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How to Prioritize with the Design Triangle | by Karen Keim


Do you have any home projects in mind for 2022? 

I do. Some big projects, some small. What’s on my list right now? Towels and sheets. Window treatments. Electrical work. I imagine I’m not the only one who has a running list of things that need done at my home. So what do I tackle when? What do I actually need? Is anything urgent? What will benefit us the most? These are the questions I am asking myself to help decide where to start and that get me excited about seeing some things from my list become reality. 

So how do you make your dream for a home project become a reality? To do this, there are three main aspects I like to consider for every home project: 

Cost—What is your budget for the project? Design Triangle Graphic

Function—How well do you need the end result to work for you? Do you need it to function a specific way or for a specific purpose? How durable do you need it to be? How long do you need it the last? 

Style—Is there a specific look, time period, or design trend that is really important to you? 

Most of us naturally tend to lean more heavily toward one aspect without even thinking about it. All three are important, but they tend to be in tension with each other. Achieving them all ideally—high function with the perfect style at a low price—is rarely possible, and only two of the three can be met. So how do you achieve the best results that you can? Prioritize cost, function, and style according to your project goals.  

Let’s presume you want to update your bathroom. Here are several ways this idea of cost, function, and style could play out.  

Cost & Function  

I like to call this the “I need this to work well” approach. Your budget is limited but you want the space to work better for you. Focus on a few key changes, perhaps a new showerhead and some big fluffy bath towels. A quality showerhead, even a multifunction one, can be reasonably priced, is easy to install, and there’s nothing like a hot, relaxing shower at the beginning or end of the day. 

2022.2 Mood BoardFunction & Style  

For the high-end, luxury approach, you really want to update your bathroom and turn it into a retreat. Out with the fiberglass bathtub/shower combo and in with a walk-in tile shower or soak tub with air jets for bubble massage. No more sharing one sink. You’re going with a vanity that has a double-sink. And while you’re at it let’s make sure the lighting is pretty and also great for doing your make-up and hair. While this renovation will be amazing, the dollars will add up. This is not right or wrong. If your goal is a high-end bathroom and it fits your budget, this achieves your goal. 

Style & Cost  

Not everyone has the budget for a full bathroom renovation. If you are doing a complete bathroom renovation on a limited budget but also want great function and style, you might splurge on a higher-end bathtub or shower and quality fixtures but save by using less expensive tile, cabinets, and countertops. A limited budget doesn’t mean everything needs to be cheap, rather it just means you need to think carefully about where you want to spend your money. 

To make your dollar stretch, consider these tips:  

  • Combine varying price points and levels of functionality for the individual product selections to find a middle ground between cost and function. 
  • Shop sales. 
  • Consider “shopping your home” and reusing items you already have. 
  • Consider used or repurposed items. 
  • Consider stock items before custom or special order items. Generally, stock items are less expensive than custom or special order. 
  • Is there any part of the construction you can do yourself?  
  • Enlist the help of family and/or friends to do the work. 

As you think about your home project list for 2022, consider what you want to accomplish and think about what your priorities are for cost, function, and style. As you do so, remember at Keim we care about your project like we care for our own. We are here to help you fulfill your dreams and goals. Visit our Project Center to explore your next project, or stop by our store in Charm, Ohio.  

From my home to yours, 

Karen Keim