What makes a room “well-designed”?

On one of the podcasts I listen to regularly (Chris Loves Julia), a question they frequently ask their guests is “What does well-designed mean to you?”

For me, well-designed means that a space is thoughtfully designed for the people who use it.

In my definition what the room looks like is slightly less important than how it works.

Recently on my farm blog, I revealed the results of our basement TV area renovation. For me, this is a highly personal example of making a well-designed room.

Home on 129 Acres basement TV area before and after

Originally, the TV area had a little half wall separating it from the laundry room, a doorway into an adjacent bedroom and a woodstove. When I first looked at the room, I couldn’t see where we could put the TV and the couch and still have a comfortable space.

Our home is custom built, so someone at some point had laid out the basement in the way that made sense for them. They liked the woodstove. They liked the L-shaped laundry room. They liked the bedroom opening onto the main area.

For me, those were not things that I liked. They were not how we wanted to use the space.

We removed the woodstove, hauling it up the basement stairs tied to the back of my Dad’s truck (seriously, so, so heavy). We demolished the half wall and shrank the laundry room so that it no longer extended right to the TV area. We closed up the bedroom doorway and made a new opening around the corner.

That gave us a large open area, complete with three long walls. Plenty of space for a large comfy sectional tucked into the corner where the woodstove used to be and a big screen TV sitting on top of a custom cabinet that holds all of my husband’s video game systems.

The space works great for us.

The finishing touch that makes it truly well-designed is the decor. And this is an area that should also be driven by the people who are using the space.

For us, this meant colourful accessories like pillows, a red throw and a purple lamp. We also built in a bit of a games theme with a backgammon board tray on the ottoman, a dice bookend on the TV cabinet and Monopoly posters on the wall.

The decor fits with the casual, fun approach we take to life at the farm.

Together the layout, the function, the furniture and the decor all make a perfect space that is well-designed for us.

Check out the before and after and all of the details on the TV area.

What does well-designed mean to you?

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