The Evergreen Issue
living room with curved sofa

Following This One Rule Ensures All of My Rooms Stay Stylish

Whether you're an experienced interior designer or someone who just wants to give a room a D.I.Y. makeover, designing a space can be costly, frustrating, and at times, unsuccessful. 

Though I've always been an interiors-focused person, even as a kid, I didn't begin to really dive into the world of interior design and home curation until 2014. In the last seven years, I've learned various principles and techniques and educated myself on different styles and eras. 

And although my idea of a perfect Saturday involves binge-watching home makeover shows, I still find myself making mistakes and feeling "stuck" when taking on a home project. Too often, I aimlessly buy "cute" things, only to find myself making donations to a local shelter in hopes that the pieces I couldn't find a home for go to someone whose home is the perfect fit.

This feeling of frustration and the depletion of disposable income led to me developing an acronym that has served me well over the last year—especially as my husband and I continue to work from home and are tenants in a new space as of this past February. 

When I set out to design spaces in my home, I use the acronym F.O.M.O. to stay focused, on-budget, and true to what a room should be: beautiful and functional.

So, what does F.O.M.O. mean when it comes to home décor? Read on to find out.

F.O.M.O. 

  • Functional
  • Organized
  • Multidimensional
  • Original

...in that order, every time.  

Functional

How it Relates to Interior Design

Before determining a room's aesthetic, it's important to first define a room's function. A room's function refers to its utility, purpose, and how it ultimately serves the people using it. 

I recently tackled our laundry room in the new house. As much as I wanted to dive into Pinterest and begin to dream up the most stylish space I could imagine, I had to acknowledge the laundry room's most basic functions. 

It's the room where we not only wash, dry, and fold our clothes but enter and exit the home as well.

The Problem it Solves 

By determining a room's function first, I avoid the trap of buying a ton of cute pieces that have nowhere to go or only prove to get in the way when enjoying the space. Additionally, it helps me remember where most of my resources (ahem, money, and time) need to be going when rendering an idea. 

small laundry rooms

Courtesy of Sarah Sherman Samuel 

How to Lean Into it 

When thinking about function, I like to ask myself the following questions: 

  1. What can make this function or activity more efficient?
  2. How can I make the function of this room more enjoyable?
  3. What inconveniences am I always facing when in this room? 
  4. How will I spend the majority of my time when in this space?

For the laundry room specifically, the following needs helped guide my design process: 

  • A space for folding clothes.
  • A way to distinguish clothes with special washing instructions.
  • One laundry basket (not four).
  • A space to put on and take off our shoes.
  • A hook to hold the dog's leash.
  • A small wastebasket to throw away lint.
  • An egg timer so I don't forget to actually get my laundry out of the wash.

Organized

How it Relates to Interior Design

Once the function piece of the puzzle is solved, it's time to advance to the organization. Organization is truly the key to a comfortable home.

The Problem it Solves 

Through experience, I've learned it's best to make home purchases based around how you can organize versus making organizational purchases based around what you need to organize. For instance, I love to rearrange my spaces frequently, so any organization hacks I try aren't guaranteed to translate once I transform my space again. Inevitably, I would have extra bins and containers, or I would have to buy more organizational tools to fit the new aesthetic or home décor addition. 

For example, because our laundry room is so small, I knew I had to use vertical space and optimize the one cabinet we had. It resulted in decorative hooks, tall, skinny woven shoe storage, and cabinet dividers to help maximize space.

How to Lean Into it 

When thinking about organization, I like to ask myself the following questions:

  1. What will get the messiest in this room?
  2. How does my laziness thrive in this room? (Ie, Will I throw my coat on the ground if there is no coat hook?) 
  3. What can absolutely not afford to be lost in this room? (e.g., important mail, fragile art, etc.) 

Because of these questions, I was able to deduce the following needs in my own home: 

  • Wall-mounted hooks for car keys, apartment keys, face masks, heavy coats, and dog leashes are crucial.
  • Keeping a laundry basket nearby would be key.
  • Making room in the cabinet for all laundry needs like detergent, soap, bleach, and fabric softener is a must. (Enter shelf dividers and consolidated products.) 
  • It would need to double as our entryway, so a place for my wallet and sunglasses would also be important. 
  • I need a space to keep our recycling and trash. 

Multidimensional 

How it Relates to InteriorDesign

Multidimensional design can be interpreted in a few different ways, but for F.O.M.O., this is where form begins to meet function. A few examples of adding multi-dimension to a room include using two different tones of wood, textured walls, abstract art installations, or chandeliers.

After approximately one million home projects, I've noticed that opting for multidimensional tones, detailing, and design moments can be a better starting part if you want your design choices to go the extra mile. Often proving to be more sustainable, multidimensional pieces are less likely to get tossed with seasonal finds, and multidimensional design moments can outlive some trends that are bound to go out with style.

The Problem it Solves 

Ensuring that there is the depth or visual interest with texture or accent pieces can lift a room with little effort. Too often, we can think the solution to a drab room is more stuff when it's really just more focused execution.

How to Lean Into it 

Adding dimension to a room may sound intimidating, but here are a few questions I ask myself to spark inspiration.

  1. Can I layer any pieces together?
  2. Where can I add texture in this room? 
  3. What can I add that would be unexpected? 
  4. Is there artwork that can be hung in the room?
  5. Is there enough light for a plant?

We decided to add layered rugs; one was jute, and the other, a cream-colored woven rug. The dual textures added even more visual interest.

Originality 

How it Relates to Interior Design

At the end of the day, your space is your domain; and the most beautiful, curated space deserves elements of personality to be complete. 

The final phase is when we begin to pull things together and think about how we can make the space look and feel more like us. Perhaps a framed map of your hometown or a piece of art you found while thrift-shopping after a break-up, allowing ourselves to buck style rules and follow what feels most authentic is important to curating a relaxing home.

The Problem it Solves 

I love to focus on how I make a space feel more personalized because I've always ended up disappointed when I strived to make my home look like someone else's idea of stylish and cozy. Functionally, being mindful about personalization allows homemakers to use their own art or family heirlooms.

How to Lean Into it 

There are many ways to make a home feel more custom and tailored, and I like to ask myself the following questions: 

  1. Is there any custom art I can hang up?
  2. Is there a souvenir I can add to this room?
  3. What is something I would want in this room, trends be damned?

To finish out the laundry room, I hung up a framed map of my husband's hometown, Indiana. It's a small but sentimental touch that we pass each day.

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