Purposeful Design

Patrick Cline via Lonny

When you look at interior design photos, do you only look critically, thinking specifically about color, placement and design? Or, do you also notice the tone each room conveys?  Rooms do set particular moods, and it's helpful to discern the feeling you want your home to create before you begin an interior design project.  

 Celerie Kemble via To Your Taste

I posted about this topic here, mentioning that we should start the design process with a specific purpose in mind.  My priority is that my house makes me feel happy.  I don't want to spend money to impress others, or to keep up with whatever happens to be trending at the moment.  Instead, I want to surround myself with colors, textures, patterns, etc. that will enhance my enjoyment of home.  

Luis Bustamante via Desire to Inspire

What makes this subject so fascinating to me is that we all need something different to create our optimal setting.  And, it's also interesting that what we like doesn't always correlate with the mood we want our homes to provide.  A perfect example for me is the Luis Bustamante dining room above.  I did a double-take when I ran across it recently, and I think it's gorgeous. But, if I imagine sitting at this table having dinner, I begin to realize that it doesn't convey exactly the right tone for me.

 Mary McDonald via Interiors

I can't help but think of Goldilocks as I imagine myself sitting at these different tables. Hmm, which one is just right?

 Amanda Nisbet via Dazzling Design

To easily compare, I chose images to share of extremely differing styles.  It's almost jarring moving from one photo to the next.

 John Christensen via New York Apartments:  Private Views

This topic is so subjective.  While I've never cared for the level of formality and opulence above, I know many others will think it's perfection.  I love that we all have such different tastes -- it keeps things interesting.

Jan Showers via Glamorous Retreats

Not considering mood is a common mistake.  Designers understand its importance, but many DIYers don't think about setting tone until they've already set the wrong one.  I made that mistake in my first apartment.  I was quite excited to have my own space to design, and started with the living area.  When it was completed, it was pretty. I'd used color well, and had a great mix of pattern and texture. The placement of furniture worked and the flow was good.   

 Alia Miriam via Domaine

I was pleased with my room for a while.  Slowly, I started noticing that the space made me feel a little restrained and sedate.  I had created a room that would work perfectly as a more formal living area for a family. As I was single and in my mid-twenties the tone was far off target.

 Kishani Perera via Domaine

Funnily enough, a visiting friend mentioned that my apartment made them feel like they were in their parent's living room.  I didn't think it was funny then.

I can laugh now, but I learned a valuable lesson that I won't forget. Now, the purpose of every design project in my house is the same. It's to create the atmosphere that will make me feel my best. Fortunately for us all, what makes me feel happiest also works for my family : )

What do you consider the purpose when embarking on an interior design project?  Did you see a dining room above that sets the right tone for your home?

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