I think it’s an interesting question “if my home is going to work for me and my family does that mean it has to be functional and I can’t be proud of it?” The answer is an emphatic “No!”

It is easy to have the idea that if something is practical it can’t also be aesthetically pleasing and give you pleasure. To give an example think about the Alessi Juicy Salif Lemon Citrus Squeezer PSJS designed by Philippe Starck. It works as a juicer but it’s also a stunning piece of design that looks good on the worktop.

So in this blog I am going explore the concepts of creating a home that you can feel proud of and that works for you and your family. For illustrative purposes I am going to talk about it in the context of a single room but the principles apply equally to designing for a whole house. Take the living room for example.

Image of the Alessi JUicer designed by Philippe Starck. The juicer element is on three legs

How Are You Going To Use The Room?

Image of a man and a woman both looking thoughtful.

When you are creating a practical space you need to start by considering how you are going to use the space. This requires collaboration between all relevant parties because it’s no good if it works for you but not someone else in the family. Pooling ideas and talking them through can be good fun and if all those affected have a say then the end result is much more likely to be a success. A word of warning here – this may involve compromise! So what are all the different activities that you want to enjoy in the space? Is it for gathering to watch TV, entertaining friends or chilling out with a coffee and a book, or a combination?

What Are The Most Important Elements?

Image of a table on which is set a mug of black coffee with a piece of paper next to it on which is written "Set Your Priorities" and a pen

Having identified the way in which you want to use the space, you next need to prioritise those aims. Especially if you are a family, but even if it’s you on your own, it is likely that you might not be able to accommodate them all, or at least not equally. So you need to consider which of the activities/ experiences you identified you are going to spend most of your time doing. It’s usually the case that we are going to spend more time enjoying some activities than other so it makes sense to focus on the main one or ones.

What Do Each of Those Elements Require?

Image of a selection of paint tester pots, fabric samples and upholstery samples on a table

We are getting closer … Different activities require different things to support them – furniture, lighting etc. For example, if you want to create a space where the family can all spend time chilling, watching TV or playing games together then that will involve different things to what you would want if you are looking to combine a seating area with a dining area or workstation.

What Are The Qualities Of Each Element?

Image of a ottoman style  coffee table with lid that lifts up. It is upholstered in pale blue and the lid is buttoned.l

By qualities I mean attributes. Does an item of furniture need to be multi purpose? Does it need to be hard wearing? Choosing products that are suitable for what they are mainly going to be used for ensures that the finished result will work for you and will last. It is worth remembering that for some things it is worth paying more for something that will last. This applies to furniture, fabrics, lighting, flooring and even paint finishes.


Image of a person mixing cocktails. It includes a glass, cocktail shaker and measure. The person is holding a bottle and puring from the measure into the glass.

To have a space that you feel proud of, that you want to invite friends and family to, it needs to feel cohesive. The parts of the scheme need to come together – wall coverings, furniture, fabrics, flooring, lighting and accessories. The fact that the look is cohesive doesn’t mean that the space has to be bland or not be quirky. At the end of the day it does need to reflect you and your personality. Yet you don’t want things to jar or sound an “off” note. This involves a considered combination of all the different parts – a bit like making a cocktail

The Wow Factor

Image of a modern open plan living room and dining room with statement "sputnik" style branch ceiling light fitting

I think if you asked home owners what they would need in order to feel proud of a space, they would say that it should have a wow factor. Let’s face it, if we are going to be having visitors we do want to show off (a little!) The Cambridge Dictionary defines “Wow factor” as :

quality or feature of something that makes people feel great excitement or admiration:

So the phrase could apply to the whole room or some part of it – a statement light fitting, for example. I think the wow factor can come from one piece of the jigsaw, the overall look of the room or the feeling it generates. Most of us have a budget and our desire for a wow factor has to accommodate the budget. Not forgetting that the wow doesn’t have to come from the amount you spend on it, it can come from the fact that it is unique.


Often when we feel proud it’s because we’ve done something – cooked a meal, gone for a run, achieved a promotion. Well I think that applies to your home and I don’t mean keeping it clean and tidy in the sense of being “house proud”. If we have contributed to the design of the space in some way we are likely to feel proud. In the first section I talked about collaboration – all the parties concerned having input into the decisions. If the scheme is a success and you have contributed to the choices then you will feel proud whatever your role. Another great way to generate a sense of pride is do something practical such as upcycling a piece of furniture, decorating (if you feel competent), creating a gallery wall. I remember the first time I hung wallpaper (well lining paper actually) and I felt immensely proud of myself and the fact that it improved the appearance of the wall once I had painted it.

Image of two wooden hearts on a white painted shelf against a grey wall

Gives Pleasure

At the end of the day when you are creating a space that you are going to feel proud then you need to enjoy being in it. So think about how you want feel when you are in the room – relaxed, connected with friends and family, motivated if it includes a workspace. These final elements are elusive – the final touches and these are highly personal.

And So …

Feeling nervous? My E Design packages take account of your individual circumstances, could give you options that you may not have thought of and the design boards help you visualise the results. Want to know more? Call me now on 07745 876182 for a free no obligation chat or find details here . If you prefer face to face then I cover the Wirra, Cheshire, North West and North Wales