Monday, June 7, 2010

Design Week Day 1: Function, Facing and Mood

The Function, facing, and overall mood that you want to portray need to be taken into consideration upon starting your room. Identifying these factors will be a great jumping off point, and ease the burden of almost any design challenged room.

Function. The Function of the room is the single most important factor to take into consideration because it directly effects on all other aspects in the room (i.e. furniture, lighting, mood, etc.). Too often we place "fashion over function," sacrificing the ability to even utilize the room.

Factors to consider when identifying a room's function:
  • What purpose does the room serve?
  • How much seating do I need in the room?
  • What other furniture pieces are necessary for the room to be functional?
Once you have identified all of the necessaries to make the room functional, avoiding pieces that detract from the functionality of the room will be that much easier.

Facing. The direction the room is facing determines what kind of sunlight pours into the room throughout the day. Knowing in advance what kind of lighting will be in the room can help you determine your room's color scheme and mood.

Natural Light

* North facing: cold and harsh rather than direct sunlight. Artists choose north-facing studios because the light gives truer color rendition.

North facing tip: bright colors for north facing rooms. With no direct sunlight, a north-facing room can be a challenge — to decorate, to live in. Cheer up! The right paint color can make a dark room look cozy, or north feel like south. Christin Pittel, House Beautiful

Christine Pittell, House Beautiful

* East facing: bright first thing in the morning followed by long shadows and no sun later in the day. Use artificial lighting to control glare.

East facing room tips: For an eastern window, the morning light is 'warm' and changes to a 'cold' light as the sun moves around the house. The use of the room can have an effect - if it is used mainly in the morning, decorate an eastern room as for a south facing room or a western room as if it were a north facing room. Reverse this if the room is mainly used in the evening. If the room is used throughout the day, try a mix of warm and cold colours to complement the changing light. -via

* South facing: warm light all day, although it changes throughout the day and year. The midday sun is usually so bright it flattens everything out. Choose south-facing rooms for the kitchen, main living areas and other rooms you spend a lot of time in.

This room feels very bright and cheery in a south facing room
flooded with warm, natural sunlight.

South facing room tip: south facing rooms can handle almost every color but remember that direct sunlight will make bright colors look brighter.

* West facing: sunlight at the hottest part of the day, which can cause glare. In the late afternoon, you'll get long shadows and softer light. In westerns facing rooms, this is reversed with the 'cold' light in the morning and 'warm' light in the evening.

Feels a bit cooler and casts moody shadows. Simply, lovely and serene.
Armas Designs

Mood: the third factor but certainly not the least important, and the most fun to determine of the three. The overall mood of a room gives the room identity, life, and personality. This task can be as easy as labeling the room using an adjective: cheerful, serene, or masculine.

Now, understanding the importance of these three factors, answer the following questions:

1. What is the function of the room? In other words, what are you planning on using the room for? Entertaining, dining, living, etc.

2. What direction is the room facing? The direction of the sun and natural light coming into the room largely effects what colors will be suitable in the room.

3. What kind of mood would you like the room to portray?

Record your answers in your design journal or notes and revert back to them to assure that you are keeping in accordance to your original plan. Best of luck and stay tuned for tomorrow's design tip!

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