chapter  6
29 Pages

Consumption, identity and everyday life: nineteenth-century homes and their importance in society

The important roles of the department stores and the specialist retailers, amongst other retail outlets, were considered in relation to the creation of homes. The chapter examines what this role was, and how consumption practices were related to the home and its furnishing. To support the retailers in developing their responses to the 'commodity aesthetic', a raft of other consumption apparatus was developed or expanded to help to nurture the demand. For all the consumption groups, one of the main problems was that choices had to be made which appeared to put identity creation directly onto the shoulders of the individual. Katherine Grier persuasively argues images of the parlour were available in everyday life, offering examples of luxury furnishings for consumers to interpret in their own homes. The dining room is a useful focus for understanding some of the changes in the nineteenth century home, as it encapsulates the way middle-class society operated and adapted to change.