I have a confession … when I walk into anyone’s home, all that I can think about is re-arranging the furniture! So I’ve mentioned before that I have a bit of OCD, right? Fortunately my tendencies toward being very “obsessive-compulsive” are; 1) not severe, and 2) the kind that makes me a really great organizer. Though, I admit it also makes me close doors over and over [to make sure they are shut – drives my ’sig-other’ crazy!!]… but that’s not what this post is about! Okay, so add to the OCD tendencies the fact that I have a very small [but lovely] home in the mountains, [and wala!] I have mastered the art of designing functional spaces.
So in the interest of sharing some of the principles that guide me when looking at ways to design a beautiful space that also provides exceptional function, I have broken it down into some critical components that drive my decisions. It may also be worth noting that there are some very direct parallels here with my “real job functions, when helping customers to deploy great technology solutions”.
Here are 8 critical considerations when designing a space so that it functions well for you and your cohabiters:
- What is your goal?
I always have a specific goal in mind when thinking about creating spaces in my home. It can be as simple as thinking about the “type of feeling” you want to create in a room, such as creating a warmer and calmer feeling in a bedroom. Or perhaps you want to focus on opening up a room and making it seem bigger.
- Who will be using the space?
Next, you need to consider who your users are? Who is going to be using the space most? Is it a space that is especially for you? Or does this space need to function for the whole family, the kids, the dogs, the cat…etc.
- How will they be using it?
Once you determine “who” will use it, figure out the “how”. Ask yourself what the main
function of the room is. What is the most important thing that happens in that room. If there are many ways the room will be used, rank the functions so that you design for the most critical needs of that room.
- Is it easy for everyone to use?
This part will take some imagination and planning. So once you have determined the first three items on this list, visualize some of the ways that you want to see that room. Imagine yourself in that room and using it the way that you are seeking to use it.
- Is it working as expected?
Next, determine if that design will work and function as expected based on those plans you’ve just drawn. Are there things that you have missed in that plan?
- Is it inviting or engaging?
This of course is the ultimate test … is it an inviting space? The way that I judge this is by asking myself … “Do I want to stay in that room and use it for the purpose that its designed? Or do I want to get in and out and on to another room?”
- Are there other problems that you can solve along the way?
This is one of my favorites! Anytime I undertake a re-design or especially if its a remodel of some type, I look around my home for little storage items and I ask … “could that be handled better somewhere else? And, I will often find an opportunity to move some storage or other items to an area that makes more sense and at the same time clears the space where it used to remain. I love when I can do that. Its of course related to my ocd issues as mentioned above!
- How does it handle ‘co-existense’?
And lastly, how well does it blend with the other parts of your home. All of your rooms and spaces should have their own personality but also consider how well the colors compliment each other and how each flows into the next; and finally how well it fits the overall “style” of the home.