Home Stories: Joey Daymond
Joey tells Trade Me Property about his journey into interior design and men's mental health awareness.
20 September 2023
Joey Daymond is a passionate man who pays great attention to detail and, when fixated on a kaupapa (plan/purpose) he gives everything to it. His latest kaupapa, The Boys Are Decorating, is a series designed to encourage men to take pride in their homes and bedrooms as an entry point to a deeper kōrero (conversation) on men's mental health.
For Joey this is something that only started in his early 20s. “My whole life, I’ve never had my own bedroom,” he told Trade Me Property. “I’ve always shared with my siblings or my whāngai and cousins and then at 13, I went to boarding school.”
As well as always sharing his personal space with whānau, Joey moved with his family between Aotearoa, Fiji, Malaysia, and India, all before the age of 10. “When you grow up in a house with heaps of whangāi kids you’re always getting clothes taken and stuff. If a cousin rocks up from Fiji and they like something, they’re leaving with that. So you learn to be pretty transient.”
Joey's biggest investment was this white and blue checkered rug
At the age of 20 in a flat with nine of his closest mates, Joey, for the first time, had a space that was all his own. For $80 a week Joey lived in the flat’s garage-turned-bedroom. A rugby bag of unfolded clothes was on constant rotation from the laundromat to his bedroom floor. “I didn’t have a bedsheet. Just a mattress and a blanket. I’m pretty simple, I wasn’t fussed.” And then one day, Joey bought a coffee table.
“It started with the coffee table and then I thought, ok… a rug would look real mean under this, so I chucked a rug under it. Then I thought, these two seats would look mean, so I put two seats around it. Then I thought, a desk would be good here…” His bedroom began to transform from a place he slept in, to a place he took pride in.
“It felt like mine and it felt funny to take pride in it. I couldn’t believe how much it transformed not just my experience of my own bedroom but my mental health.”
A year or two into Joey’s comedy career he started publicly advocating for men’s mental health. That’s when he put the two together. “When it came to creating content, The Boys Are Decorating came about organically.”
Why do women tend to take more pride in their spaces at a younger age compared to some men? Joey thinks it comes down to where we’re taught to see value in ourselves.
“Women are taught to see their value within themselves and their presentation. Their bedroom is an offset of that. Whereas with men, we’re conditioned to think that our value isn’t in who we are or what we present, it’s in what we do and what we bring.
“So we might think, ‘Nah I don’t really need to think about my room, as long as my job’s good because that shows the value that I’m bringing. Doesn’t matter what I look like, if I make good money, then that’s a clear indication of the value that I’m bringing, that I’m important.’”
Joey thinks that neither perspective is perfect. Both approaches have beauty but also have the ability to cause damage. “I went through a really big journey of de-programming myself from that mindset, of thinking that my value is in what I do and what I bring to the table. I’ve made a commitment to redefine what masculinity means for myself.”
For that reason Joey feels that interior design is the perfect avenue to start the wānanga (discussion) with young men and redirect them to take better care of themselves. Starting with questions like: ‘How often do you wash your sheets?’
“This is something you can do for yourself and no one ever has to see it but at least you’ve given yourself the chance to express something. Even if it’s just for you. I think it’s no coincidence that decorating my room started the journey to where I am now. Now, self-expression is so easy for me but there was a point where that felt impossible.”
A set from the television series Mad Men. Image source: Hypebeast
When it comes to Joey’s dream style he looks to one of his favourite TV shows, Mad Men. Set between 1960 and 1970, Joey is drawn to the retro look and colours of the time. “I like colour and I’ve really leaned into it as I’ve gotten older. I think I tried to dull myself down when I was younger but as you can see with my orange pants, I don’t care anymore.”
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