Aesthetics vs. Function
What is the purpose of interior design?
A good interior design gets made when the home-owners are not merely trying to impress the neighbours, but rather, when they are hoping to improve their quality of life. A good interior designer understands this and values this vision.
The purpose of interior design is to ensure that a home or office will fulfil its purpose; i.e., that a home is liveable & comfortable and that an office is a good place to work.
Interior design, of any design for that matter, has two components – function and aesthetics. Problems arise when these two most important components are given unequal weight and focus.
Design is responsible for keeping the viewer’s attention. Functionality, on the other hand, is responsible for keeping the viewer.
The interplay of Function (utility) and Aesthetics (beauty)
Both these components bring different things to be table; sometimes complementary and sometimes not. Their interplay is a fine balance. It’s really an art! When this balance tips in favour of aesthetics, qualities such as comfort and ergonomics may be compromised. Then again, when the balance tips in favour of utility, comfort and liveability become dominant with little regard for beauty and style.
A professional interior designer is a fine juggler who balances beauty with utility in a manner that creates poetry from cement and brick.
What is Function? Capable of serving the key purpose well.
For example – A poorly designed house may be reasonably large but it may not provide the occupants with the space they need. On the other hand, a small apartment may be transformed into a home with adequate space for virtually all the functions required by its occupants.
What is Aesthetics? This is the area of interior design that focuses on beauty and taste.
(or what everyone thinks is fun stuff)
Beauty comes from elements like a design theme, colours, paints, textures, art, balance, and symmetry to provide a stunning appearance. Ideally, this aesthetic quality should match the purpose and function of each room/ space. E.g., the appearance of the living room should enhance relaxation, the bedroom design should enhance rest and good sleep, while the home office area should enhance creative thinking and productivity. (Source – HomeyImprovements.com)
So, the general belief that aesthetics are not important is incorrect. Aesthetics do still have a fundamental importance.
So, who wins?
Beauty without utility is wasteful. Utility without beauty is boring.
What’s worse? A home that fulfils all your needs but is ugly? Or a home that’s beautiful but uncomfortable to live in?
A balance of the two is required for a successful product. However, I firmly believe that ‘Beauty follows Utility’. Both should be balanced, while communicating the main function correctly.
We usually see 3 different types of clients in our work.
☆ The first type of people are well-travelled & understand the importance of utility but also want beauty in their homes.
☆ The 2nd type are heavily focused on beauty, not very concerned with utility. They leave that part to us.
☆ The 3rd type are rare and very trusting people, who leave the entire decision making to us.
In all three cases, it falls on us to create this fine balance I spoke about. I would like to tell you about a project we are currently doing in South City 1, Gurgaon, India. The SINGH VILLA. The Singhs are a large family. They came to us with a house-layout already made. The layout they had included some utilities but made the spaces look too small & cluttered.
The Singhs asked us to do the challenging task of
- Make the spaces clutter-free and open
- Provide all utilities, even some missing ones
- Be beautiful and pleasing to the eye
The missing utilities were these -Master Bedroom & son’s room had no seating, parents’ washroom needed to be comfortable so that the senior citizens could use it easily.
Here are some clever design ideas we implemented to make the above tasks happen!
☆ To make rooms look bigger – we expand window sizes.
☆ To make space available – we used only sleek furniture.
☆ Colors – We moved towards neutrals with accents, to create a feeling of space.
☆ We used door colors such that they flushed with walls, so that walls look bigger & wider.
☆ We gave storage spaces within walls to save space.
☆ We provided large counter tops in washrooms so that we could use large mirrors (to give a feeling of space), get hidden storage Space under counters, and more utility space on top of counters.
☆ We used reflective surfaces (glossy tiles, cabinets) to add a feeling of more space
Door flushed with wall
Making spaces seem larger
Neutral colors to make space seem larger scaled
Sleek space saving furniture
Storage within walls
In other words, one does not have to sacrifice comfort for beauty; operation for appearance; or tranquility for taste. In fact, for the best interior designers, the elements of interior design are used only to enhance both function and aesthetics in every project. Looking for more interior design tips, design trends, marketing tips, new products, and furnishing ideas?
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