The Importance of Function in Design and Decorating

I’m departing from my usual blogging style with a rant/review/commentary kind of post.

This weekend, the old man and I stayed at a hotel. It was less than an hour away and we wanted a little getaway weekend. Since I booked it on Priceline, I didn’t know it would be such a themed room. It was advertised as a 4-star place with good reviews, so I figured we’d have a bit of luxury compared to hotels we usually select.

The room ended up being The Graduate and was very different than the “similar hotels” they listed before I knew where I’d be going. It was decorated very well in an academic/traditional/Ivy League kind of style and I dug it even though it’s not a theme I’d ever use in my home. I also loved that it was decorated with University of Michigan items since I’m a fan and he is a fan of that team down south. He kept turning around the U and M pillows that adorned the beds, I kept turning them back, he whined because I wore my UM t-shirt to bed, yada yada yada. Crikes, you’d think by his complaining it was his team that lost the big game this year.

The Graduate hotel Ann Arbor University of Michigan maize and blue real world decorating need for function The Decor Guru

The decor was quite masculine and traditional, but that was OK. I dug the charcoal walls with fabric wallpaper and the vintage-inspired decor. I really liked the bathroom’s glass shower, sage green subway tiles, and the sink with exposed chrome pipes. The beds were super comfy and the pillows were very fluffy and full. All of the decor in the room and outside tied together perfectly.

However, while The Graduate excelled in its attention to detail and theme, it ended up not feeling worth it for its lack of attention to function. At a hotel, my biggest concerns are a nice bed and cleanliness. I don’t need anything fancy. But when I’m paying for a higher-end room, I expect more.

For starters, the wonderfully decorated bathroom was quite small. The ceiling, while trendy, was simply those icky ceiling (styrofoam?) tiles painted black. You know, the kind you could easily push up on to move. There was a wall vent but not a fan, so some of those tiles were buckling from the moisture. Also, I’ve experienced much better shower heads in cheaper hotels. This was pretty basic.

The bathroom doors looked cool: they were two double folding doors painted black. But they weren’t entirely flush with another so there was a crack in between. More importantly, there was zero soundproofing with those thin doors. We weren’t dropping the kids off at the pool thankfully, because you would’ve heard every sound accompanied with that.

The towels were super fluffy, thick and well-stocked. However, there was only one hook in the bathroom and that was on one of the doors. Since the doors weren’t as heavy as traditional ones, it was easy for the towel to fall off while closing the door.

The TV console was a faux card catalog that housed a mini-fridge, coffee maker and ice bucket. There was a night stand in between the beds that had shelves you could place items on, but there was no dresser area for your clothing. We were only there for one night, but that would’ve mattered to me if I was there for a decent stay. There was a closet with doors that slid way too easily and made a lot of noise when you inadvertently hit the wall with them. I’ve lived in apartments that had better closet doors.

The loud noise created by the closet doors brings me to my biggest complaint: soundproofing. You could hear any and every noise coming from the hallway. You could hear the room doors being shut, the ice machine right next to our room, people talking in the hallway, and the housecleaning crew this morning. Even with my earplugs in (I came prepared), I got a shitty night’s sleep. Even with the bed feeling sooo much more comfy than my own, I barely slept.

I’d have gladly forgone all the decorative items, the nice shampoos and soaps, and the collegiate-theme for a wonderful night of sleep. I had to nap when I got home.

It’s like having a shiny piece of arm candy, trophy wife, boy toy, or whatever the kids are calling it today (although I’m sure it’s neither of those terms). Sure, they may be great in the moment, but do they really serve a function when you need something with substance?

Similarly, what’s the point of having an uber-stylish home if it doesn’t allow you to live happily and easily? For me, a perfect space comes in decorating with style and function. When I’m decorating a room, I’m also considering if the space feels livable. I believe our spaces should be personal, comfortable, and accessible—that’s my MO.

What’s your goal when it comes to decorating? What matters the most to you in how you decorate your home?

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