Designer Brooke Anderson proves you can make a room pretty in form and retain its function.

By Brooke Anderson, Photos courtesy of Bay Hill Design.

Brooke Anderson

Today’s moments of being home more bring to light the realization of how we truly live in our rooms. The old adage “form over function” comes into play more and makes us question our living spaces more seriously. Do we want our rooms to look inviting, be styled, have a great aesthetic, be “pretty” (as this client asked for)? Or do we all want “comfort over everything else”? 

Brooke Anderson and her team at Bay Hill Design were not willing to give up either in this home they designed for their clients, who also happen to be close friends. Knowing them well, Anderson and team also knew how they wanted to live. But asking to make all things “pretty” was crucial. To that end, they went to work.

Key components to making this room work for function and beauty are 1. a mix of more traditional elements with modern touches that anyone can attain, 2. use of color mixes and 3. choosing the right materials that look great but wear even better.

1. This family has a love of antiques but also loves things more modern in nature. So we chose to mix it up and combine the aesthetic. Antiques that had been in the family for generations were mixed with new modern art and a more clean architecture style. We all have family pieces that were handed down or antiques we’ve collected. Pick your favorites, then add something new to the mix.

2. When working with the wide-open spaces of so many of today’s newer floor plans, color flow is so important. While the “all white” house is very popular, we love that color is coming back to the forefront. If too much color is a big step for you, this is the way to add just a bit. Keep the overall palette neutral/light but add a pop of your favorite color. In this room, we’ve used a neutral off-white with pops of gray and Tiffany Blue and medium wood tones. The blue shows up in the sofa and pillows as well as in the art. As we move into fall, add your favorite color as a “pop” into your all-white or neutral rooms—as a pillow, art, accessories, accent wall, etc.

3. One does not have to give up beauty for function or comfort. Anderson incorporated some key design tricks that you can use to spruce up any space.

  • Paint using a high- or semi-gloss paint. It not only gives an updated glamorous effect. It cleans up with an easy wipe and is family friendly.
  • Use washable velvets and linens. If you have a great sofa or chairs, but they are a bit tired, a way to refresh them this fall/holiday season is to re-cover or slipcover them. You can even re-buff any good piece if needed and give it new life with new fabrics. Then you can choose performance or washable fabrics.

As the days get shorter and the cooler air approaches, “home is where the heart is” has never had bigger meaning for our generation. With that, we are living larger than life in rooms that truly embrace both form and function as we usher fall into our spruced-up spaces.



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