interiors & styling

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions

How to Design A Cohesive Home That Flows - roomfortuesday.com We’ve been having a lot of really amazing design discussions lately, and I enjoy hearing everyone’s perspective, point-of-view, and reasoning for what you like or dislike in your home. If you’ve missed any of our conversations and full blog posts associated with touchy topics like hardwood floors in the kitchen and hanging a TV over a fireplace- to nude art… many of them can be found in this post! I’d also love to hear other areas or design items in your home you have strong feelings toward. Maybe we can chat about them in future Design Discussion posts! Click through for 10 home design topics that are usually controversial. 

I always say, the comment section in these posts is the best because they’re filled with so many interesting thoughts for or against whatever topic we’re discussing… all with valid arguments. It is pretty awesome to hear unique perspectives that may shape my design opinion in the future, and I love sharing my personal reasoning as well. Ready to get to it?

#1 // Stacked vs Side-by-Side Laundry Units

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com It turns out there are a LOT of strong advocates for side-by-side laundry units, as well as stacked. Are you teamed stacked or side-by-side? Spoiler alert- I prefer stacked.

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#2 // Hardwoods in the Kitchen

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com Hardwood flooring in the kitchen turned out to be another touchy design subject. I’ve lived with hardwoods in two kitchens and have LOVED them. I know many are worried about water damage, but I’d choose hardwoods over tile in a kitchen any day.

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#3 // Installing a TV Over a Fireplace

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com This is probably the most expected design argument… the classic TV over the fireplace debate. Should you go for it? Is it worth the neck craning? Stylistically, it looks nice. Click over to read everyone’s thoughts.

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#4 // Countertop Space

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com I had no idea so many people were passionate about countertop space. I love it! Personally, I don’t need much counter space. I usually cook in the same two feet over and over again, rather than spreading out. Where do you stand on countertop space and counter clutter?

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#5 // Shelf Styling with Books

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com Books on a shelf… there’s a concept! Haha! I discovered there are lots of opinions on styling with lots of books, keeping built-ins more minimal, as well as books facing the wrong direction, or sleeves & spines that have been deconstructed. Hop over to read about it…

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#6 // Rugs in the Bathroom

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com I thought rugs in the bathroom were a normal thing until I began receiving lots of Instagram messages about it. I’m team wool rug in the bathroom and I have a LOT of  convincing evidence, science, and style to back it up. If you’re interested in reading my thoughts, click the link below.

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#7 // Nude Art

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com We recently had a big discussion about nude art and I really loved reading everyone’s feedback. I enjoy understanding why people are for something or against it, and how it has shaped their home design or attitude. Nude art is one of those fascinating topics that people either love or hate in their home. I think you know where I stand.

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#8 // Color Blocking

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com I received a ton of positive feedback when sharing the hallway in our previous home- but there was also a lot of bad (which is totally fine… I know it’s not for everyone). From flood water comparisons (lol!) to praise on using paint in an expected way, it was fun to talk about the pros and cons of color blocking.

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#9 // Furniture Placement

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com Would you ever float your chairs in the center of a room (me: yes)? Would you ever push your sofa against a wall (me: it’s not optimal)? Furniture placement was another interesting topic of discussion!

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#10 // Matching The Interior to The Exterior

10 Design Topics That Elicit Strong Opinions - roomfortuesday.com We’ve been talking a lot about architecture lately, and this post felt like there were lots of good opinions! Should the interior of your home match the exterior? It depends…

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I’d love to hear about other things or areas in your home that you have strong feelings toward! Tomorrow, I’ll be back with my bedroom refresh outcome (click here if you missed it)– I did some textile swapping and our primary bedroom looks so much happier! I’ve also got a bonus Friday post lined up for you this week. All good things to come! Happy Tuesday.

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    February 16, 2021 at 4:51 am

    Good morning! I remember each of these discussions. I, too, find it fascinating to hear everyone’s thoughts. As a person who can sometimes confuse her own opinion with fact 🤣, reading a variety of perspectives develops my mental flexibility. Also, I enjoy discovering what others consider controversial. At the end of the day, most (all?) domestic design topics really do boil down to personal preference. Isn’t it nice that we get one space where we can always get our way? (Unless, of course, we share the home with another opinion-having human!) Here’s to a controversy-free Tuesday! I’m excited to see your bedroom refresh!💜

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 16, 2021 at 8:19 am

      They’re so intriguing! I’m with you on confusing my own opinion with fact (lol!), these posts challenge me to think outside the box. It’s also interesting to me what people consider controversial ideas in a home (like nude art), and why strong opinions are associated with certain design elements. Stacking a washer or dryer was a BIG touchy subject, I quickly learned. I never would’ve imagined so many to be passionate about laundry units, but here we are. Haha! You hit the nail on the head- at the end of the day, design is all personal preference. It’s just fun to learn about why people like or dislike things in their home. A house tells the story of its inhabitants, and that’s something special! I’m about to photograph the bedroom right now. Hope you’re having a happy, snowy Tuesday and the dogs are enjoying the fluffy stuff!! xo

