living room with modern home decor

The concept of “Function Before Fashion”, or vica versa, is usually confined to the world of runway models and fashion designers, but it can also help keep your house clean easily.

What is concept of function before fashion?

In the fashion world, the concept refers to choosing a garment of clothing for its functionality over how it looks. High heels are a great example. While they look good and are great for a night out on the town, you may not want to choose this type of shoe in a zombie apocalypse. A good running shoe would be more appropriate. The concept is the same for your home. I’m sure everyone remembers grandma’s sofa that was covered in plastic. It certainly wasn’t comfortable and you had to peel yourself off of it in the summer. But by golly, it didn’t have one stain on it.

This is function before fashion in home decor, although Granny probably thought it was pretty fashionable too. Now, I’m not going to tell you to cover everything in plastic, although that is a personal choice. Thankfully there are some more modern alternatives to keep your house clean.

1950s woman sitting on plastic covered couch
I think the drapes are actually covered in plastic too

Picking the right furniture

If you live alone, you may not have much of a problem with that suede sofa. But if you have a house full of kids and pets, you may want to reconsider the kind of fabric you choose for your furniture. Natural fibers, like cotton, are more absorbent. While this is fine if you can throw it in the washing machine, you should choose synthetic fibers like polyester of microfiber for your furniture in an active household. They are less absorbent. Stain resistant fabrics are even better. And stick to darker colors and patterns. They hide stains better. If you already have your dream couch, a stain resistant couch cover will work wonders like this one here.

Pick the right paint

If your white walls have stains and smudges all over them, your house is going to look dirty. Companies like Sherwin Williams have washable and stain resistant paints in a variety of colors. And ditch those boring white walls! They magnify all dirt and fingerprints. I’m not saying you have to paint all your walls black, although my Goth friends would love that. Greys and browns are the top dirt-hiding colors, but even reds, purples and oranges will do the trick. And if you really want to get creative, use a painting technique like sponge painting, blending several colors over the walls. Adding effects like this hides stains and smudges.

And whatever you do, get rid of those white cabinets. My Hoarder client loved her white cabinets because she could see all the stains on them. But I was the one who spent an hour per visit cleaning all those stains off. Best to use darker colors or wood tones for the cabinets. They are always going to be the most stained element of your house.

Pick the right flooring

Just as with the walls, if your flooring is scratched and stained, your house will never look truly clean. Luckily, flooring has come a long way from just carpet, hardwood and the yellowing vinyl your grandmother had in her kitchen. If you like the look of wood, but have pets and children scratching up the place, vinyl planks are the way to go. These affordable planks are made from PCV, which is a type of plastic, and are virtually indestructible. Not to mention they have 100s of styles to choose from.

Tile is also another option. Virtually scratch resistant and waterproof, tile is a good option in kitchens, bathrooms and high traffic areas. Look for tile with a PEI rating between 3 and 5 for the most durability. One thing to note about tile, it can crack or chip if something heavy is dropped on it. And you will want to go with a darker grout color to keep the grout lines from looking dingy over time.

If you can’t afford new floors, invest in some area rugs for high traffic areas. Keep the dark color motif going in choosing one, and I like rugs you can fit in the washer. There is a relatively new company called RUGGABLE with a brilliant two-piece rug system in which you can detach the rug cover from the pad and throw the cover in the washer. You’ll always have a clean looking rug!

Having an active household doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice having nice looking things. These tips will help you get on your way to minimizing grueling housework and giving you time to enjoy your active lifestyle.

Also, check out decor you should avoid like window blinds.

"Use the concept of function before fashion" with clean modern living room
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