Tips for the Slow Home: Creating Functional Spaces

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Making your home, or even one room, function for the purpose you’ve identified isn’t about spending tons of money to overhaul your space; it’s more about being thoughtful about how you envision your space to function. Yes, you might need to purchase a sleeper sofa if you want your office to double as a guest room, but generally you can work with what you have. You just need to spend a little time and energy making your space function again…

Function: Determining how you want to use your space is the first step. Are you yearning for a space to kick back and relax in or a more functional living room for entertaining? Maybe you need your spare bedroom for guests and your home office? Go sit in the room in question and dream up its possibilities. Make a list and be honest with yourself when answering the question: How do you want to use the space?

Organization: Getting organized is the first step to creating a functional space. Whether we’re talking about your living room or home office, organization is top priority. Even if you don’t yet have the storage space in the room under consideration, put all the items in that room that will assist the function you’ve identified. If you want to use your living room for entertaining, don’t store your bills there. Once you’ve grouped your belongings by function, move on to the next step.

Edit: Pare back the belongings you’ve been meaning to for months, recycle your old newspapers and magazines and put away the items that remain. When paring back, be ruthless. If paring back is a problem for you, check out the Living with Less series. It should help put you on the right track.

  • Week 1: Setting the Agenda
  • Week 2: Clothes and Coat Closets
  • Week 3: Linen Closets
  • Week 4: Incoming Mail & Electronic Files
  • Project Update: Reader Suggestions, Questions and Comments
  • Week 5: Home Office and Files
  • Week 6: Books and Magazines
  • Week 7: Medicine Cabinet & Toiletries
  • Week 8: Kitchen, Cooking & Baking Ware
  • Project Update: Readers Suggestions, Questions and Comments
  • Week 9: Kitchen, Dining and Serving Ware
  • Lessons from What We’re Living Without

Space Planning: A Slow Home strongly considers space planning. The way you lay out your room should support its function while also creating good flow.

Lighting: Proper lighting in a room so important to make it properly function. There should be various points of light throughout a room, some supporting individual activities like reading and others giving general illumination.
• The Spring Cure: Light Therapy

Comfort: Does your space exude comfort? If it doesn’t, why not? Maybe you should add a few throw pillows or hang artwork. Do you need to soften your space with an area rug? Area rugs can be great because they not only warm up a room but they can also be used to delineate a space’s functions. If one area of your main living area is intended for dining and the other is for couch lounging, place a rug under the couch and coffee table to separate the space.

(Image: Landis Carey)