Decorating to Declutter: Balancing Form and Function

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source: Patrick Q

source: Patrick Q

From the informal polls I’ve done on Twitter and while talking to friends, it seems like most mothers of young children – when forced to choose – prefer function over form simply out of necessity. However, the good news is that there are so many options out there that combine both function – such as organization, accessibility and simplicity – with style.

Having an organized, simple home does not mean that it has to be bare or ugly; it just means you consider both form and function when making furniture and accessory purchases.

A Case Study

On  the form versus function spectrum, my husband and I couldn’t be farther apart. An artist at heart, he is the one who has a vision for a beautiful modern home that offers simplicity and serenity, while  my focus is almost entirely on how our home runs and how easy it is for me to interact with our furniture and storage. While our differences may come, to some degree, from our differing roles in our family – since I work at home while taking care of our three young children and efficiency is the key to my sanity – a lot of it simply stems from our personalities.

Meeting Both of Our Needs

I think this is one reason why we love Ikea. And really,  if I start to sound like a walking commercial, know that this post is unsolicited and if you were to come visit me at home, our house would look like a walking commercial as well.

But in all seriousness, the appeal of Ikea is not just the inexpensive prices or the funky designs. It’s also due to the amazing functionality of the furniture and their focus on getting the most out of small spaces.

Maximizing Your Space

If you’ve ever visited an Ikea store in person, you’ve probably seen the displays that show how you can transform 450 square feet into a fully functional home – with a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living area – simply by choosing the correct furniture and shelving that maximizes your space.

I’m sure Ikea is not the only company with this type of focus, although it is perhaps the most clearly defined. Combined with the beautiful designs and the inexpensive prices that make it an affordable option for most people, it is a unique store that draws loyal fans around the world.

Have you been to Ikea? Are you a fan?

Do you have a favorite accessory or piece of furniture (doesn’t have to be Ikea!) that combines form and function? Tell us about it!

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

4 Responses to “ Decorating to Declutter: Balancing Form and Function ”

  1. Oh my, I LOVE Ikea! I could live there! It is my #1 go-to place for organization, furniture, etc.

    I do have to say that I have a great “find” from Staples. It is a cherry-oak colored cubby w/ 6 cubbies. I purchased two, one for our foyer to hold shoes, toys, and girls’ stuff; the second for next to my desk. (I didn’t choose Staples over Ikea, but Staples is closer and I really needed cubbies!). They were also a very reasonable $40.


  2. Michael is a big Ikea fan, but I’ve never been there. (Gasp! I know…)

    We just bought Michael a new desk. I really really really really really wanted a roll top desk, but that would be functional for him. You see, with our new desk (which is flat-topped), Michael now can fit 3 (yes, 3) monitors on his desk top. And these aren’t the standard sizes…they’re huge flat monitors. I suppose I should have expected that when I married a computer & network engineer???

    Brittany’s last blog post…First Room Finished


  3. Ok, big gasp here……….we DON’T HAVE Ikea!! The nearest one is 600 miles away, so needless to say I have never been there. Though I have perused the website and seen things in mags that I really like. My son’s godfather gave him a play rug and “tunnel” from Ikea for his bday and I was pleasantly surprised by them (and their reasonable price!). I would love to visit one day.

    As far as a form/function piece goes I can’t really think of one. We are still renovating our house and haven’t even furnished three of our rooms yet. So I’d love to hear other people’s ideas! I guess the closest thing I can think of are two maple bookshelves I have in the playroom/office. I put one on the office end of the room to store books and one on the playroom end of the room with canvas bins to store toys. So they “go together” but serve different purposes.

    Lori’s last blog post…Smooth Coupon Transaction Tips: Reader Submittals


  4. LOVE ikea!! We have one here in ATL and I’m excited to go before we move into our new house. I’ve got to get it organized! ;)

    oh amanda’s last blog post…UNICEF Relaunches Pamper’s One Pack=One Vaccine


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