Function or Form ... Which Came First?

Designers inherently seeks solutions for decorating and design dilemmas.

On a macro level, for example, designers will delete or move walls, in order to improve a space and enhance it’s functionality. On a micro level, designers will shift their thinking process and often repurpose an item to solve a design or decor quandary. It’s not exactly reinventing the wheel, but it is often about transitioning the look of the wheel, or how the wheel works in relation to it’s surroundings, that promotes more uses for said wheel.  

Which begs the question…what came first, function OR form?

Some ‘outside of the box’ design and decor solutions are transitioned from existing items, while others are newly bought and reimagined to suit the job requirement. Either way, these solutions required a certain amount of imagination, creative thought and sometimes patience.

In my own home and with my LUXURY TRANSITIONS clients, my stubbornness to summon a creative and functional solution for pressing design problems, has lead me to seek inspiration from items that are both designed strictly for their specific form, as well as items that are functional, but designed for an entirely alternate purpose.

The following photo galleries highlight some of LUXURY TRANSITIONS recent decorating solutions.

My grandmothers’s dressing table is a treasured piece of furniture that has been repurposed into an upper hall desk and then into a cottage bathroom vanity. I prepped and painted, then added Murano glass drawer pulls to transform Gramma’s dressing table into a new, vibrant and different function. These transformations were not only emotional decisions, but one solved an empty space /small storage issue and the other solved the expense of buying a bathroom vanity and counter for a bathroom renovation.

An antique t-towel holder has been repurposed as a scarf holder. Not only does this new use provide a hanging system that virtually eliminates the scarves from creasing, but the scarves are easily visible for sorting and readily available to wear.

As I have often mentioned, various sizes and heights add interest to accessories and functional displays. A turquoise cake plate was bought purposely to elevate and display an assortment of bottled perfume. Will this plate ever be used to serve cake? Who knows.

A couple of mismatched pieces of vintage glass; a Cornflower creamer and sugar holder, and a Danish set of cobalt blue creamer and sugar are placed together on the kitchen counter to hold dish soap and dishwasher pods. An unexpected solution, which adds interest, colour and functionality.

Above, you can see how faux coral and Sputnik ‘Object d’art’ , forms designed specifically for decorative use, can be transitioned into functional art … ie: ring holders. But the dish rack on the bottom R photo, which has been designed with a specific function, can also be used as a ring holder.


Vintage mason jars designed and used for canning food, are repurposed as button jars. Each jar has a colour theme which makes the vignette in the sewing room not only interesting, but functional as well.

Often worn jewelry gone wild and out of control is corralled into various sizes of vintage pink depression glass bowls on the bathroom vanity. Adding to the depression glass theme, a french milled bar of soap rests comfortably on a different pattern of pick depression glass, on the same bathroom vanity.

In a previous incarnation, I wrapped an antique expandable skirt form with LED lights on copper wire and added red pom poms. It served as a small Christmas tree, in a very tiny condo.

Later on, the same skirt form was dressed in colourful necklaces, creating a contemporary 3D piece of art, not only for display, but for ease of use.

Call it what you will … ‘reinventing the wheel’, ‘thinking outside the box’ or ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ … designers and decorators will not only sacrifice form > for function in order to achieve their goal, they are masters at reinventing, disguising and repurposing all manner of paraphernalia.

Please feel free to share in the comment section below, or on my Instagram and Facebook pages, how you have solved a problem and transformed an existing item into a functional decorative item.