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?



Lucy and Jenn said...

Great post! Sometimes it's easy to think that you need to follow some kind of formula to have a room. A den looks like this. A dining room like this. Especially true if you grew up in a household that was more traditional with formal living and dining rooms. I find myself wanting to fall into those safe zones of what a room is supposed to look like, but why do I want to have my parent's house? Jenn at East Meets South

Splendid Market said...

Adore the turquoise dining room.

Karena Albert said...

Jennifer your thoughts are spot on!
Designing a room must reflect our lifestyle and personality otherwise it is not only off it is so impersonal. Love these dining rooms, starting with the wheat sheaf table in the first!

The Arts by Karena New Feature

Christina Baker said...

I'm so crazy about this post much less some of the rooms you have selected. So very eclectic and tells a story as you scroll through each room. It's as if you can get a sense of ones personalty with a glimpse of their living environment.

Simply LKJ said...

Great post. And, I agree. Each room should tell a story, make you feel a certain way. One should also be able to tell a lot about a family by the way their rooms are designed. I think all too often people go with what is "in" and then are unhappy with their rooms. I have seen some bloggers decorate parts of their homes with the latest trend only to think it doesn't not match their personality at all. Something to ponder. I would have to say my Master bedroom is a tough one for me. It is one of the few rooms in our house that has a more masculine feel as I obviously share it with my sweet hubby, but we have two girls so much of the house is completely different. I am trying to incorporate a few more feminine things into the mix.

Dianne said...

Loving this subject.

Mary Ann Pickett said...

So true. I can appreciate so many styles--and DO. But what is right for the individual is so important...not just copying something. I like to take into consideration the surroundings too. Like with our home (1920's SF apt.)...I like bringing out the vintage character but like my casual roots. This post really makes you think!

Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door said...

Great post Jennifer! I totally agree - it is the feel that first draws me to a picture and then I look critically at everything else. But without the feel, I will just move on.

Anna Lee said...

Wonderful post Jennifer! While I love the elegance of Mary's dining room (she can do no wrong!), it is a bit too formal for where I am in my life right now - a newly-wed, in my mid-twenties. Our current dining room - with its use of mixed woods, metal, and art work - is a bit eclectic, but I love it! To me, it has an artistic, inviting feel, that feels like home. - Anna, of Anna E. Lee - Interior Design

BRASWELL said...

stunning + love those black & white striped chairs. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Kathysue said...

Love your purposeful post. You call it tone and I call it feeling. I have always said it is more important to me how a room feels in my home than how it just looks. It has to convey the right feeling for me. Even when I make a small change it can not disturb the feeling or I will not make the change. Keep up the good post, love them!!


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