Sunday, March 8, 2009

Form vs. Function

Welcome to another Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Between Naps on the Porch. It has been so fun to participate and see so many before and afters. Thank you Susan!

When it came to decor, it used to be form over function for me. Who cared if something had no function as long as it served my aesthetic need? :) I didn't even use baby gates as I thought they were ugly. I taught our children to crawl backwards down the stairs as soon as they could crawl so that I didn't have to deal with those ugly gates.

However, with the chaos of family life, I am realizing I need function a little more than form. As our family grows up, I am constantly thinking of how to make our house function for us. A couple of years ago, we switched our living and dining rooms. It worked better for us to have a large dining room to host family and other social functions. At the same time, it was better for us to have a smaller living room where we could tuck the (ugly) piano on one side of the wall where it was not very visible to people as they walk into our home. I also had an office armoire in the living room that housed my computer. That armoire moved last year into the study. It was bringing too much clutter from all my paperwork, and I was also not doing a good job at closing up the armoire after I was finished for the day.

While the living room was functional with the piano in there, I realized it could be even more functional. We do a lot of reading in that room. The sofa is so comfortable, we can nap in there too. Here is the before of the living room:

I decided while it was nice to have a clean, uncluttered living room, it might be better served with bringing up the bookcase from the basement "library". No one was using the bookshelves down there. All the books were coming upstairs and being left everywhere. My dilemma was that bookcases, when used for the sole purpose of housing books, can look quite cluttered. I am trying to declutter, and also trying to lighten up the house. The bookcase we have is dark, and not necessarily the style I would have chosen. But, it had been given to us years ago, is a very high quality piece, and I have always been a believer of using what I have. Also, I had to think of function. Here is what it looks like now:
To accessorize the top of the bookcases, I added my prints to the top of the bookcases to visually lengthen them.

I want to lighten the look of this room for the summer. My plans for this room include slip covering the side chairs, replacing the drapes, and replacing the 3 prints on top of the bookcases. I am planning on also covering some of the paperback books with white paper. I know. What a time consuming task, but I do like that clean look.

I know that having all these books in this room will take more work to keep clean, but seeing this (below) makes it worthwhile when I know this room is being used for its intended purpose.

Hopefully, after I do some of my projects as planned, I may end up liking the look of the living room "library". Who knows, maybe I'll even go and paint the bookcases black to emulate this look:

Traditional Home via Porchlight Interiors


Susan said...

what a great idea...a library...boy, do we need one!


Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Love this idea! I like the black bookshelves, in the pic, too. I have the perfect room for a library...maybe some day...sigh. Love this Met Monday post!
:-) Susan

KBeau said...

Oh, I do love the idea of black bookcases. Go for it!

Martha said...

The room looks so much better with the bookshelves -- libraries are always a nice room to have.

Anonymous said...

love your couch and love the idea of the black bookshelves- what a wonderful little place to kick back and relax!


Shelia said...

Love this idea!
BE a sweetie,

Linda said...

Lauren, I love the way you made your rooms work for you...who said that dining room had to be the dining room or the living room stay the living room?! I am a reader and always love a cozy library. I like your idea about black paint on the's amazing the difference that color makes. Also, one idea I saw from a decorator and have copied is to turn your books around so that the binding is to the back and the edge of the white pages shows on the front. It is a whole lot cheaper, faster, etc. than painfully covering every book, plus you know what book it is! You will have a pretty textured look for $0. Let me know if you try it : ) Linda

Linda said...

Good idea, library, go for it and paint those bookcases black, they will look great!
Linda Q

DesignTies said...

It's so important that our rooms work for us - that they don't become museums that we rarely enter! Great idea to bring the book cases up and create a total hang-out room!

Thanks for dropping in to see my old condo's kitchen remodel. Yep... I really did do all the tiling (and designed the layout of the tile) in this space with a little help from my husband (he's my tile cutter and mortar/grout mixer). We left the cabinet install to the professionals though :-)

I hope you'll drop by again - in about a month I'll post about the transformation of my current kitchen. Now THAT was a big job!

Victoria from EdinDesigns @ DesignTies

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

Love the idea of the library. Great multi-function space. Cozier now, too. I will have to remember this idea if I stumble across some nice bookshelves. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa (aka) French said...

I need those shelves too! The pics above the cabinets looks good to me;0) French

cityfarmer said...

i am in the process of making my dining room look like a library/dining room...full of cupboards of old books.

Lovely home u have
let's chat

Anonymous said...

I Love your picture frames on top the bookcases!

Think the black bookcase looks so stylish and chique..... it seems black furniture is haunting me today ;)

SILVIA said...

well i think the bookshelves look great in there and if the kids read even better ....
thank you for coming by my space and your lovely comment, its really nice to meet you ,i'm new at blogging and i'm learning as i go alone....thanks again and have a great week....silvia