Form AND Function!

April 14, 2015

By now you guys know I’m a magazine nut – those, decorating shows and blogs are my favorite way to gather ideas and get inspired. I could literally look at pretty homes and decorated spaces for hours.
But I tend to get frustrated – even with some of my favorite design shows. Usually I’m yelling BUT WHERE IS THE TV? at the screen. I do love my TV. :) I’m always studying layouts and how things will function for the people living there.
I know in magazines and on TV the point is to show a pretty space foremost, and the functionality will come later. But I shared a photo on Instagram last week that got me thinking. I really believe you can have a truly functional home and one that’s pretty. They are not exclusive to each other!
The photo I shared was one of our hall table in the family room – I picked up these big baskets from the outdoor section at Target (they are huge and way cheaper then I’ve found anywhere else for this size!) and knew they’d be perfect on that table. One was already home to the dog and cat toys but I couldn’t decide on the other one.
It hit me as I tripped over a basketball for the fifteenth time that day that the other basket was the PERFECT spot to store those:
world market everett table
Yes, basketballs are now a part of my decor. It is a fact that I’ve resigned myself to – and it will be that way for the next ten years. I’m embracing it. Trying. Our son is nuts about the sport and has a few of them (and yes, there are also some out in the garage). But (especially in winter) he walks through the house practicing his moves and they end up all over the place.
I still think this area is pretty (and I said I’d never decorate with orange, ha!). The fact that it holds dog toys and sporting equipment speaks to how our family operates. That’s all I want for our home – I want it to be pretty but look like we live here and work well for us. (You can read more about that foyer table here. I got it from World Market!)
I got to thinking about other spaces in our home that function so great but (I think) look good while doing it. The DIY craft table is a workhorse:
DIY craft table
It’s not really DIY in the traditional sense – I mean you put the little cubbies together and that’s about it. I cannot even tell you how much stuff I cram in those bins! It’s seriously one of the best organizational ideas and it looks pretty darn cute too.
If you’ve been around for a while you know how much I adore dressers. Yes, the bedroom kind. I have one in almost every room. All were from Craigslist, all were inexpensive. ALL hide a ton of stuff!:
board and batten walls
This dresser in our family room holds the office stuff we need more often – supplies, paper, and even some play dough. :) And then you decorate the top and, viola! Function and form all wrapped up in one dresser.
This one was a steal! It came this way, I just changed out the hardware. Now it’s one of my favorites in the house:
black dresser white knobs
It used to sit in my office and was full of supplies. Now it’s home to all our dining linens (and there’s some empty space to fill). Seriously, go get yourself some dressers. And paint them black. :)
In the kitchen this shelving unit is the bomb. It was one of my best purchases ever:
metal and wood shelves
Now that we’ve had this for almost a year I don’t know what we ever did without it. I use it for the animal food, our paper trap, kitchen table supplies like napkins and chargers and our “office” with a spot for mail, pencils, receipts – it’s AWESOME. We use it every single day, all day long. (I get asked about this piece all the time, and I gave more details on it here. I found this similar one and the price is awesome. It’s just a little thinner.)
And I have to say – when you have a spot for things and a method that works, it’s so much easier to keep it clean. I mean, the bowl and the basket get full of junk, but I allow us those spots and it’s what keep the whole thing from getting covered. This unit is also why our kitchen table and island have stayed relatively clean lately too.
Forgive me – I know I’ve shared this window seat a lot recently…but I can’t help it. This one is a perfect example of function and form – it is so pretty:
white window seat
Insert googley eyes here. :)
Obviously we now have seating where we didn’t before, but the best part is all the storage inside!:
storage in window seat
That area was wasted space before and now it’s useful and looks goooood. Freakin’ love it.
And finally, another one I have to mention simply because I adore it and am really proud. It holds ALL THE THINGS. The DIY “library” bookcases with kitchen cabinets as bases function great:
DIY bookcases with kitchen cabinets
People. Go get some cabinets. :) They are only 12 inches deep but I fit a ridiculous amount in each one: dining room storage
And beyond that – it really is nice to have a spot for all the books. They were kind of taking over before these built ins (and we still have plenty more).
Of course the DIY items take some time and effort, but all the furniture I mentioned was inexpensive and works great! Of course I want all of the projects I tackle to be beautiful, but it’s not even worth it to me unless they hold up well, hold lots of stuff or make a spot more useful.
I think most of us feel that way, don’t you agree? Is there a favorite spot in your home that functions well and looks good?
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  1. Thank you for this! All the blogs have tons of pictures of the beautiful spaces, but most neglect to show what those beautiful spaces do. I personally can't really get inspired by a space unless I see the practical side of things too. So again, thank you very much! You blog is my favorite home blog exactly for these kinds of posts!