  • Reply
    Paige
    February 16, 2021 at 6:25 am

    I love the drama! Hearing all the diverse opinions forces us to think outside the box and consider another viewpoint. If only that were permissible in areas outside of design these days….anyway, a homes layout and function can change how you think dramatically. I never would have considered a stacked washer dryer in one house, but in the next it was a game changer. In our new house I designed the laundry room with no cabinets or shelving. I want to live in the house for a bit and then decide what I need. Also installing a tv over the fireplace, that was a hard pass until this house.

    I love how you tackle all these topics and don’t let differing opinions deter you.

    • Reply
      Sally
      February 16, 2021 at 7:07 am

      Yes! This is the crux of anything like this – being prepared and able to change one’s mind according to the specific situation. Of course, if designing a home from scratch allows one to totally follow one’s innate preferences, that’s great, but generally we all have to adapt to the quirks/limits of our homes.

      • Reply
        Sarah
        February 16, 2021 at 8:13 am

        Great points, Sally! I’m always shifting and adjusting my design plan as we renovate, and as we come across the unexpected. You know where I said on adapting to the limitations or set aesthetic or architecture of a home!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 16, 2021 at 8:16 am

      I dislike drama, but do love listening to all opinions and viewpoints outside of my own. I’m a firm believer that’s how we grow (and I grow as a designer)! I totally agree with you Paige- certain homes call for different things and listening to our homes is a big part of the design decisions we make in them. I think living in a space and seeing what works or functions is a smart move prior to renovating. You’ve certainly got the right idea :) It all depends on the situation, your personal preferences, and what feels best for your house and the family living under its roof. Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Laura
    February 16, 2021 at 8:06 am

    I love hardwoods in a kitchen too and the TV over the fireplace I think is *only* acceptable if it’s a frame TV!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 16, 2021 at 8:11 am

      Team hardwoods in the kitchen, Jennifer! :)

  • Reply
    Lauren
    February 16, 2021 at 8:43 am

    I have enjoyed this series thoroughly! Reading the comments on these posts is probably my favorite part. I enjoy hearing what another’s preferences are and how they came to that decision. I agree with Paige- inevitably most people are working with what they have, and certain decisions might make sense for one home, but not another. I’ve certainly run into quite a few instances with this house where I’ve been forced to change my mind on something, simply because it makes more sense for the space. I enjoy seeing how our homes can force us to evolve over time, and I also love hearing about how other people use their homes. Interesting topics! I’m looking forward to seeing the bedroom refresh. A bonus Friday post??! You shouldn’t have, but I’ll gladly be here! Happy Tuesday!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Same here, Lauren! But let’s be real- the comment section is always my favorite part of any blog post. Haha! I liked your point that a home can actually force us out of our comfort zone and help our style evolve based on its specific needs. I’ve never thought of it like that, but it’s true! Friday’s post is a casual linen drapery tutorial (as seen in our bedroom today). Happy Wednesday! xox

  • Reply
    Danna F
    February 16, 2021 at 9:05 am

    These topics have been some of my favorite Sarah. I’ve learned a lot and even changed my mind about a couple of things. I never considered stacking our washer/dryer till I saw your laundry room. Using a wool rug in the bathroom never crossed my mind; or hardwoods in the kitchen because they both were in rooms with potential water spills. You presented it in a way that made me rethink some things and opened up my mind to other options.
    Since we are selling our home, I am amazed at the strong opinions of some things to add, remove, leave, etc. One being carpet on the stairs instead of faux wood, tile, etc. A second is painting all the rooms gray because “everyone likes gray walls”. So I painted it a creamy white. Third, I found a cement deer head that hangs above our fireplace years ago. Joanna Gaines actually has the same one in her home. We made the decision to remove it as to not offend anyone. Lastly, I love brass and its return to fixtures, hardware, decor. Some view brass as only an 80’s vibe that dates the home. Trust me when I say, I went back and forth multiple times on whether I should remove our new dining room light (from Rejuvenation). Unless you follow design and home trends one would not know that brass has made a comeback. So hence my fear of one seeing it as “dating a home”.
    I did have one more thought. How about not adding a dining room into a new home? We are very much considering not having one but having the option to add more seating for holidays, parties, etc in our kitchen. Our dining room doesn’t get much use and seems a waste of square footage.
    Again, I enjoy this topic and look forward to reading other’s opinions and thoughts. Can’t wait to see the updated bedroom and all the new goodies in your shop! Stay warm.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      Mine too, Danna! I love that you went with a creamy white paint color. It sounds like you’re doing all of the perfect things to get your home ready for its next buyers. It’s always such a bittersweet chapter! Great question on the dining room. I think as long as you have a dining “space”, a designated room isn’t really needed. That could look different for many families or homes- a breakfast nook, banquette seating, a large island with seating, etc. I don’t think it’s necessary as long as there is someplace to sit and eat. That would make for an awesome Design Discussion post, thank you for sharing! xox

