Designing a home that matches your lifestyle

When it comes to the design of your home, the only people you need to please are yourself and your family. This is your space, and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in it. While it’s great to keep up with the latest trends in interior design, making a home that works for you and the way that you live is more important than making it look like a glossy spread in a magazine.

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to design our dream home from scratch and have it built to our specifications. While that might be an option for some, there’s no reason why you can’t bring some of your personality into your home and tailor it to your requirements, whether it’s the family house or a rented flat. Here are five tips to help your home fit in with your way of living, rather than the other way around.

  1. Form follows function

Applying this classic first principle of good design to your home means thinking about what you need from a room before you think about how you want it to look. If your bedroom is primarily a place to relax and sleep in, then everything else should follow from that. Paint the walls in calming, neutral tones, stick a soft rug on the floor; and arrange furniture and fittings around the bed. Think about what you might want to have in reach. The same principles apply to the lounge, office, kitchen, and so on.

  1. Consider your stuff

It’s all very well to dream of a minimal dream home with plenty of open spaces, but just remember all of the stuff that you’re going to bring with you. All of those books will need space on the walls, and if you’re a compulsive reader or collector, then realistically you need to leave space for the items still to come. The same goes for sports equipment, clothes, the dog’s basket – your home is going to have to assemble itself around the paraphernalia of your life. If you’re still set on clutter-free minimalism, then you need to either invest in some low-key but sizeable closet space, or just have a serious clear-out.

  1. Look at the windows

 The windows are where you look out, and where the world looks in. They’re the point where the interior environment of your carefully curated room meets the uncontrolled environment outside, and so it makes sense to pay them special attention regarding style and function.

Window shutters have an advantage over curtains in that they create more space in a room and let in more natural light while cutting down on outdoor noise. Louvered tier-on-tier window shutters cover the whole window, but the top and bottom halves open independently, giving you more control over your privacy and access to light and air.

  1. Design to suit your needs

 Think about your personality and the way that you live. Do you like to entertain at home, or is it a sanctuary where you can enjoy quiet time and recharge your batteries in peaceful surroundings? If you do entertain, are you inclined to have dinner parties where you can show off your culinary skills, relaxed evenings with a few friends sat around the TV, or full-on house parties where anything goes?

You may not spend much time at home, in which case you want a functional base of operations that’s easy to manage and look after. At the other end of the scale, you may actually work from home, in which case creating a separate office space in a room in which you like to relax is a good idea if you can manage it.

  1. Start from the ground up

 The type of flooring in a room can set the tone for everything else that goes above it. Thick carpets and rugs create comfort and intimacy, while stripped and polished wood floors suggest a cool, rustic minimalism. You may want to go for a clean and modern look with polished tiles, especially in the kitchen or bathroom. Thinking about the floor really gets you to the bottom of things and gives you a firm foundation on which you can build.

Whatever your living arrangements, there’s no need to just accept the space that you’re given as it is. Sometimes, all it takes is a few personal objects or a picture on a wall to put your own personality on a room. However, if the opportunity is there, why not give your home a complete makeover? Turn your home into a place in which you really want to live, and maybe you’ll end up with the home of your dreams.