Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Defining Your Purpose

What is the purpose for each room or space in your home? Do you take a step back and define the purpose of you room before you decorate or furnish it? Do you have a room that just isn’t functioning the way you wish?

Once you’ve created the purpose for a room, only then can you make sure it functions for the intended use (purpose) of the room.

Dictionary.com defines purpose as:
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc
2. an intended or desired result, end, aim, goal
3. determination; resoluteness
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

Knowing your room’s purpose will help direct your decorating choices.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, there is a relatively new website called Catalog Living, which is the creation of Molly Erdman, a Los Angeles-based actor, writer, and comedian. It’s what she describes as “a look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs.” It is hilarious as she describes her fictional characters living in perfectly ‘staged’ rooms with items that would make NO sense in a home someone actually lives in.

But often these are the homes we are drooling over and trying to emulate…and yet when you break them down, they are not realistic for most people/families. Basically, Catalog Living is EXACTLY what I’m describing! Beautiful, yet totally non-functional, rooms!

It’s one thing to have a beautiful, picture perfect room. But if it doesn’t have a purpose and doesn’t function for the way your family lives, then it’s simply put…wasted space.

Here’s an example of a GORGEOUS dining room from Restoration Hardware! I look at this and think of how stunning each piece is and I even fantasize about having dinner there…for about a minute.

Until I realize:

  1. I don’t have dinner guests! Or at least not more than the four that can fit at our current table.
  2. We are not ‘formal’ people! We’d seem out of place in our own house at that kind “get-up” (that’s my southern twang coming out fer ya!). 
  3. I have a child….with friends….I would NOT want to clean those chairs after my family eats there!
  4. I have cats…who shed….a lot. I’d have to de-fur those chairs just to eat there.
  5. I’d have to clean that room…dust, mop, decorate it, buy dishes for it, table linens, lots of topiaries to put on the table, I’d have to water those I suppose, and those beautiful pedestal style legs would require a lot of dusting every time I cleaned for the amount of cat hair that would sit on them. Hmmm….I could probably knit a cat from all that hair! ;) 
For me, this room would be useless and would require a whole lot of my time to take care of it, and for what? So, I might use it once a year. No thanks….I’ll be reading a book instead. :)

BUT…for a couple who entertain a lot, a large family, or just more ‘formal’ people than us…this room might be perfect! That’s why it’s important to decide what each of YOUR rooms purposes are. (“Purposes” looks strange! But I didn’t get a squiggly red line underneath it, so I’m guessing it’s a real word. LOL)

For me, it would be unused, therefore serving no (here it is again) purpose in our house. And that’s my favorite part of my home or any small home…every inch must be used! Every square inch of a small home is a rich commodity.

In my last home I had a formal living room. It truly served no purpose. We didn’t use it. Anything I put it there, was just there to fill space.

 (If you squint your eyes....this picture won't look bad! LOL)
We didn’t need another room to sit in…the family room was perfect!
Its purpose was well defined…it’s where we ‘lived.’ My daughter could play in there, we watched movies in there, I read books in there, took naps in there, had sleepovers on the couch and floors in there, and visited with friends and neighbors in there. Did I mention it was perfect? :)
And oh how I miss that fireplace!!!  But I digress…
The unused room drove me nuts! I just didn’t see a purpose for it. I couldn’t even dream up a purpose for it. Everything we did in our family already had a room designated to its purpose. So, it sat. Mostly unfurnished except for a few ‘show’ pieces like the bookshelf that I only bought so I had something in that room. 
So, I heated and cooled, decorated and dusted an unused room with absolutely no purpose to me!
My solution to my unused room dilemma? I moved. :)
Do you have a room that you use for your own purpose, and not the builders intended purpose? Do you have a troubled room in your home that has no purpose? Do you have a plan to create a purpose for it? Are you frustrated with any unused rooms? Please do tell!
Until next time...
We had a cozy family room, attached to the kitchen.

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