Clever Contrasts

STRIKING CONTRASTS IN DESIGN

“But it doesn’t match!”  Those are the four words I dislike the most when discussing design.  Matching sets of furniture, particularly in living areas, leave me cold. Rooms should be a composition of various textures, weight and form.  It is a delicate dance.  There are no rules.  The finished product should emotionally satisfy the eye.

This represents perfectly the beauty of contrast in materials

This represents perfectly the beauty of contrast in materials

Antique wood complimented with antique silver

Antique wood complimented with antique silver

Beautiful

Beautiful

 

The contrast of dark and light seems quite natural.  In most cases, this contrast tends to enlarge the space to the eye of the viewer.

Light contrasting with dark

Light contrasting with dark

The photo above illustrates two forms of contrast.  The light walls contrasting with the dark oil painting as well as the contrast of a formal light fixture with the aged wood of the table.

Black and white contrasts with the patina of waxed wood

Black and white contrasts with the patina of waxed wood

Two dark upper cabinets in a room of white

Two dark upper cabinets in a room of white

The task of marrying differing furniture styles is tricky.  Trial and error or referring to an eye catching magazine photo are the practices that seem to prove most effective.

Terrific combination of styles

Terrific combination of styles

English claw and foot table married with Swedish side chairs and a tufted velvet settee.  This striking combination works because the common thread is one of formality.  Yet the room is casual.  This is also attractive because it is possible to have a striking room when first making a home.  Flea markets, consignment shops, even hand me downs are possible sources for great design.  Great design does not equate to great cost.

Distressed burlap contrasts with casual black and white

Distressed burlap contrasts with casual black and white

Kitchens are another area which have recently moved away from the “same as” mindset.  Islands are often contrasted from the rest of the cabinetry by color.  This has been the initial baby step in the process of returning kitchens to the original composition of varying pieces of furniture melded together for task.

Storage need not be considered only for upper and lower cabinets

Storage need not be considered only for upper and lower cabinets

An otherwise very contemporary kitchen is contrasted with a lovely wood piece.  I have admired several kitchens which have had an industrial design complimented by one significant antique.

Clean design.  Formal fixture

Clean design. Formal fixture

Zinc tabletop contrasts with French antique

Zinc tabletop contrasts with French antique

Contrasts are impressive in small doses as well.  A table vignette, a first floor powder room, an entryway console or perhaps a dinner party tablesetting.

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Lucite and Leather

Lucite and Leather

Powder Room

Powder Room

Formal Williamsburg hurricanes against aged stone and wood

Formal Williamsburg hurricanes against aged stone and wood

Contrast on a tabletop

Contrast on a tabletop

Rustic contrasting with refined

Rustic contrasting with refined

Simply assembled...beautifully presented

Simply assembled…beautifully presented

Thoughtful contrast

Thoughtful contrast

When planning outdoor entertaining this summer, give a bit of thought to contrast.  It is an interesting way to experiment with this design form.  There is enthusiasm that accompanies a new view of design. Embrace something different, something which contrasts with what is the usual.  Try this just a bit in whatever way you choose.  Try this just a bit everyday because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

10 thoughts on “Clever Contrasts

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