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Designer Interiors and the Lived-In Home: What Defines a Living Space?

Designer Interiors and the Lived-In Home: What Defines a Living Space?

There is a difference between interior design and a designer interior. Interior design is the practice of designing a space for living in, which may or may not include the specific inclusion of designer pieces of furniture; art; and embellishment. Designer interiors, on the other hand, are whole rooms or homes whose every aspect – from the practical to the beautiful – has been orchestrated by a single mind.

In some ways, then, any room can be a designer interior because the home owner has accrued its pieces and parts over the years and has, in effect, designed the finished outcome. This would, however, be missing the point – which is that the single designing mind does so en masse, and tends to populate the designed space with items either designed by himself or herself, or sources by himself or herself.

It’s a hard trick to pull off, this designing a living space in one go. Most really cosy and comfortable spaces are built by accretion, like the home of a caddis fly nymph: which spends weeks selecting bits of gravel and sticking them to its self-designed house. To try to design a living space all at once is to run the risk of falling foul of the oldest building and decoration law in the business: if you do it too quickly, you’ll realise what you did wrong when you finish and then you have to start again.

This is why, all other things being equal, people who have a designer interior to their home tend to have let someone else do the designing. Because an external eye often has a much greater chance of defining the space in a way that makes sense, than an eye already too emotionally and financially invested in a place is able to do.

Designing a living space may involve designing an overall look and feel for an entire home (obviously with practical considerations dictated by the actual purpose of each room). Or it may incorporate a more room led approach, similar to that seen in old country mansions, where each room has its own theme and flavour. In the latter case, some quite remarkable creations may be found: and it is normally the sheer ambition of the project they embody that remains the only unifying theme between them.

In reality, of course, the everyday designed interior falls somewhere between these two. A home is an odd place – nominally defined by the personalities of the people who live there, but in reality simply a collection of rooms designed to facilitate different living functions. Designing one that flows, then, requires a mind that can overlook the mundanities of each room without forgetting what they are actually intended to be used for.

A designer interior is normally made up to embody a theme through colour, material and image. In some cases it may also employ ornaments and fittings particular to the room – for example shower headsin a bathroom or an extractor fan in a kitchen – to arrive at the style in question.

Designer interiors are normally created to impart a flowing theme to a home or a collection of rooms.

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