The design rules that are meant to be broken

Kya deLongchamps debunks decorating myths that can cramp your creative style.

Decorating? Truly terrified? Let’s get some of the dated, purely fashionable, aesthetic nonsense straight out of your creative way.

Blue is cold (bunkum!)

The influence of any one colour comes from the sum total of all the significant colours in the room. Cold is cold, blue is not physically cold, red is actually cooler in scientific terms.

In a well-insulated 21st century house you can paint all the rooms any colour you want without an overtly freezing visual impact. This season’s colour is all things blue, from chalky birds’ eggs shades through to melodramatic indigos. Dismissing blue for even a north facing room with its lighting challenges addressed and inhabited at over 20c — you might be missing out.

Vintage lover? For mid-century, sky blue rocks. Determinedly pale blue, turquoises and even an icy blue recede just like white, expanding space and in psychological jargon are calm in the bedroom and ‘read’ clean in a bathroom or kitchen. They are far easier to gel with other colours than deeper red-based jewel blues, which take more foresight. Layer jewels on fragile blues and dive into green inhabited peacock blues — fabu-lous against soft grey walls.

Gorgeous new season:

Dock Blue in Absolute Matt Emulsion, from Little Greene — pale bare woods look so fantastic against handsome navy; littlegreen.ie.

In papers and fabrics, add some platinum shine in damask gingko leaves and ferns complemented by fascinating degraded upholstery finishes (think foxed mirrored glass), with Harlequin Studio’s brand new Lucero (Star) and Seduire (Seduce) for walls, windows.

Set over Topaz to Powder Blue — lustrous!

Natural materials rule. Really?

Yes, it would be lovely to have wood framed, hand-honed everything, but guess what? Some of the high desire designs for this year, as any other, are styled up in melamine
veneers supported on good old chipboard.

A firm’s sustainability principles and an eye to recyclable products means far more in ecological terms. What you do have to keep in mind is that some man-made synthetics don’t do whallops and rude gouges well, and in general their surfacing cannot be repaired in the same way as timber and authentic stone.

Look at floor models and you might find chips and dings. Like anything you get what you pay for — lacquer and plastics should survive standard domestic use for many years and combine perfectly with solid wood and metal frames.

Anything you can sand and fill, even in modern finishes, is a good find. Engineered wood flooring is not a booby prize. It’s structurally highly stable and ideal for varying temperatures.

New season:

BoConcept’s Copenhagen collection has been joined by a functional, wall storage system that can be formed in any number of blank doors, open areas and long shelves to suit the space. Just move the modules around to change the look. In MDF, with lacquered coloured or walnut and oak veneered cabinet facings. From €2,329, boconcept.com/en-ie.

Calligaris’ new St Tropez quilted transparent semi- carver dining chairs in polycarbonate: beautiful in Gold (Amber/Brass), €210 each, suppliers nationwide including Caseys.

Stay in scale — not!

Versatility and quality are often more important than a well-behaved thing or small motif pattern to ‘fit’ the room. There are basic traffic rules that should be adhered to to avoid staggering around the furniture.

Wall murals and super scale papers are everywhere this season, and with this comes the invitation to upsize paintings and prints that can be moved, shuffled or let go when the mood takes you.

#livingroom #armoire #oversizedfurniture Very nice space.

A post shared by Maggie's World (@maggie_tanquary_beauchamp) on

Don’t have the room to hang? Lean a large work up behind a sofa to anchor the furniture and add the only colour splash you may need. Include armoires for bedrooms, vast mirrors (doubling space and giving light), consoles with collections of artwork — and sometimes a sofa does look amazing across a tall window.

New season:

The handsome three seater Sandbaka dark blue sofa from IKEA is new to their premium Stockholm collection, €995.

Roche Bobois/Arturo Erbsman’s amazing photo-filter, Chroma table-lamps allude to the magic of ancient stained-glass windows. From €1200; roche-bobois.com.

Multi-tasking Ashiba consoles in fine metal square frames are just in at Meadows & Byrne, €398.

Mixing Metals – do it!

Finally, we’ve ditched that tinny clap-trap about one metal must dominate all others in a scheme. Copper, iron, pewter and this season’s love affair with all things gold, bold and brassy, have and always can sit well together. Metal framed furniture in simple Bauhaus poles and square rails are superb support for sheets of smoked glass, clear panels or wood elements.

Take it to hotel chic or back down to industrial under-statement, you can’t miss the look on the show room floor. If you love those boot sales, look out for artisan quality reverse-beaten metal vases and shield-sized centre-pieces to use on the table or hang on the wall. Don’t get heavy with a single metal. Mix up accessorising in type, colour and texture. Picked out against bruised walls in blue, gray or soft blacks, polished pieces shimmer into life and sit well with the 1970s inspired highly simplistic pottery vessels in smooth and roughened thrown clay.

New season:

Shane Holland’s Cymbal Chandelier created by Shane and architect Greg Tisdall, made in a solid copper sheet and a torched stainless centre hemisphere, €350. The popular Cage now comes in new colours, from €225, shanehollanddesign.com.

Sostrene Grene’s quirky egg-in-a-cage like plant-stands start at just €6.89. Their tactile utterly pure and simple Stoneware starts at €2 a piece for dining or decorating. Add a Fiamma bookstand in silver fronds from Alessi, €90 and a hammered gold vase from Harvey Norman, €90.


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