  • Reply
    Becky
    February 16, 2021 at 11:34 am

    I prefer a stacked washer and dryer because I live in a small house with a teeny tiny laundry room. BUT, even though we bought a brand new washer and dryer, those things broke about 5,437 times! Each time they broke, we had to pull them out and they were super heavy because they were stacked. Most times we had to unstack them to get to all the panels and then restack them. They’re heavy, unwieldy, and a pain! We finally got rid of them, bought a different brand, and have left them side-by-side.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      Oh no! We haven’t had any of our laundry units break (knocking on wood over here), but that sounds like just a pain. Sorry you had to deal with that, Becky!

  • Reply
    Colleen
    February 16, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Happy Tuesday!
    I certainly do love a good design debate and considering options I may have never conceived, which is why I love your blog so much Sarah. I remember all of these posts and they were all so enjoyable so cool to create one post to stimulate once again some very good ideas and thoughts. So here I go:
    1) stacked washer and dryer versus side by side-honestly I lived with both and due to space constraints they both have worked quite well for us. We currently have side by side in this home and I couldn’t live without pedestals for these units. They make doing laundry so much easier for me and function so much better being elevated, plus the storage they provide has been fantastic from an organizational prospective.
    2) Love hardwood in the kitchen. Our last home had hardwood and it was beautiful. Did we scratch and ding it? You bet but we did everywhere else in the house too. We lived in that house for 15 years and a little water spill from time to time wasn’t a problem for us. We never encountered a flood or had any major issues so it worked out wonderfully for us.
    3) I never have installed a TV over a fireplace and to be honest it’s not my preference but if I were constrained on space and had no other option I would embrace it. Especially with the Samsung Frame TV, it would be the perfect solution for us. We finally got our frame and we love, love, love it. Artwork by day, TV by night. It’s an awesome solution for consideration in my opinion.
    4) I love lots of countertop space. Haha! We have a galley style kitchen, with two very large windows so we don’t have many uppers but our counter top space is awesome and functions the best for hubby and me. I like separate cooking zones and spreading out. Lol. Plus when my husband and I cook together we each have our own zone so we don’t get in each other’s way. In our last house it’s was completely different and we hated cooking together. Now we love it. We both have enough prep space and it’s glorious! However, we do have less storage but we paired down all the extras and we have everything we need. We realized we had too much stuff that we weren’t using. So for us it’s fabulous!
    5) we have never been blessed with such dreamy bookcase storage Sarah but if we ever do it will definitely house all of our books and most precious objects. I love, love your custom bookcase and it’s styled to perfection!
    6) I love rugs in a bathroom but for our home it has to be washable. There is nothing like a cozy rug to step upon as you get out of a bath or shower but my preference is a cozy, cushy rug I’m able to wash on a regular basis. The wool rugs I admire in your home and so many pictures are stunning but just wouldn’t work for me personally but I do love the look. Can I get the look and be able to throw it in my washer? Then that would be something that I can definitely get on board with.
    7) I’ve never had nude art and always admired in an art gallery setting but never considered for our home. Not sure why, I think in a bathroom or bedroom would be the perfect rooms to display such timeless beauty.
    8) I personally love color blocking and the hallway in your last home was stunning and so very creative. I’ve seen some gorgeous applications of color blocking, my favorite being an ombré effect on a staircase that I will never forget and the magic of paint is awesome.
    9) I have floated chairs in a room and also put sofa against a wall and liked both depending on the size and orientation of a space. I kind of know it when it works and when it doesn’t in a space.
    10) I’m indifferent in matching an exterior with an interior or vice versa. First and foremost a home has to be functional for my family so that is of the utmost importance to me. If it matches great if it doesn’t Im cool with that too.
    So there you have it, all my thoughts on all very interesting topics 😉

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2021 at 12:00 pm

      Yesss!! I love that you made a list, Colleen :) You’re speaking to my list-making soul here. I had so much fun reading through all of your preferences and why. We are very likeminded- it’s no wonder we’re friends. Thanks for taking the time to share and for your kind words. As always, I’m so appreciative! xox

