Dramatising your interiors (because, why the hell not!)
So, I have this lovely client at the moment and we’re steadily working our way through her home. She has fab taste – let me tell you! – but just not sure how to pull things together AND she wanted to source things off the beaten track. That’s where I come in (!).
We’ve just about finished the living/dining area – here are some before and after shots!
As you can see for the shots, the room was nice when we started but just a tad flat. It didn’t need a huge number of changes, but we needed to ‘break up the levels’ by adding a pendant light of some description, swap some existing artworks around and thereby tightening up the palette for greater visual impact. We also took the (old) light grey walls to the (new) deeper, more dramatic grey. We also added a series of three textiled artworks from the Designer Boys for punch and cohesion at the far end wall.
The large painting of the woman in red was in another room, feeling somewhat neglected, so I brought her into this room – to replace the owl artwork – and tie in with the gorrgeous red ottoman and red cushions. The wall was perfect for this paingint and also helps ‘zone’ the dining area.
The house needed a freshen up paint job, so we took the opportunity to go a bit darker in this room and in the formal rooms (which I’ll address in another post down the track). We went with a Dulux colour, “Wistow” in this area. It has a bit of a green undertone which I thought would work perfectly with the red in the parquetry floor (these weren’t going to be changed), as red and green are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. Bingo! It worked a treat. When you’re in the room, the grey is lovely and warm and you don’t notice the green in the abundant natural light that the room gets. We took the clean white of the ceilings to the skirting boards and, WHAM!, it looks so fresh and modern….instantly leaving the 90s behind!
So, here are my top 6 tips that achieved drama for this room (& how you can borrow this for your home):
- Palette. Decide on the palette up front. One of my fave designers, Abigail Ahern, has a mantra (of sorts) about keeping your palette restricted for awesome impact. ANd I totally agree! It also allows you to tie together an eclectic range of furniture and artwork and lighting into a magical outcome. So, for this room, we had to work in with the existing floors, black and charcoal furniture and red ottoman (which I totes loved, by the way!). So the palette had to be Black, whites, greys with pops of red.
- Paint. It’s ok to have feature walls, but sometimes the colour dates, or it doesn’t make sense in the context of the rest of the room. In this room, they had an olive green wall with the owl painitng and a gas heater under it. The green just had to go – it was dated. Because this room has heaps of light, I knew we could go darker which makes the space more dramatic and interesting (in my humble opinion).
- Contrast. This is really important. In this case, there’s heaps of spots of contrast going on thanks to the fresh white v’s the mid grey. The touches of black enhance this. That is one of the things that make the room
- Artworks. Again, this is an area I’m passionate about and think is so important yet often, there’s not enough set aside for this important element. This is what can make the whole room sing! It can be used to tie together a palette or to set the entire scene. In this case, and because of our palette, I wanted to add additional richness to the room by adding texture. Which is why those b&w hand sewn textile artworks (from Designer Boys – I’m a stockist, so contact me if you’d like a quote or other examples) on the far wall are absolutely perfect for the space. They are beautful in their own right but, they also don’t ‘fight’ with that hero artwork of the red woman. They are in effect the support act – talented but not overshadowing the lead(!).
- Lighting. Again, bloody vital! This room is a loooong rectangle. Samey, samey, samey…..that just had to stop! Best way? To add a dramatic light over the dining table, smack bang in the middle of this long room (this one is from Herman & Herman – contact us for a quote!). It provides great light while eating (can be dimmed of course) but when you’re in eitheer the kitchen or the living room areas, you get this awesome vista. AND when you come in through the door way from the fron tof the house, you get this surprise WOW factor. I just LOVE this!
- Pops of colour. SOme people love colour and it gives others hives. Personally, I’m in the former group. It makes me super happy. So, this step is an optional extra. You can add a feature colour though artworks, accent furniture, rugs, cushions, vases etc etc. BUT….DO NOT OVERDO IT!!!! You might die if you do! Ok, that was overdramatic, but you get the drift. Work on the theory of 3’s. Here, the red is introduced via the 1) artwork 2) ottoman 3) cushions. That is enough. ANymore than that, and it looks forced and un-designery (yes, that is a word)! BTW, it can be a subtle colour like navy, but make sure you’re adding texture, texture, texture with your neutrals, otherwise the room will be blah’s-ville!
ANd there you have it. Easy breezy, lemon squeezy!
If you need help, then you know what to do (hint: call me!)