Via Word Spy, comes today’s word of the day: shelter porn n. Images and text that glorify or fetishize high-end architecture, home furnishings, and interior design.

Example Citations:

The devil on my left shoulder whispers this: “Bird Cloud” is an especially off-putting book about a wealthy and imperious writer who annoys the local residents (she runs off their cows), overwrites about nature and believes people will sympathize with her about the bummers involved in getting her Japanese soaking tub, tatami-mat exercise area, Mexican talavera sink and Brazilian floor tiles installed just so. “Bird Cloud” is shelter porn with a side of highbrow salsa.
—Dwight Garner, “A Novelist Wills Her Dream Home Into Being,” The New York Times, January 4, 2011

In gardening parlance, the exuberantly shaded urns might be regarded as a delicious folly, a needlessly flamboyant landscaping gesture designed to delight the senses. (I know such terms because I worked for years at Canada’s premier gardening magazine, now, like so many other examples of food and shelter porn, sadly defunct.)
—Danny Sinopoli, “Eye-popping planters,” The Globe and Mail, January 29, 2010

Earliest Citation:
Design buffs are mad for “Wallpaper*,” the magazine that takes readers inside homes that don’t exist to visit people who don’t really exist, either.
—Rene Chun, “Shelter Porn,” New York Magazine, October 13, 1997

Category: Real Estate

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4 Responses to “Word of the Day: Shelter Porn”

  1. Pantmaker says:

    I love it!! I never thought of myself as a pornographer.
    http://www.gramling-helfert.com/website.htm

  2. freejack says:

    Shouldn’t the term also apply to ‘off-the -grid’ or ‘ultra-Green’ homes as well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dwtn3bE3P8

    http://ilovecob.com/

    …not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  3. BennyProfane says:

    My ex wife was into shelter porn. I was into real porn. I guess that’s why it didn’t work out.

  4. Frwip says:

    Wow ! Think about it. We’ve come a long way as a generally peaceful, worry-free society.

    30 years ago, shelter porn meant that :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheyenne_Mountain