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What Makes Indoor Spaces Work

Sep 25, 2017 by

Even if you don’t much care about interior design, you’ve probably experienced what it’s like to be in a room that just works – or, perhaps, one that just doesn’t. It’s a joy to be in a kitchen that makes cooking easy or an office that makes focusing simple, just as it’s no fun to sleep in an uncomfortable bedroom or eat in a poorly laid-out kitchen or dining room. How is it that some rooms work so much better than others? Here are a few reasons why, ordered from the most obvious to the most detailed.

Design and functional spaces

There is a lot going on in each room you enter, whether you realize it or not. How well a room works has to do with how much things in each layer of a room’s design mesh with the room’s purpose.

The room itself: shape, size, and layout

It doesn’t take a genius to know that the first thing about a room that determines its efficiency and usefulness is the room itself. Is the room big enough for the task in question? What shape is the room?

Even if the room itself isn’t ideal, there are things that can be done with its layout to make it more functional. The placement of a countertop, for instance, can make a massive difference in how comfortable and functional that space is.

Furniture and organization

It’s not just walls and permanent fixtures like countertops that make a room functional, of course. Furniture is key, and great spaces make wise furniture choices. Furniture is where the character of a room really begins to be decided.

Furniture should match the feel the room is going for – and, of course, the furniture in the room should match itself. Function and form come together here: the size of the table in your kitchen matters, but so does its style (be it rustic or modern) and how well that matches the chairs and other furniture.

The key here is to pair the style with the room’s purpose. Kitchens look great as minimalist black-and-white spaces, as do bathrooms, but making a similar choice with a bedroom is a bold proposition if you’re not Steve Jobs. And how much character a room has also defines its purpose. Hotels and corporate apartments have to be comfortable without being too bold, as their owners can’t predict the tastes and personalities of every guest or resident. On the flip side, your own home can (and should) reflect your own tastes.

The final touches: decor

The bulk of a space’s function is determined by the shape of the room and the placement of permanent things (countertops, etc.) and furniture. But important details do remain. A poor choice of wall hanging may not make it more physically difficult to cook or sleep in the same way that a misplaced countertop or bed can, but it certainly can have a psychological affect! From the color of the paint on your walls to your choice of wall hangings – be they tapestries, oil paintings (not as expensive as they may sound – check out, or photographs – there are still things you’ll want to get right about your room.

Select your final touches based on the style your furniture is helping to determine. Match natural scenes in paintings and photographs to rustic furniture in earth tones, for instance.

These final details will bring together all three layers of your room’s design, giving you a space that truly works.

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