I read an article in the paper this weekend where the writer claimed that the reason we compartmentalize our homes is because we, unlike people in other countries, have "learned to expect houses to be built with special compartments".
With all due respect to the writer, this is just not true.
From the dawn of creation, people of all cultures have sought, in varying degrees, to organize their surroundings. It's not particularly something we are taught to do as children either.
Some of us grew up being encouraged to keep our rooms clean and orderly. Some of us grew up in utter chaos. But there is something in our psyche that requires us to function in an orderly manner or allow us to function in any manner.
My partner is a neat "freak". Everything has to be in its proper place or he feels totally ill at ease. I like things orderly, but am much more likely to have a messy desk than he is. In fact, he cannot tolerate a mess of any kind.
It is our ingrown need to organize our lives that compels us to compartmentalize things and it plays out in our clothing, our purses, our briefcases, our rooms, our offices and our homes.
It is not a 21st or 20th century phenomenon at all.
I'm sure there were cavewomen who designated certain parts of the cave for sleeping and other parts for eating and cooking.
The writer goes on to say, "homes before the 18th century, particularly in Europe, had no special definitions. Beds and tables were set up according to immediate need. . . . From our cultural education, we create visible as well as invisible territorial markers."
It's not cultural. It's human.
The Japanese, and other cultures who live in small spaces, are keenly aware of the need to compartmentalize their homes, and do so quite ingeniously. So it clearly is not some need borne out of our large spacious homes here in the West.
Putting furniture and accessories in their proper place is the function of an interior redesigner. It is what the business is based on.
If you need training in this area, might I suggest you get Decor Secrets Revealed
, an electronic book of 25 chapters devoted solely to the subject of the proper arrangement of furniture and accessories in a room. It will teach you what you need to know and help you compartmentalize your furnishings in the proper manner, whether in live in a large or small home.