I really enjoyed the feature in the Sept 07 edition of House & Garden entitled "Break the Rules". Some of the most innovative names in decorating today were asked to share some violations they make to create exceptional designs. Like they always say, rules are meant to be broken! And like I say, if you are planning to break it, break it well. Well, here are some rules for you to follow.
1. Turn it inside out.
Don't be confined by what should be kept in and what should be kept out. Bring your outdoor garden chairs and benches into the living room or bedroom if you like the feeling of living outdoors.
The image below is a photograph of the famous terrace Le Corbusier designed for Charles de Beistegui in the 1930s. I think this simple image encapsulates what is trendy in the decorating world today. The terrace is designed as a large, open room, delineated by a white wall, characteristic of Le Corbusier’s purist style. On the wall is a false fireplace, complete with decorated mantelpiece, and the terrace floor is a carpet of grass. Lovely.
2. Rethink Color
If you dare, play with clashing colour combinations to make a bold statement. Clashing or contrasting colors are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. If used carefully, they provide great contrast and high visibility.
If you are one of those that need help loosening up when it comes to colour and cannot deal with a colour wheel, you can try keeping a record of colours and objects with colours that attract you. It could be a piece of fabric, a picture from nature, a magazine clipping or a card that you like. You can then extract the colours from these "inspirational" pieces for your room.
(above) Cassina's Le Corbusier chairs in red velvet pop against their complementary opposite, the lime green of this French salon's walls.
3. Mix It Up
From combining plastic with wrought iron to mixing countryside gingham with ornate gold, mixing styles seems to be defining decorating in the 21st-century. As fun as it may seem, one should be careful not to get too carried away. The trick is to focus on a a few select pieces to mix. Like in Carlos de Beistegui's dining room below, the countrified checks really stand out in a predominately ornate room and creates a powerful contrast.
(Below)The simplicity of the pink laquer top by William Switzer pairs really well with the ornate Rococo base here. 4. Tip the scale
Play with the magic of optical illusion and colour to make a small room appear big and a large room appear cosy. Use large wallpaper patterns and fabrics to make a statement about a dull piece of furniture.
Below, decorators Michael Coorengel and Jean-Pierre Calvagrac make a room appear larger than life by painting a room dark. This has the effect of making the walls and ceiling disappear, leaving the large oversized mirrow and urn-topped white column towering over a Saarinen Tulip chair to define the scale of the room.
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