Room Design: Public vs. Private Spaces

Young Huh Unpacks How to Design for Different Rooms in the Home

Read What Young Huh Has to Say:

New York-based interior designer Young Huh discusses her personal approach to designing a home’s public and private spaces while browsing the Studio Four showroom.

“When you're designing public spaces in a home, you want to think about how guests and family will perceive or experience the rooms.” She suggests thinking about seeing public spaces through the lens of an audience.

For a private space, it’s all about the individual and letting them “feel cozy, ensuring that they experience these rooms in a supportive and delightful way.”

Key Questions for a More Public Space

The planning begins with a series of questions that Huh presents. “Do you like to entertain? Are your gatherings typically formal, or more casual, such as a night with beer and pizza?”

The answers to questions like this and others will inform your design materials.

Huh says that the materials for a public space might be “more elegant, more refined, and deliver more dramatic impact.” By way of example, she notes that “If you have really fine furnishings, your color palette may be something really dramatic that you've just been dying to use.”

Key Questions for a More Private Space

As we’ve seen recently, rooms where someone can be by themselves to have peace and to be private are in high demand.

“The guest bedroom and the private bedroom have never been so important as places where we can work, sleep, relax, or just be,” she notes.

Of the highly personal bedroom space, she asks:

  • What does it need to make you feel comforted?
  • To feel serene?
  • To feel activated?

She cites tonal rooms as a very peaceful choice for many homeowners.

“For me, I really need color and pattern, but in a very peaceful way.”

The Intersection of Private & Public: Work From Home

These days, our private and public spaces merge frequently.

“With so many of us still working from home, private guest rooms are also in some ways public spaces where we take Zoom calls,” she notes. “We have to consider in our design work: What can be visually picked up behind a client that can be viewed as a backdrop?”

When it comes to designing and thinking about a home’s public spaces versus private ones, Huh says, “You really need to decide what it is you want your guests to experience, how you want your family to experience these common spaces. And that will determine how you decorate those rooms.”

Huh notes that it’s still important to know what rooms you will conduct business in, wondering playfully if it’s safe to keep your 1980s Wham! poster on the wall. She ponders: “Do we really need to have a section for Zoom calls that is really beautiful and makes you look professional and engaged?”

All of these considerations are helpful ways to assess how you will use the rooms in your home, whether they are for collective gatherings, or more for solo soul-searching.

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