“All designers love pretty fabrics and wall coverings, but interior design is so much more than that,” our friends at Beth Haley Design in Nashville, TN, recently reminded us. And we agree. A house truly becomes a home when it is functional and comfortable. Whether you are moving into a new space, or just want to learn to love your old space again, take the advice of these designers on how to make any area functional, livable and pretty. Transform trouble spots and update areas of your home to make your daily comings and goings a breeze, to get a handle on your kids crafts and toys, and to be a better entertainer.

Tip #1: Organize entryways in a way that works for your family.

Having an efficient entryway is mandatory for families of any size. Reclaim the real estate from these often-cluttered areas by adding a bit of organization. From narrow spaces and small entryways to large areas that act as a dumping ground for your family’s belongings, readjust for maximum efficiency.

A functional mudroom

The designers at Beth Haley Design made the most of a narrow hallway that provides access to the backyard and garage. With the addition of cabinetry, storage and a sink, it has become a spot for washing the pets, arranging flowers, storing dog toys, food, leashes and whatever else might need a space. Having a variety of storage options (hooks, baskets, open spaces and closed cabinets) maximizes the functionality for homeowners. Many thoughtful details make this space functional and beautiful: the cabinetry extends to the ceiling, taking advantage of often-wasted space; the barn door, a space saver, leads to the small powder room; and the leather-honed, chiseled-edged, granite countertop was continued from the kitchen and pantry. Image: Beth Haley Design

Entryway spaces can get easily cluttered - so creating a system for dropping keys, shoes, jackets, etc, becomes necessary. We always encourage a place for mail, baskets for seasonal items such as mittens, hooks for keys and jackets, and a place to sit while you take on and off your shoes. High-trafficked spaces require an additional level of effort to maintain, so having a system in place helps tremendously.

The gray-and-white hues of this space designed by The Home Edit, a Nashville-based home organization company, make the room feel larger and cleaner. The orderly organization and minimalist design give storing the family necessities a touch of glamour. A systematic approach to storing everyday items becomes a necessity if you are looking to avoid lost hours searching for your keys or your daughter’s left shoe. “We always encourage a place for mail, baskets for seasonal items, such as mittens; hooks for keys and jackets, and a place to sit while you take off and put on your shoes,” explains Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit. “High-trafficked spaces require an additional level of effort to maintain, so having a system in place helps tremendously.” Image: The Home Edit

Small entryway organization

Even small entryways can make use of props — bins and baskets — not only to help eliminate clutter, but also to add visual interest to the space. Ashley Rohe of Ashley Rohe Home suggests using baskets and bowls of all sizes and varieties in entryways so there is a catchall for the clutter from the day. Image: Ashley Rohe Home

Tip #2: Everything has a home, even if it isn’t behind closed doors.

It is often a parent’s first inclination to put away toys so they are out of sight. But these two designs by The Home Edit will give you confidence to showcase children’s items in ways that won’t give you a headache.

Craft room organization

“We use products such as floor bins for large groupings, acrylic dividers for activity books and paper, and caddies/containers for individual materials. For an extra design element, pick the best projects and display them on top,” Clea and Joanna advise on how to organize a cluttered space. Image: The Home Edit

An organized playroom

When selecting baskets for a child’s room, craft room or playroom, allow them to fall in line with the design of the space. Then, keep the boxes and bins orderly by sorting and labeling. “For very young children, you can use a picture instead of a word so that they can participate in putting toys away,” Clea and Joanna suggest. Image: The Home Edit

Tip #3: Always be prepared for visitors.

If your home is often the spot where friends and family gather for dinners, drinks and a good time, allow it to function in a way that works while your guests are there — and after they leave. “After all, you never know who might stop by,” Chad James of the Chad James Group reminds us.

Buckley - bar

Beth Haley Design suggests the addition of a bar for entertaining enthusiasts. By modifying existing cabinetry, adding a fridge and sink, and updating the look with tile, wallpaper, lighting and shelving, they were able to create a space that was noninvasive, yet holds interest. “We transformed the small space into something special by adding character, depth, visual presence and function,” Beth Haley says of the design. Image: Beth Haley Design

Seating area

Another wise design tip is to ensure that your space has ample seating. For a client of Chad James Group, it was pertinent to incorporate social seating wherever possible. This need drove the decision to transform the back of a hallway into a small sunroom with seating and hidden storage. Image: Alyssa Rosenheck

If space is at a premium, I will custom design a coffee table around a comfy ottoman for additional seating so that they can be tucked in underneath the coffee table when not in use. - Ashley Rohe

You can also incorporate seating into a well-used space in a practical manner, as Ashley Rohe shows us. One thing she has learned is to make the most of any space. “If space is at a premium, I will custom design a coffee table around a comfy ottoman for additional seating so it can be tucked in underneath the coffee table when not in use,” she shares. Image: Ashley Rohe Home

A functional space is a comfortable space, and by incorporating these three simple tips into your home, you can achieve the best of all worlds — comfort and beauty all at once!

Thank you to Beth Haley Design, The Home Edit, Chad James Group and Ashley Rohe Home for sharing their expertise for creating a home that is multifunctional and aesthetically pleasing.