  • Reply
    Kristie Baysinger
    February 16, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    You’re seriously my favorite!!! Literally I have almost all of these in our new home. You know I love your kitchen, which was why I literally copied you on 95% of it. I also love my stackable W&D. This was my first time having them and I’m in love! Hardwoods in the kitchen, floating furniture, books (I prefer hard bound without jackets & in my last house had only white books, this time around I’m adding more color, but always sticking with hardbounds.) I also love rugs in bathrooms and had a tv above the FP, but this time I’m trying art since we have a dedicated movie room. Another good one would’ve been rugs under the dining room table, which I also am a fan. 🙌🏻 Great job lady!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 17, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Aw thanks, Kristie! I’m so flattered! It sounds like we’re design twins with the same preferences :) I love your idea to chat about rugs under the dining room table next! I am also a fan of that, but I know many people are not. That can be our next one. Hope you’re having a great week! xo

  • Reply
    Brittany
    February 16, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    You’ve def changed my mind on hardwoods in the kitchen-well, actually more like educated me on it. I imagine I could get away with not having the anti-fatigue mats I have now on the tile floor. I’d be willing to do them except that I’ve always wanted to have stone floors like in England that are like hundreds of years old 😍 I just can’t quit that dream. I’m whatever works on the W/D, but what the other commenter said about having to move them to fix them sounds like a major inconvenience, so that would influence my decision there. But the look of them stacked is pretty cute. I’ve got a small topic that might not elicit much response, but at the risk of sounding dumb I’ll bring it up. I’ve never been able to understand how people do dishes in a one basin sink. Like literally could not work it out in my brain. 😆 The farmhouse sinks are cute, but I just didn’t get it until I recently learned (I’m 37) that people just keep the water running! First, it sounds wasteful, but also aren’t single-basiners (?) missing out on the whole letting dishes presoak in the hot sudsy water which actually helps you save in scrubbing? If I’m wrong please educate me! Still I prefer my two, stainless steel basins. 🤪

    • Reply
      Danna F
      February 17, 2021 at 10:59 am

      Brittany, I am 100% with you on double kitchen sink. I hand wash all our pots and pans and like to run hot water with soap to let me them soak for awhile. I’m hoping there is a large double sink option out there for our next home.

  • Reply
    Ann
    February 17, 2021 at 1:22 am

    I wish you’d explain the new trends I see of placing nightstands pretty far from the bed and having the lamps on the outside edge of the nightstands; I don’t understand how people can comfortably read in bed, or turn the lights on and off. Don’t understand why you’d put the coffee table so far from the sofa that you can’t put coffee (or feet) on it; why is it now the trend to float the coffee table in the middle of the room? And I truly don’t understand the hatchet chop on decorative pillows, or why people want so darn many of them on their beds. Where do you stash them at night?

  • Reply
    Cate
    February 18, 2021 at 11:35 am

    For me: laundry machines are fine either way, as long as I can reach the upper controls; hardwoods are great everywhere; shelves are for storage, not styling; rugs in the bathroom are great; all art is thumbs up for me; color blocking, furniture placement, and interior/exterior all depend on the space.
    That said, if I were in the home of someone who thought differently, the house would probably be great, and I wouldn’t be bothered.

    BUT: if the countertops were cluttered, I … I might clear off the countertops for them. Like, it would be physically painful to me to see functional space used for decoration.
    Too many years working in kitchens, I guess.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 18, 2021 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks for sharing all of your preferences, Cate! It was so fun reading them. I’m guilty of styling decor on the countertops because we have plenty of room, lol! My kitchen may drive you nuts ;) xo

  • Reply
    Darcie
    February 25, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Love this roundup! I had to check out the TV over the fireplace post, because my husband and I are house shopping and he has such a visceral reaction to homes with outlets over the fireplace for a TV. It seems like most new builds with fireplaces do this now, and he hates it! I agree with all of your thoughts on the subject and your preferences in the example photos. Love how you did the green behind yours when you had to install it over the fireplace… a darker color like that can definitely help it blend in better, and it made your much more attractive mantel stand out. Having a separate room altogether, though, makes that living/sitting room so much more relaxing and focused on people, a good book, the fire, or some cuddly pups. These days when it’s too easy to plop down in front of Netflix during any spare or bored moment, I love the idea of having that separation.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 25, 2021 at 4:17 pm

      It has definitely become “a thing” in new builds, and I can see why your husband is hesitant. Congratulations on house hunting, by the way! That is so exciting, Darcie :) I hope you two find something you both really love! I also like the idea of having some separation with the TV in certain rooms. I’m guilty of turning on the TV because it’s in front of me and feels like a nice “break” when I could be doing something else- talking a walk, reading, whatever. Thanks for the fun chat!

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