We are creatures of habit, and we are creatures of change. We are comfortable with what we know, and yet we are excited about the things that are new, different or unusual. In the world of design, there are endless possibilities with which to create our living space, to put us at ease with our surroundings, and to reflect who we are as a person. Designs, furnishings, styles are constantly changing, and yet how can we integrate new looks in a cost effective manner? I have found that if there is a basic structure and proportion, then change it on an aesthetic level—you can repaint a wall, change floors, add or delete furniture. It is visual.
Sometimes the easiest way to change your living space is by just changing the accessories. I call it the ABC rule– Accessorize within a Budget to Create a Look.
Window coverings, whether they be drapes, blinds or shutters are one of the most visible and striking changes to any room. They can add drama, coziness, or can modernize and streamline a space. They can even divide a room up spatially without having to add a wall. The use of fabric, color, texture all determines the eventual look. I have found that by using a simple textured fabric, combining it with fringe, interesting pleats, or terrific drape rods, a perfect backdrop is providing to the room. In the photo below, the fabric used was simple, jacquard cotton, with tiny pinch pleats at the top. The simplicity of the drapes focuses attention to the custom rose finials and bird brackets. The rods become functional and artistic at the same time. The drapes do not detract from the room, but the rods add interest and whimsy.
Another easy way to change a room’s look is just by changing throw pillows. By keeping the background simple and neutral, in this case a white chaise, it is much easier to create different looks. In the photos below, by adding a bright turquoise throw, cream fur and beaded paisley pillows, the chaise is transformed into a bright, exotic invitation to lounge. By changing the throw and the pillows to a more subtle beige and gold, you now have a sophisticated and luxurious lounge.
Pillows can be custom made in lush silks and patterns, trimmed in beaded fringes, or they can be bought at discount stores. A mixture of custom pillows and store bought will help the budget, for what is saved on a discounted pillow, can then be allocated to a custom, important pillow. The larger the pillow size, the more statement it will make. For instance, on a sofa, I like to use a large pillow (at least 21” square) either by itself, or as a pair, and then possibly 1 or 2 smaller accent pillows. The large pillows give a sense of scale and proportion. They act a as a visual anchor while providing a backdrop if there are smaller pillows.
I have only touched upon 2 items at the moment. The most important thing to remember is to decide upon a look that you want, and keep focused on that. It is always better to start out with a little less and add to it. A room is like a watercolor, it gets better as items are layered slowly on. Too much at once, and the look is ruined.