must they be adversaries?  – Lake County Record-Bee

must they be adversaries? – Lake County Record-Bee

Must they be adversaries? Remember when those “ergonomic” chairs first appeared on the scene? Kind of like the original teeth braces to make one more beautiful, at the price of ugly!

While Interior furnishing and equipment design has come a long way from Yikes! to really nice, the marriage of Beauty and Practicality will probably remain a legitimate challenge for Interior design. And, many new challenges have been added to the list.

Practicality, of course, relates to function and function is not primarily driven by a goal for beauty! The function driver is about getting a job done. Or, providing the means, the environment, the set up, the convenience and the opportunity – to get the job done.

Your professional Interior designer is tasked with achieving the appropriate prioritizations when designing your Interior environment’s practicality aspects with considerations, as well, for beauty. Beauty has many aspects, degrees, dimensions and perceptions – and, of course, is ultimately still in the eye of the beholder!

Interior design’s responsibility spans multiple aesthetic responsibilities. A potential client can certainly settle for the plunk, paint and DIY approach! But, if that individual does decide to become an actual Interior design client, you can count on their escalating expectations!

Interior designers love a challenge – and beauty vs practicality is a good one. Gorgeous, lush, white carpeting might be on your dream list – but with kids and pets? Trust me, there are ways to meet aesthetic dreams with surprising pragmatic alternatives.

Just as those early ergonomics have evolved to more appealing versions, many strides have been made in other aspects of Interior design where practical, functional necessity is required and where beauty is desired.

Just look at previously cumbersome necessities such as AC and heating units – with all their bulky ducts and pipes and noise! Comfort without chaos in today’s Interiors – residential or workplace – is simply a given. Chalk a big one up for beauty and the beauty of comfort.

A big enemy of beauty, simply, is wear and tear. Much more fragile materials, archaic maintenance and cleaning methods made for shorter durability, more frequent replacement and a resulting increased cost. And, dubious durability certainly did not serve to sustain beauty!

In many aspects of Interior design projects, your professional Interior designer today has a range of choices that in no way compare with even 30-40 years ago. Materials – natural and synthetic – have evolved in both aesthetic possibilities and durability. You, the client has a range of choices that present countless opportunities for the marriage of beauty and practicality. Seldom, in today’s market, does a choice have to be made between them.

Today’s Interior design projects are exposed to broad ranges of possibilities that combine practical product sustainability and affordability, without sacrificing beauty, variety and maximum aesthetic appeal.

The eye of the beholder! hmm. When that eye belongs to an Interior designer’s client, the responsibility of that designer becomes a unique task! First, as any professional, your Interior designer wants any completed installation to accurately reflect their experience, skill, knowledge and talent! But, that finished project must primarily reflect the Vision that the client hoped (and paid) for; ie the functionality and beauty as they perceive it!

Therefore, it would be difficult to over-emphasize the importance of clear communication and thorough exploration of the client’s thoughts, ideas, suggestions and expectations!

Beauty and Functionality must converge to fulfill the Vision that was discussed, strategized, planned and contracted at the beginning of the Interior design Project journey.

Robert Boccabella, BFA is principal and founder of Business Design Services and a certified interior designer in private practice for over 30 years. Boccabella provides Designing to Fit the Vision© in collaboration with To contact him call 707-263-7073; email him at or visit or on Face Book at Business Design Services.

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