, (no longer available) some people even downright angry about the idea.
But actually, I think there are some good reasons to debrand. For example:
1. Most branded bottles are ugly, garish, and intrusive, and it’s relaxing not to look at them.
2. Debranding with an overall design, like the above bottles or the Leroux family, creates a uniformity in the bathroom, which is nicer on the eye.
3. It’s more interesting and fun to make your own designs for products than to use ones made for you.
4. It keeps guests from judging you what brands of shampoo or mouthwash you buy. (You know it happens.)
5. As Keri Smith says in her post, “my concept of unbranding involves pulling my personal space out of the corporate grasp and shaping it to conform to my own mindset/aesthetic (nature for example).”
I realize not everyone agrees with the last point, but it is an interesting concept to consider, nevertheless. How much do these brands intrude into our lives? What is the psychological cost of looking at a branded object every day?
But really, maybe it’s not that much deeper than this: I would rather look at a pretty bottle than a one with neon print yelling its name at me every day.

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