How Do you Balance Style and Function in your Home?

Let’s face it… we would all love to live in a home where every element speaks to our personal style. A home that is clutter-free with scrumptious furniture, beautiful design elements with lovely artwork on the walls. A home where no matter the time of day, if your neighbor decides to pop in unexpectedly your blood pressure doesn’t spike because the house is out of order. The issue at hand is that, reality dictates our life… not our perfect fantasies.

The reality is that most of us have families, pets or even roommates. Sometimes how we would like our home to look just isn’t practical. Some of us have family members {i.e. Husbands} who just don’t understand style. Their only language is function and they just don’t get the deep need for design. Many of us have children who require toys and accessories that just don’t quite match our décor theme. We don’t want them to have to live in a sterile environment that is devoid of the playful flourishes of childhood. Some of us are the creative types and despite our dream of a lovely craft room, life just hasn’t provided that for us yet.

Case in point… I have a lovely home that is small. We have just a hair over 1800 square feet and we have a family of six. Needless to say, space is tight. We had two children when we first moved in eight years ago and it was going to be a starter home for us. The plan was after a couple of years we would move into our perfect, what we call our “thirty year home,” and live comfortably with all kinds of space for style and function. Life just hasn’t provided for that yet. Two more children have joined us and we’ve learned how to make our space work for us with as much style as possible. However, my sense of design has been forced to learn how to take a back seat in many cases. Compromises have been made for many different reasons. Here are a few examples…

We all know that I am a creative person, and creative people need stuff to create with. I don’t have the luxury of an extra room that I can store my supplies in. I also have the extra element of blogging and the need for photo accessories, props and such. I’ve learned how to creatively store them in plain sight without being too distracting to the home. I have an armoire in my kitchen that I would LOVE to use to dress up my kitchen with a display of beautiful things. The reality is that it is a great place to store my tools, supplies and photo props for WhipperBerry. I also needed a spot to collect the kitchen laundry so I found a pretty basket that serves that function. In my perfect world that would be hidden somewhere.

Another reality… I have children. With children come toys and sticky messes.

Here’s my little guy who right before I took this picture had just spilled apple juice all over his clothes. I was in the middle of a project, so I cleaned him up, but let him run in his diaper and socks until I had a chance to run upstairs to grab a new outfit for him. He’s two and can be messy at times. He also likes to have toys to play with in the space where he hangs out the most. In a perfect world I would have a playroom where all the toys are tastefully tucked away and out of sight. The reality… The place where he hangs out the most is our living room, so that’s where his toys live.


Not my ideal, but I love having my children… So, I will learn how to live with their toys.

Another compromise I’ve had to make is my living room sofa. I have the world’s ugliest sofa!!

My husband and I agreed many years ago, that while we were in the little sticky finger stage we wouldn’t buy a nice sofa. Our sofa is a third-hand, hand me down that is ugly and quite honestly gross. The problem is… our little kiddo, sticky finger {remember, we just had spilled apple juice} stage has lasted a lot longer than we had expected. My oldest is fourteen and my youngest just turned two. That’s fourteen years of sticky fingers with still a few more years left. I will just live with my ugly couch for a few more years but recently we had to do something about our flooring. It was basic, basic, low-grade carpet and took a lot of abuse.

Isn't it NASTY?!

We ripped everything out and replaced it with a lovely laminate but now I am looking for a good stain resistant large area rug for my living room.

As much as I love the hardwood look, I still crave the soft feel of carpet under my feet. I think I am going to check out Carpet One’s Resista carpet line so that I can have BOTH style and function!! Sometimes we do have to make compromises when it comes to style and function. Every once in a while we’re lucky… the two collide and we can have something that is both stylish and fits into the reality of our life.

I’ll keep you up to date and let you know what I find with Carpet One. In the mean time…

I'm curious to know, in your home, how do you balance your practical needs with your style wants?

You live your life on carpet. Make sure you have carpet that lets you live your life! For more information on Resista Carpet visit

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf ofCarpetOne. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. says

    We sound a lot alike. We also have a couch that looks quite similar to yours, but it’s oh so comfy and not in our budget for a new one. I have a husband and son who just want to live in the house, they don’t worry so much about what it looks like. Me though-I want it to look nice as well.

  2. says

    Oh, do I feel your pain. We thought we were done with the need for function and could move on to just pretty as the girls are now 14 and 12. Ha! Instead of having more kids we adopted two male puppies, less than a year a part, a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Landseer Newfoundland. The “Boys” are worse than the girls ever could have been. So we utilize indoor/outdoor rugs that can be hosed off if necessary. We have used Gorilla tape to mend the baseball stitching on the well worn leather sofa that they have climbed, wrestled and slept on. Their toys are kept in a basket in the family room and our shoes are put up out of reach.A huge crockpot that lost its lid years ago to an earthquake serves as their water bowl, with a coordinating rag rug beneath. Have you ever seen a newfie drool?! We call our house dog proofed instead of kid proofed. Don’t worry Heather, we are all there with ya! Just in different ways. Good design must be functional. The trick is making it pretty too. Your basket in the kitchen for laundry is a perfect example.

