Every house has some kind of architectural interest that gives it character and personality, whether it is graceful archways between rooms, richly detailed wood moldings, or medallions on the corners of window trim and beautiful built-in bookcases. Thoughtful selections of furniture and patterns that mimic such architectural designs are a wonderful way to create a subtle, yet sophisticated thread of continuity throughout living spaces.
Here are some ideas for using furniture and pattern to underscore the architectural elements that make your home unique.
Echoing Architectural Lines
The first step, of course, is to identify those features that you’d like to play up. Take a good look at the room and then choose furniture and patterns in fabrics and upholstery that mimic those lines. For instance, your fireplace may include a gracefully carved arch design in the mantelpiece. Echo these lines with upholstered chairs that feature a similar arch or an upholstery pattern that captures the scalloped shape of the arch’s design. If the room features windowpane grids or banks of windows with strong vertical lines, repeat those shapes in a long rectangular coffee table or console. Sharp angles and straight lines are generally featured in modern decor and furniture while rounded and elaborate carvings fall into the realm of traditional design.
However, you can mix the two to create a personalized look: For example, if the straight grids and lines of the windows mentioned above are used in a traditional style of home, such as a Craftsman bungalow, using modern furniture with straight lines sets up a nice dichotomy of old mixed with new.
Touches used to play up architectural elements can be subtle or bold. For example, if your windows feature diamond-shaped panes, tone-on-tone fabrics with a diamond shape and a diamond shape in the base of a lamp can play off that feature. If you want the effect to be more predominant, add diamond pattern wall paper in high contrast colors or choose diamond pattern upholstery with a richer, more contrasted color palette.
Featuring a Particular Architectural Element
Sometimes a room has a unique architectural element that can be accentuated, providing a vehicle for bringing unusual style and charm to the space. For example, some older homes have alcoves that could be either an eyesore or an appealing focal point, depending on how they are used. One way to bring out the best in the space is to make it look like an intentional reading nook or mini study. Measure the dimensions of the space and choose a loveseat or two chairs and an ottoman that perfectly fit its size and scale. Bookcases and wall sconces can make the most of available space and make the alcove a cozy place to curl up with a book.
Or add an appropriately sized desk and upholstered chair and use the area as a small personal work space. A similar nook in a kitchen could be turned into a dining area with built-in banquette seating and table. Decorating the carved out space so that it coordinates with the larger surrounding room will actually make the entire area appear larger, while adding function.
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