In the modern interior design world, practicality has become a key feature to focus on, especially with the renewed emphasis on minimalism [which, in itself, means every item in the room has to have practical value] that’s been occurring in recent months. These tips should help anyone looking to create a more practical interior design.
Use doubled-up furniture
One of the key aspects of practical design is to only use space when necessary, such as using a folding table to accommodate a variety of uses or a day-bed to save space in a spare room. Utilising this sort of fold-away furniture will mean that the room offers the same practical features as one using permanent features, but will look far less cluttered when it’s not being used.
Never forget what the room is for
One of the reasons that people get carried away and end up with an impractical design is that they forget what the room is going to be used for. They'll have a design in mind for their child's bedroom, and then on their trip to pick up a few extras, they’ll see an utterly adorable child's writing desk that would suit the room’s aesthetic perfectly. Does their kid write? No: he's out playing football, but that desk is just adorable! Before you know it, the room’s twice as cluttered by something that’s not serving a purpose. The key is to remember not what a room can be used for, but what you are going to use it for.
Don’t under-estimate the value of black and white
One of the things that cluttered rooms often have in common is the over-use of colour. In a small space, this can lead to a seriously claustrophobic feel. If you've only got limited space to work with, focus on white [or a type of off-white] as a general background, and then add splashes of colours to it later on. Not only will the room look brighter [which is useful in smaller rooms, as they tend to have less windows], but it’ll also have a more contemporary minimalist edge.
Don’t be afraid to use imitation materials
In a sense, minimalism and practicality both represent the same principle: making the most out of what’s available, and avoiding excess for the sake of it. In this sense, imitation materials are the perfect practical investment. For instance, if you’ve got an en-suite attached to a master bedroom that’s only ever used by you and your spouse, then there’s precious little point splashing out cash on a genuine tiled floor that no-one’s ever going to see. A replica lino floor will serve exactly the same practical purpose, look basically the same and cost a boatload less. The money can then be used to invest in a room that guests actually visit!
Rely on natural lighting where you can
Within rooms that only have one or two main windows, it’s important to allow the light to flow right across the space. It’s a good idea, therefore, to put the bed right underneath the window. Beds are usually below the window ledge, so they won’t block out the light. Again, it’s also wise to fall back to using bright colours in the smaller rooms: light will bounce around four white walls far more effectively than it will four dark green ones!
This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson. Follow her on Twitter: @katht35