I had two client visits yesterday. The first client had a great room with a fireplace. In her interior, the best place to install the TV will be above the fireplace, so we talked about installing wing chairs to flank the fireplace.
She mentioned that no one would sit there because you can’t see the television (example above).
via Design Sponge
The second client had a very awkward and narrow living/dining area in her tiny condo downtown. After going around and around on every possible layout for furniture, we decided that a dining room would look best in one area of the space, even though she wouldn’t use it very often.
How many of us have a dining room that is rarely used? But you still have dining room furniture in there right?
Or, you might have a large master bedroom with room for a sitting area. Some might argue that you’ll never sit there.
And, a more common argument for NOT refreshing a dated living room (vs. a family room) is ‘We rarely use this room’.
But here’s the thing. If you are committed to having a LOOK and a FEEL, you still need to have those chairs beside the fireplace, or the dining room that you rarely use, or living room furniture in your master bedroom, or a refresh of your living room.
Conversations in this house go like this “What will LOOK the best”, “Will it be PRETTY?”. “If we replace that, what will everything else around it look like then?”
If you were a fly on the wall, you’d often hear me saying things like:
“I hate that, it looks terrible”
“I’m not installing that, it will look bad.”
“No way, that’s just ugly”
On anything from a piece of furniture to where a wire will run (and what colour it should be) inside the garage because an outside light is being installed.
Terreeia is way more about FUNCTION than PRETTY than me, but she mostly goes along with my obsession with pretty because she loves the way the house looks in the end.
There’s nothing WRONG with function or comfort taking priority over pretty. However, I think when designers get stumped, it’s because they are trying way too hard to give their clients EVERYTHING.
Sometimes that’s just not possible.
When I work too hard trying to give a client both, only to come to the conclusion that it’s not possible, I usually realize that about halfway or 3/4 into the consult. Then I make myself wrong for not seeing it sooner.
It works kind of the same way as this diagram (below).
My Mom sat on the all the pretty recliners (that didn’t look like recliners) back in the day when we were shopping for them. She hated them all and declared them uncomfortable.
If you are in a situation where you want functional, low maintenance, practical and sublimely comfortable, oh, and by-the-way can it be PRETTY too? You might have to sacrifice ‘look and feel’ in order to get low maintenance, or comfort. Or it’ll cost a lot more.
It’s kind of like the saying,
People say “Won’t a white kitchen get dirty and won’t it mark-up easier?” Yes it will.
“What about a white sofa, won’t I have to wash it?” Yes you will.
“What about white grout? Will I have to bleach it?” Yep.
Related post: Is White Worth the Extra Maintenance?
Same goes for furniture you don’t need or won’t use very often. If you look at elaborately decorated, large interiors in design magazines, do you think every single chair gets sat on regularly??
No they don’t. But these are the interiors that have a ‘look and a feel’.
If you want that? Your entire conversation becomes very different from the one most people have which is often more about practicality and comfort.
Is it practical to have a chair or two you’ll never use? Maybe not, but it looks good.
If you want your room or home to have a ‘look and a feel’, BEAUTIFUL has to win most of the time, otherwise you just won’t have it.
Did I say there’s anything wrong if you have to give up pretty to have function or comfort? No, but just know that sometimes it’s impossible to have both.
Over to you my lovelies, which one are you? Pretty, practical or comfortable?