  3. says

    Hi!. I don´t have that problem anymore. I think I´m lucky to be in Spain, and when my children were little, I used to go to parks with friends and played with them a lot, we don´t have yards in here, but I do have a beach so whenever I brought my children home, they were exhausted. I hate sticky fingers, I´m a bit control freak on that, and it was forbidden to eat anything in my living room. I have a lovely kitchen, and kids could eat there anything. Balls and bycicles were forbidden in common areas of course, if you allow your children to play with balls inside the house (one of my brothers does and my sister in law has all her lamps broken), they don´t know how to behave theselves in other houses…
    I suppose my children have respected that and the living room was mainly to have important meals (at the table of course) and to watch a film together. Now, it´s perfect to talk. They are 25 and 21 now.
    Love from Spain
    I thank blogosphere that it can connect us all somehow.
    Kisses to all

  4. says

    I’m SO in the same boat, and I think most people’s houses are really more like this and less like staged photos. I have baskets EVERYWHERE to catch everything and I’ve actually sort of ended up liking the look because it looks like someone actually LIVES in our house. Baskets are my BEST FRIEND :D Toys are stored in the cupboards of my entertainment center, baskets, end tables, all over the place and in all honesty, most days they’re “stored” all over the living room floor instead of in their proper place. I’m counting down the days until I can replace my cheap carpet with some new flooring, mine looks about like yours did before you replaced it. I’ve considered ripping it up and just living with subfloor for a while it’s so bad :D

  5. Mattie says

    We all start out with the goal that “Our” house will look like a magazine lay out. But the husband,the dog,and the kids walk in to our house and it all goes out the window. We are lucky enough to have a family room with a wall positioned so that from my perfect (seemingly cold and not lived in) living room you are spared the view of the family room and Kitchen aka the “hole” as we refer to it. Where all the living happens, what once was knew is now old (11 + years). Your coach is in better condition than ours and our capet and kitchen floor need tlc. When I meet and invite over new friends I try to keep them in the living room but that never works, the toys, the dog the t.v are all in the “Hole”.It seems that children can sense or are drawn to the family room. I always cringe a little but eventually we all end up there . But given the chance to take a family vacation or redo our problemed areas in our home , family time always wins! I love your blog and how real it is .

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing this! We’re in the process of moving from a lovely, large midwest home that cost next to nothing compared to the very modest home that we can afford in northern California. I’m downsizing from 3800 sq feet to 1800 with a family of five, and the process of sorting through our belongings is a little stressful. Knowing that whatever we don’t have space for within the home is going to cost us if we put it in a storage unit is helping us keep perspective, but I’m working really hard right now to figure out how we can make our new home look like it’s not about to be on an episode of Hoarders! Too bad we don’t live closer to one another…I now have an “extra” living room set that I need to part with…and it’s chocolate brown leather! I wish I could pass it along to you.

  7. says

    I made a mistake in picking my carpet. We moved into our house 8 months ago and a bunch of renovations were done first including replacing the nasty carpets. My parents are the owners of the home and where I wanted to put in something like hardwood’s they said no, carpet. So I pick out a lovely Berber with a honeycomb ish pattern in it in a lovely light greyish cream colour. HUGE mistake. we have already cleaned it once and its in bad shape. Underneath the dining table there is all sorts of stains especially around my 2 year olds high chair. Also the carpet butts against the entry way and doorway is badly stained and dingy. We got a groupon for carpet cleaning and once we have that done hopefully its alot better but we will see.. I wont bother replacing it until its really bad as we are having more children.

  8. Danielle says

    As an interior designer and first time mom of 10 month old twins I am learning to take a chill pill. I am adjusting to chaos, but struggling, and learning to cope with my house never being the same. My husband thank goodness is on the same page as me and we are trying to limit the amount of kids toys and stuff we keep in the main living areas. We will have to just see how well we can maintain that for the next 18 years or so!

  9. says

    Wow! I can relate to so much of this post! Although I think my style is still developing because I usually have no ide what to do when it comes to home decor. I agree with you on needing rugs under feet. My husband doesn’t get it since we have gorgeous hardwood floors, which makes it hard to justify buying area rugs. Why oh why do rugs have to be so expensive!? I hate paying so much for something that I might not always like because my tastes change so much. For the prices I’ve generally found, I have to marry a rug!

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