Functional Design

By Lindsay Wakeman

This week I want to talk about functional design, as I think this concept is such an important aspect when designing your space. There are a multitude of ways to bring function into your space, so I want to share a few of my favorites with you. Before I start, I have to say that I think Joanna Gaines does an incredible job at incorporating functional elements throughout her designs, so I have pulled images from some of her work. Her projects are a great resource for functional spaces! 


I have always loved built in seating areas, as they are a great way to incorporate more seating without taking up as much floor space. As you can see in this living room, Joanna Gaines installed two built in benches in front of the far windows. The two areas have sconces as well, so they are also perfect for a small reading nook. In this room specifically, Joanna added the extra space for the two children to have their own play area within the room. If you look below, there is another element of functionality in the storage drawers! The extra storage can be used for a multitude of things: toys, books, electronics, you name it!

Magnolia- Joanna Gaines

Another favorite of mine is built-in shelving and drawers. You can add built-ins in any room, and it is a great way to add extra storage and display space. Personally, I find them most useful in home offices because so much needs to be stored in a home office! I love to draw and paint in my free time, so having the extra storage for all of my supplies is very handy! I like that the space still looks clean, despite having a bunch of colorful art supplies. Like I said, you can use built-ins in any room, so if you have them in the kitchen or living room, they can act as storage and a display cabinet all in one! 

Magnolia- Joanna Gaines

Lastly, I think using a slipcover is extremely functional if you have children and/or pets. You can wash your slipcover whenever you need to, so this is extremely handy when having children. It can be challenging to take on/off the slipcover, but it is worth it if you want to keep your sofa or chairs looking clean! You can see the dining chair slipcovers in the photo below. Also in the photo, you can see a built-in unit by the fireplace that stores wood. I absolutely love this idea because I think the look of natural wood is beautiful. Having the wood exposed while utilizing the wall space is a great idea! The wood contributes to the design in this space as well, as it compliments the wood beams and the doors in the far room. 

Magnolia- Joanna Gaines

I hope you are able to use some of my favorite functional design elements. There are a lot of ways to bring functionality into your home, so don’t be afraid to start incorporating some of these elements!