The following text is an excerpt from "Wifey Redux" by Kevin Barry:

I sighed and left the den. The way it worked, Ellie had the use of the sitting room down back of the ground floor; no teenager wants to sit with her parents. She’d had a decorator in – it was got up in like a purple-and-black scheme – and she had a really fabulous Eames couch we’d got at auction for her sixteenth, and I went down there to check on Aodhan and herself.

How to understand the word "decorator" and "got up in"? According to the word "like", I presume there is some resemblance between the decorator and the scheme, but fail to see the connection.

1 Answer 1


These are all idiomatic expressions.

Decorator = a painter, or perhaps an "interior decorator", an advisor in aesthetics of home decoration.

Got up ... in = "the results [of the painting or of acting on the decorators advice] were as follows". The "in" here is the same as that of "The lady in red", perhaps an extension of the original sense of "clothed in".

like = "as, in my opinion" or just plain "as".

A partial paraphrase: "I'm like, whoah, it was all in black and purple!" Or more literally, Rand al'Thor's "it was decorated in, like, a purple and black design".

  • 1
    It's that second "in" which is confusing me. If it just said "it was got up like a purple-and-black scheme", the sentence would seem more natural to me. (Not the OP, but I'm a native English speaker who also found this wording odd after the OP highlighted it.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 15, 2019 at 14:38
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor 1: What a long OED entry "in" has, for such a short word! 2: There are regional variations in colloquial speech, and not all native English speakers sound uniformly natural to each other. Dec 15, 2019 at 15:03
  • 1
    Ahhh, now it makes sense. Just a couple of commas around the "like" would make ti seem more natural to me. My suggested partial paraphrase: "it was decorated in, like, a purple and black design".
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 15, 2019 at 15:12
  • I think a "decorator" is likely to do the painting to the design requested by the customer
    – mikado
    Dec 16, 2019 at 18:46
  • @mikado I think you are right. It's a dialect difference I was not aware of. Dec 16, 2019 at 18:53

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