Posts Tagged ‘Condo Lighting’
How to Select a Focal Point in a Room
Have you ever walked into a room where everything is virtually screaming at you? A room where everything competes for attention in placement, style, scale, color, and texture?
One of the ways to avoid that type of chaos is to understand the function of the room, make a decision about where the focal point will be located, and create surroundings that complement the main piece.
For instance, take this Dining Room I designed. Early on I decided I wanted the dining table in the center of the room to be the focal point. After that decision was made, I kept all larger surfaces in the room remain un-patterned or just slightly patterned.
The background wall is silver leafed, you can see the slight differentiation of the rectangular silver leaves, but it works as a dull mirror that helps the glass table sparkle even more.
Draperies consist of flat sliding panels of lined silk with a subtle tone on tone pattern; their unmannered design is also meant to visually reinforce the table.
The aubergine wool rug has a barely noticeable small pattern and its main function is to provide a strong contrasting color to the table base.
The light fixture consists of a curved hand-blown glass suspended by steel cables and illuminated from the ceiling by low voltage fixtures, its function is to appear like a floating leaf above the table. A heavier fixture or chandelier would have competed with the table.
The more traditional looking chairs are upholstered in solid off-white velvet and their wooden frames, slightly brushed in antique gold, were deliberately chosen to contrast with the sharp, contemporary crackled glass of the table base.
A few words to remember:
“A well designed room is one where there was a commitment made to its function, feel and style long before anything is selected.” ~EG
When I am hired to decorate the interiors of older homes, one thing I am almost always faced with is smaller size rooms. Here are some simple guidelines:
1.) Select a light monochromatic palette. Less saturated colors reflect more light and give a greater sense of spaciousness. By limiting the amount of different colors in a room, the space will feel less busy, more open and airy. Using a monochromatic palette doesn’t mean a room has to be dull or boring. Select fabrics with different patterns and textures in the same tone. In this Living Room I selected a dozen different fabrics.
2.) Try to place furnishings close to the perimeter walls. By using the perimeter space, the room will gain visual openness in the center of the room and actually create a physical sense of space. Most larger rooms have a pathway, or traveling space around the outside of seating areas, but in smaller rooms this space can be moved to the inside of the groupings and make the space look much larger.
3.) Limit yourself to one large piece of furniture. For example, use one sofa or one large armoire and complement that piece with smaller furnishings this will give the room variations in scale without making it feel heavy or overcrowded.
4.) Don’t be afraid to use an eclectic mix of furnishings. Monochromatic palettes tend to unify them and harmonize the look just by color!
5.) Go vertical. Another optical trick is to make ceilings look higher by using vertical stripes on your wall-coverings. These subtle lines will draw the eye upward creating height. By painting the ceilings in a glossy finish you can reflect more light and take the weight of the ceiling out of the room.
Remember: “Small is Beautiful.” Ernesto Garcia, ASID
A stairway in a foyer can make or break the space. It is usually the first impression a house gives to its visitors. A good stairway is like that indispensable broche on a dress or a statement tie to a suite. A stairway’s railing is one of its most important components.
Depending on the style of a home, railings can be richly ornate or simple and understated. If your railing is the focal point, the treatment used on treads and risers should complement and not compete with the railing. These railings are an airy variation of leaves and foliage and draw much more attention than the simple white floating steps. Other spaces may call for stone, wood, tile, concrete or any combination of these materials to accompany different railings styles.
This photograph shows an eclectic residence where the steps are the center of attention. I kept the railings very simple and unfussy because I wanted to create a dynamic effect on the runner by using different geometric patterns on treads and risers. That way you perceive one pattern at eye level when all you see is risers and another pattern when you are stepping on its treads. I wanted to create an element of surprise in the way the stairway is experienced.
It is important to be cautious of how much detail you use on railings and how much detail you use on the steps, because it is rarely necessary to make a strong statement with both. In this grand entryway, you’ll see there are patterns on both the railings and the steps. However since they are monochromatic, using different shades of brown, against a blank background, these patterns coexist harmoniously creating an elegant pathway that ascends through the home.
No matter the size of the steps in your home, treat them like their own space in the house. Add a focal point, add some interest, and make taking the stairs more enjoyable!
Remember: Always elegant, never boring!
“And what do we put in this corner?”
Now that you’ve moved in and made your poor husband move the furniture until his back went out, you’re dumbfounded with the empty space in the corner of the room. Worry no more Madame chaise lounge can rescue you from your dilemma. I have yet to find a room where a chaise “longue” (French for long chair) couldn’t successfully answer that question (with maybe a few exceptions).
They are perfect for master bathrooms; provided that the size of the room allows it: What better place to lounge with a magazine and a drink after a bubble bath?
What about Bedrooms? Of course. Libraries? Splendid. Living Rooms? Perfect.
This doesn’t mean you can just plop a long chair anywhere! You’ll still have to harmonize its fabrics and style with those of the rest of the room because we all know how faux pas it would be to put an elegant Victorian chaise next to a sleek Le Corbusier sofa.
For those of you who follow Mad Men, here’s the design flaw: Betty Draper’s new fainting couch (a close cousin of the chaise lounge) placed in front of the fireplace, in her 50’s Modern living room stuck out a bit from the rest of her home. All I am saying is that you can have a little bit more latitude to work with and that you can be a bit more conscious with the selection.
P.S. Don’t forget that indispensable accessory called a throw!
Depending on the scale of your home, it’s very likely that your spare bedrooms will need to serve functions other than just sleeping quarters for your guests. More and more we see them double as home offices, dens, dance studios, music rooms, or art studios. If you have ever been one of those unfortunate guests that has to sleep in one of those insufferable sleeper-sofas, the sort where the middle bar is located right under your lower back, you know all too well there is no comfortable position to catch your Z’s.
I have one word that will create happy guests and family lounging: Daybed
These are perfect for multi-functional rooms because they have several functions too! Most of the frames you’ll find in stores have a headboard, or some sort of frame around three sides of the mattress. With the proper pillows, this can easily replace that uncomfortable sleeper sofa. When sleepy guests arrive, add a blanket and you’ve got a traditional bed!
If you’re looking for a simpler solution a twin mattress and a box spring, the right assortment of pillows, bed skirt and a bedspread sized to completely cover the mattress can also do the trick efficiently and elegantly.