  2. Your spaces are beautiful and yet function as needed for a family. Your creativeness has inspired me. Thanks

  3. I absolutely love this post. I always wonder the same thing about HGTV shows and magazines... where is the LIFE?! Thanks for keeping it real and showing you can have both... a functional space that is pretty. Your home is just that - a place to be lived in and enjoyed!

  4. I just thought I'd let you know that I totally copied your library built ins, except for the lighting. My hubby did it over a couple of weekends and it turned out beautiful! Everytime I walk by it I'm just so happy with it. So, thank you!

  5. I love the basket with the balls in it. Keepin it real! We have a Pottery Barn gardening bench turned kitchen cart by our back door for similar purposes. Kids have a lot of stuff!

  6. Great pieces that are really practical and stylish, my favourite is the library bookcase. Absolutely love these, you did a super job!

  7. I cant stress how much I love your blog. Form and function is my motto!!

  8. I like the "realness" of the basketball (aren't there other colored ones) makes us realize things can look good yet be practical!! jodie

  9. Functionality and beauty. I can't live without either one in my home.

  10. We use basketballs in our decor too:) and soccer balls, lacrosse balls and dog toys! Love all the stylish ways you hide "real life"! Just beautiful, love all your dressers! I am totally inspired to get organizing!

  11. Great post! I always think that, too. Everything looks so pretty, but you also need to be realistic about how you live! I have found trunks are my go-to. My apartment is very tiny, but trunks serve as tables, as well as great hidden storage!

  12. I love the idea of using dressers as consoles and yours is a beautiful one.

  13. We use a lot of baskets and cabinets as well to hide stuff. Lots o' stuff! BTW, you can get basketballs in a whole range of colors to match your decor - at least for the ones that stay inside. (well, I haven't seen any greige ones yet...hahaha)

  14. Love the idea of using a dresser in the dining room. It's extremely practical yet unique, which I love!

  15. A long time ago, I bought a narrow dresser (18" depth) to be a sewing cabinet in my small townhome. It has lots of drawers, big and small. In my current home, it is in the entry way and very useful. The smaller drawers hold batteries, mailing stuff, maps, candles/matches, and my purse/keys. The larger drawers hold scarves, hats, mittens, and emergency equipment such as radios, flashlights.

    I have an old highboy in my sewing room - it holds many projects and sewing items.

    I just haven't gotten to the point of painting these pieces - the original wood is still so beautiful and goes with what I have. I may just have to leave the painting to the next owners of my furniture.

  16. I also LOVE your blog. My latest form & function find are those HUGE poly resin planters. I use them for tossing our family room throws into. You can get them in so many colors now, so they really add to your space. Hint: I bought them on clearance in late fall :). Another find was on Craigslist. It's an antique lingerie cabinet. It has 8 shallow drawers in it behind two doiors. We put all of our board games, cards, etc. in then. So no more digging through an entire stack to find the one you're looking for :)

  17. 3 kids , lax, rugby, soccer, volleyball( all winter sports in the UK.. I know Lax in the winter? Bonkers) . so baskets of kit neatly incorporated into a coordinated scheme are the norm round here!


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