Saturday, April 7, 2012

Design Mash Up

Industrial wood pallets mix with an antique Italian chandelier and custom wrapped zinc table to create a high-low look.

Thumb through a few of your favorite shelter magazines and it’s right there on the pages: decorative tension. It’s the art form of the yin and yang that gives context and interest to the details of a home. Where rustic can meet refined and high-end meeting low-end.

So here is my perspective. Life is short, there is a lot to be enjoyed, so let’s not put limits on how we live with design.

As we find ourselves at the top of the twenty first century we have many periods and references in which to pull our design direction. Is it modern that moves us or is it 18th century English that does the trick? How about early American or a touch of the Orient? Classic or less refined? I’ve just resolved that I like them all and they have a place in my world.

Let’s just refer to this as design mash-up, noting that it does work best when following a few key principles.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one single paint color throughout your home will create the necessary continuity to let decorative objects stand out and hold their place of interest. Take your queue from an art gallery or museum where spaces are connected by unified color. It focuses your attention on the subjects and creates harmony for all that is taking place.

Don’t hold back on pattern and textures. Toss some bold, graphic pillows on a sofa or chair that need a pop of pattern. Line the back of a boring bookcase with Ikat wallpaper and pepper your floors with colorful rugs. Cover a wall with reclaimed lumber from top to bottom and create a unique focal point to showcase your favorite art.

Rethink your space by rotating furniture, artwork and decorative objects in your home. Add, take away and then add some more. Mixing periods, form and finishes can accomplish just the right balance you are trying to strike.

Last but certainly not least, a room is not a room without some old stuff. New stuff just can’t carry off the warmth or the authenticity of an antique. It does the heavy lifting in just about every situation and is the best place to invest for longevity. Family heirlooms are even better as it’s a real connection to your heritage.

Decorating is not a spectator sport, so mash it up a bit and get out there and find some good stuff! Along the way you will learn what you love the most as your curate your home-sweet-home.