a look inside the life of Whitney

Beautiful and Useful: One Aspect of My Design Philosophy

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I decided to take a four-day break from blogging. I suggest you simply ignore the lack of a post yesterday and move on.

Today is one of those rare days where I share something about how I think about or approach interior design, art, or even life in general. I ran across this quote when I created this blog and I’ve been itching to share it.

“Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris

This can be interpreted in many different ways. I personally think that the things in you’re home should be both useful AND beautiful. Let me explain.

Let’s say for example I have a framed painting. Is it beautiful? Of course, it’s a painting. But is it useful?  Well, it doesn’t function like a table or a drawer organizer. But I do not equate functionality with usefulness. A painting is useful for many things. Filing space on an empty wall, bringing focus to a certain area of a room, adding a different color to the scheme of a room, sparking conversation with guests, the list goes on. So is it useful? Yes.

But lets reverse that. Why should a useful thing also be beautiful? And my answer to that is, why not? Why do people buy, for example, brightly colored appliances? A washer is a washer right? They all do the same thing, wash clothes. But the difference is that the person who wants a blue washer wants it not only because it washes clothes, but wants it because the color and design of it is attractive to that person. Someone somewhere may even spend more money for the attractive washer, instead of a lesser-priced washer that does all the same things but is less attractive.

That may not be the best example but hopefully you get the idea. This brings me to my point, however. When I saw this quote I remembered that as a designer I decided that anything I add to a room, whether a piece of furniture, a light, a painting, etc, should be able to answer yes to these two questions:

1)    Is if useful?

  1. Because it’s functional or serves a purpose?
  2. Because it decoratively adds to a room?

2)    Is it beautiful?

  1. Because you find it attractive? Why?
  2. Does it add or enhance the space it is placed in due to its design?

Basically, these questions help me make decisions when adding to or taking away things in my home. And I think it’s a practical approach to design as well. If I cannot find practical reasons for whether to keep something in my home or buy something that I’ve found in a store, then I keep myself from having unnecessary things, spending money, etc. It’s not foolproof sure, but it’s helpful.  Maybe you’ll find it helpful to.

That’s all for today. Your thoughts?


Author: Whitney(the)Scott

Hey there! I'm just a 30-something loving life and pursuing adventures beyond the mundane! I have a love for sharing my insights, experiences, and simple enthusiasm for the things I love!

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