I'm all about aesthetics. I like everything to look pretty and desirable and when it doesn't, I want to do something about it. However, I've become increasingly aware that less is more when it comes to home decor and that functionality is key. If I can buy one thing that serves three purposes, rather than purchasing three things to serve three purposes (or sometimes no purpose at all but to sit and look pretty) I go with the all-in-one item.
Perhaps it's a product of needing to be frugal these days, but when perusing images of perfectly put together homes, I find myself looking at their set up with new eyes. Take this bedroom, for example:
At first glance I can't help falling in love with the soothing color palette and the classic yet comfortable furniture. But then I'm immediately annoyed.
By the chairs.
And the footstool.
Now I know the designer's husband requested a place to sit, but I've never known anyone to actually make use of chairs in their bedroom* (and I mean enough use that it's worth the purchase) unless it's to watch television. They seem much more like props than objects of purpose. I think that's why I get annoyed - because many of the "design on a dime" blogs I follow (like the one this image came from) are misleading like this. People who are truly on a tight budget can't afford to furnish their bedrooms with two chairs and a footstool on top of the essentials (like a bed). Nor can they afford a $400 area rug, like the one pictured.
Don't get me wrong - the space is beautiful and I'm not trying to be critical (maybe the designers's husband uses those chairs all the time). To each, his own. But for me, it's a lesson in what's essential. One of the hardest things to do in decorating a space is to kill the "keeping up with the Joneses'" mentality, even if the Joneses took the cheaper, DIY route. I'm in the process of learning where to draw the line between what's attractive and functional versus what's attractive and completely frivolous. Of course, there's plenty of perfectly wonderful things that could fall into the latter category. Fresh flowers in a vase or pictures on the wall serve no other purpose than to look nice, but can make all the difference in brightening up a room. Which is why modeling my home around the words of William Morris is so helpful:
"Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"
It makes room for fresh flowers without going overboard. Now, I can't claim to be guilt free of buying plenty of non-essentials for our home (case in point - the $20 pillow I bought that is not meant for head-resting, but to compliment the bench it sits on.) But that's exactly what those chairs represent for me: a reminder that I don't need to buy things that lack true function, simply to create a perfect space (the pillow was a weak moment). As the saying goes... "You can't take it with you." So I'm trying my best to keep things simple, beautiful and above all, useful.
* if you have a chair in your bedroom, feel free to prove me wrong on this point.