Where I grew up, most of my friends' homes were 'lived in.' There were family photos on the walls, mail strewn about in the foyer, and boxes of cereal on the kitchen counter. Can 'lived in' coexist with chic décor? Absolutely.
I recently read the quote below and it struck me that I've always aspired to create the 'lived in' look and feel in my designs.
“It’s not hard to make a space that looks good by itself. The trick is to craft a room that’s even more attractive when it’s occupied. That’s when it becomes magical.”— Interior Designer Kerry Joyce, Elle Decor's Quote of the Week
You can always order everything you see on a Pottery Barn catalog page, but wouldn't it be nice to feel like your home reflects your personality and you can actually live in it without 'messing it up?' One friend growing up wasn't allowed to enter their formal living room because the carpet was light-colored and the furniture had to remain pristine in case the President ever came to visit. Now, is that living?
I always want people to feel comfortable in my home: put their feet up on the couch, grab 'Humans of New York' to flip through while we chat, or notice photos and tchotchkes and ask about our latest trip. Making people feel 'at home,' but managing to show your home as attractive and approachable is a balance I love to tackle. I'll always take an occupied, comfy home over a cordoned off, pristine room.
With kids, pets, and working from home these days, we need our spaces to be designed with all of that in mind. We live in our spaces, so they should function as such. Easy-to-clean fabrics for spills, being mindful of traffic patterns around sofas, out-of-the-box storage solutions, and considering certain colors when calculating dog or cat fur all figure into the fabulous (sometimes misunderstood) 'lived in' look, without discounting great design and optimal functionality.