Style vs. Practicality in Home Decorating

I had this gorgeous blue and white living room photo sent to me the other day by Serena & Lily showcasing their new product line available starting on Friday, and I immediately knew it would inspire some of the changes we’re going to make to our main floor. As mentioned on Monday, we are starting at the front of the house (laundry room, powder room and entryway), but our attention will then turn to the adjoining living room and kitchen.


Blue and White Living Room  Serena & Lily


I’ve always been drawn to light and airy interiors, but practicality always seems to win. White walls don’t mix well with the constant stream of hockey bags and backpacks in and out of the house. Teenage boys (and their friends) have a tendency to make messes and break things (it’s just their nature). Dogs, as lovable as they are, aren’t aware that laying in the same spot of an area rug, drooling and shedding like crazy, and sneezing on the nearby silk drapery is not the best idea. (That’s why they were taken down and we’ve lived with just drapery rods and, eventually, just holes.) Reegan couldn’t help it, she just loved looking out that window waiting for everyone to come home (barking at everyone else!).

Years pass by so quickly and things change. Now it’s just the two of us most of the time. Hayden is off at college and Reegan is… well, I like to think she’s off running in a meadow somewhere feeling the warm sun on her face. She is (was) a warm weather kind of girl, just like me!

As much as I miss Hayden, his friends and the sound of Reegan snoring all morning, it dawned on me not so long ago that, moving forward, our decorating decisions don’t need to be all about practicality. Perhaps style can move to the forefront, or at least play a bigger role. Of course we can’t throw caution to the wind as my husband has a tendency to spill his coffee on a monthly basis, and I eat my lunch in front of the TV when I’m by myself (there may or may not be some crumbs on the couch).

As a compromise, perhaps we’ll forgo white upholstered sofas and choose it for the walls or drapery or occasional chairs instead. It will take some time to wrap my head around all the possibilities now that our household is different.

Tell me, does style or practicality win when making home decorating decisions at your place? Any choices where you’ve been able to find the perfect balance? Any regrets?


Shauna Oberg

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About Shauna Oberg

I'm Shauna, founder of Satori Design for Living. I absolutely love decorating and organizing and consider myself extremely blessed that I am able to live my life creatively and thoughtfully everyday. My passion is facilitating transformations that inspire, nurture and fulfill ... Learn More About Shauna


  1. You are definitely in a new era for design and it’s fabulous!  I can’t wait to see what you do – I love your style – I too love airy and bright (that living room in the photo is SO dreamy!).

  2. I’m love white and airy interiors too!  My last sofa was dark, but our new very light greige sofa just arrives this week! I went with an indoor/outdoor perennial fabric slipcovered sofa (which could apparently withstand bleach) since we have two boys and a dog.  This time style won out!  Now we will see how well it holds up.  :). Happy New Year and I look forward to see me about your upcoming home projects.  

  3. oooh, I too struggle with this. I have dreams of having an all white living room with a gorg furry white rug. Ha! Not with three pairs of sticky hands. However, I agree, sometimes style has to win out. You’ve waited long enough not to choose style over practicality this time. Do it girl.

  4. A great question! With a very hairy dog, and a relaxed lifestyle, we are very practical in our decorating choices. A dark rug or sofa? Nope. Our dog is blonde. Even if it were beautiful, it would detract more from my life more than it would add because it would always look filthy. :)

    • I think it boils down to whether or not it bothers you. Me- yes! I used to vacuum all the time, yet my cousin who is the biggest dog lover I know would say, “what hair?” It’s very individual.

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