Around 10 years ago, Peter York wrote a book called Dictator Style: Lifestyles of the World's Most Colorful Despots. It's all about the interior styles of dictators around the world and what they have in common. He even coined the term "dictator chic" in reference to the particular style.
In a recent Politico magazine article, York makes the endlessly ironic comparison between U.S. president Donald Trump's interior design style and that of a handful of dictators.
He writes: "The whole point is that dictators’ homes aren’t for one’s family, friends or private self; they’re not a refuge from the world or the job. Dictators’ homes, in fact, are the job—a place to do business, harangue people and settle scores, all while one’s entourage stays nearby. They are an architectural and artistic means of establishing the power of the occupants, of intimidating and impressing any visitor."
Go bigly (or big league) or go home
Dictators all around the world know that ridiculously sized properties mean wealth and power. Deposed Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi's 25 acre walled compound once had a zoo, indoor swimming pool and private fairground! While president Trump isn't officially a dictator, he is no stranger to displaying his YUGE wealth.
Out with the old, in with the new
Although many dictators' homes might be decorated in grand historical styles, rarely will antiques themselves be featured. Not because they are too expensive, but because they don't look expensive enough! Antiques are faded; replicas are bright, shiny and energetic.
Louis XIV would be proud
This nod to the 18th century French style has been a favorite with Middle Eastern dictators for as far back as one can remember. It also happens to be a favorite to most Middle Eastern families, but that's a whole other story. Good to know that Trump shares this clearly refined and understated aesthetic.
That awkward moment when you realise your home looks like a hotel
Not so awkward if that is your aim. According to York, displaying your wealth and power for all to see, i.e: in the public spaces of your home, is a classic dictator chic trait. Big reception areas, large dining halls, pools, you get the picture.
Nothing speaks power like pretending that your entire home is made out of gold.
Low hanging chandeliers, glass tables, big windows and mirrors. The more reflective the better!
Marble, marble everywhere
Marble: the Middle Easts' favorite decorative material. Just line the walls, floors, bathrooms with it... Actually, just go ahead and line everything with it - and your wealth and fabulous sense of style will undoubtedly be recognized.
Theres no point having a dictator chic home if your guests can't recognize the brands you're using. Big name brands are a must, from Versace fabric to Aubusson carpets all the way to Faberge eggs.
Trump, along with every Middle Eastern dictator, have learnt that having a self portrait is a must. Not a small thing to hang in the privacy of your bedroom, a larger than life display of who you are. Your guests musts never forget whose home they are in.
Big, bright accessories
Bright sparkly, colorful things must be placed on every surface to catch your guest's attention. Wealth and power are the main thing dictators (and Trump) try to communicate to visitors. In this situation, more is always more.