Architectural Digest’s Style & Design Tips for November 2016

For many people, myself included, Architectural Digest is the interior design and decor Bible. The magazine is my go-to when I need stylistic and architectural inspiration or am searching for unique vacation spots to add to my bucket list. Every month, I eagerly snatch up the latest edition at my local drugstore and slowly make my way through it, savouring each page. As long as I’m doing that, I may as well take note of some of their design and decor tips and list them here for you to peruse. Enjoy!

1. Furniture patterned with vintage floral and woodland details is very in. 

Think pastel-coloured pillows and blankets detailed with pink roses, kitchenware painted with forest scenes, and even furniture carved into branches, such as this stunning bench from Currey & Co. These details make for timeless statement pieces!

2. Don’t be afraid to mix textures and styles, but do choose complimentary colours. 

American decorator Mark D. Sikes mixed vintage English and modern Californian styles to give his Los Angeles home an elegant yet relaxed vibe. To make sure nothing looked out of place, he chose a simple colour palette of blues and whites for his furniture which are coupled with light and dark brown wood accents throughout the house.

3. Channel your love for certain countries or traditions through unique art and cultural items.

What better way to show your love for India, Japan, Scotland, or Brazil than to showcase items from those countries in your home? Travelling is a great way to find these cultural treasures, but if that’s not an option for you, scenic paintings, exotic patterns (perhaps on rugs, curtains and throws) and travel guide books displayed in your home will make you look like a world traveller. Consider displaying cultural artwork that you can identify with or have learned from, such as Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman‘s paintings, which express the sadness she experienced living through war in Baghdad and issues of female identity in Iraq.

4. Incorporating cross-cultural styles and silhouettes will liven up an outdated space or stuffy room. 

Take it from architect Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia who, in the early 1800s, used Chinese and Turkish influences to redecorate Casina Cinese (“Little Chinese House”) in Palermo, Sicily. Originally built as a plain but palatial country house for Fernando I of the Two Sicilies, Marvuglia blended Chinese silk panels (hand-painted with flowers and Chinese calligraphy) with Turkish-style spiral staircases, floor-to-ceiling columns and Ottoman miniatures. Though it was a bold move at the time, the palace has turned out splendidly, with designers and architects from around the world praising its eccentric patterns and array of styles and textures. Today, Casina Cinese is one of Palermo’s main attractions for interior design and architecture lovers, thanks to Marvuglia’s ability to select the complimentary aspects of two wildly different cultures.

5. Designing your dream kitchen? Follow these six tips from famed New York designer Steven Gambrel:

Tip 1: Islands give kitchens a structured and modern feel. Choose a colour and texture that blend in with the floor and walls “to make this space feel lighter.” Tip 2: Vintage and industrial lighting can prevent the space from feeling too modern or cold. Unique hanging lamps and pendants are fun discussion pieces and can add to the height of the room. Tip 3: Using strong colours on appliances and cabinets “can actually make the room feel more spacious.” Choose a lacquered finish for a reflection that gives the same effect. Tip 4: Vintage or antique details (by way of faucets, handles, light fixtures, place mats, etc.) can make the space look more “spirited.” Tip 5: Gambrel says the stove is the “centre of the kitchen”, so why not showcase yours? His is painted a deep orange for a bold pop of colour; subtle orange accents around the kitchen prevent the colourful stove from looking out of place. Tip 6: Open shelves are casual, visually pleasing and can give you easier access to your cutlery and appliances.

6. Add a touch of class to any room with gold, mosaic and marble accents.

You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to achieve this effect! Gold-coloured floor tiles and door handles, small slabs of marble granite, and mosaic tiles, artwork or wallpaper can add elegance to any room of your choosing.

7. Windows can transform a small space into an airy oasis of sunlight and warmth.

If you have the room, install additional windows in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and/or living room to open up the space. Placed strategically, windows can significantly change the dynamic of your home by making rooms appear larger, allowing natural light to come through (hello, energy savings!), and even helping you feel more connected to nature. Don’t forget that windows are necessary in your office, too!

Feel free to list your favourite design tips in the comments section! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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