During the coming holiday season all of us will be spending more time in our homes and the homes of friends & family. In design, the space inside every home can be divided into two distinct categories; the common areas and the private spaces. Each is essential to creating a successful home. Creating the right balance of the two can contribute to family harmony, as well as your personal sanity, especially over the holiday season!

Common areas of the home are the places in your home where people gather together.

The design of these spaces, as well as the materials, colors, lighting, and the selection and placement of furniture can contribute tremendously to the success of your gatherings.

The great room concept, for instance, has allowed us the freedom to create a more relaxed and social atmosphere to enjoy time together. Thankfully, gone are the days of the formal living room, which nobody ever uses with plastic on the furniture!

The kitchen has also shifted from being the service center, to being the social center of the home by combining the essential function of preparing meals, with a place to spend time with family & friends. First introduced in the 1930s by architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s belief that “form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union” is still very applicable to kitchens of today. Creating a comfortable place to sit and visit, with bar stools or seating, facilitates the quantity, as well as the quality of the social interactions. With this in mind, select quiet and energy efficient appliances to help you enjoy your time in the kitchen. In the long run, this investment will also help save money and our environment.

Instead of the traditional enclosed formal dining room many clients have also adopted an open concept dining area, creating a more accessible and therefore much more frequently used space. As a result of this open plan concept, we often also see a dining space in need of definition. The addition of an area rug, window treatments or a well placed light fixture can all be used to create a sense of definition and to identify the space for a more enjoyable dining experience.

Private spaces are the places where we go when we need a place to retreat and to recharge.

When you are finally lucky enough to have a moment to spare, do what you can to give yourself a reason to stay and linger there awhile. For many, the master suite has become a place of personal refuge. If you have space, add a chair or a chaise lounge. If floor space is limited, use luxurious pillow shams, cushions & bolsters to create a place to sit or read on the bed. Remember, use these items to make yourself comfortable, they are not just for show!
Ensuites can now be equipped to be your own personal spa, from massaging jets and rain head showers to heated floors and bath tub backrests. The addition of luxurious towels, beautiful accessories and candles can set the stage for relaxation. A little indulgence can go a long way to help you regain a sense of balance over the bustling holiday season!

Consider how you use each space in your home & whether you would like it to be common or private. Ask yourself if it is the best use for the space. For example, do you really need two dedicated guest bedrooms? Or would you be better served, year round, by having one double as a den for reading? Try to be as objective as you can, and ask yourself, do you have less family gatherings than you would like because you are too busy, or because your dining table only seats six? Assess and rethink each space in your home, and the ways you could enhance both the function and the feel. This process will allow you to bring out the true potential of your home and enjoy a happier holiday season.