How to Make Clients' Homes Fit the Needs of Their Family
A few simple questions can make every room in the house as efficient - and comfortable - as possible.
With the economy the way it is these days, using every square inch of a home is not only practical but smart. People want a comfortable place to entertain as well as a place to retreat from the chaos of everyday life. Gone are the days of rooms collecting dust, as that coveted square footage needs to have a purpose.
For instance, one of my clients had a very formal living room complete with small Louis Phillippe chairs, a gold gilded settee, silk curtains, and Oriental rug. Her children loved to read in this room but there was no space to comfortably do so. When renovating her home, we assessed the function of every room of her home, and this room did not make the cut. Her girls were growing, and her family's needs were changing. We decided to make this space more functional by making it an inviting place to read and visit with friends. Out went the small, uncomfortable settee and chairs as well as the formal drapes and rug. We added two chaise loungers in child-friendly fabrics, a grass rug on top of a sisal for texture, and custom linen curtains that blended well with the dining room adjacent to the area. My client now says that next to her master bedroom, this room is by far her favorite in the house.
So how do you help your clients use every square inch in their home as efficiently as possible? You create a well-designed room by asking yourself - and the family - a few questions when walking through the space for the very first time.
- Is this a pass-through room or one to sit down to read, visit or watch television?
- Who (children, pets) will use this room? Is it an area where the main upholstered pieces need to be child or pet –friendly?
- Does the room function as it needs to for the family? If not, one of the first things to decide is what needs to change to make it more family-friendly.
- Is there a type of space missing that is needed for the family? For instance, if you have teenagers you may need a room to hang out, do homework, or watch TV.
- How many people at a time do you need to comfortably seat in the space?
- How is the lighting in the room, and what rooms are near? You always want to make sure the purpose and design of one room flows nicely into the next.
- When walking into the room, what catches your eye? Is there a focal point, or do you need to create one?
- Does the space feel connected to the rest to house?
By asking these few questions, you can easily create a home your clients and their family can enjoy for many years to come. After all, every square foot counts.
Photo credit: Photo by Jean Allsop
Dana Wolter is a designer based in Birmingham, Alabama who has worked on residential and small commercial projects across the United States. She is known for creating custom interiors that are naturally sophisticated yet truly functional. Dana also contributes television segments on the home for NBC-13 Daytime Alabama and the Mountain Brook, AL television station, MBTV. Her website and blog can be found at www.danawolterinteriors.com.