Architectural Digest’s Style & Design Tips for December 2016

This month, the magazine explores the Obama family’s modern White House style, shows us how to display artistic sculptures in our homes, and gives examples of how lush greenery can compliment both architecture and personal style.

I hope you all had a happy and festive Christmas! Now that the excitement of presents and Christmas dinner has come to an end, many of us are coming up with our New Year’s resolutions and making personal goals for 2017. A common goal for the new year is to renovate or redecorate certain spaces (i.e. bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms and offices), which is why I wanted to share with you this month’s design tips from Architectural Digest. Even if you’re not planning to redecorate for a while or are on a budget, hopefully this post will help you gain some style and design insight for your future projects!

1. Use “dynamic” artwork and furniture to set the tone for your space.

Display unique photos, paintings, furniture and sculptures in rooms where they’ll have the most impact – think your foyer/entrance, dining room and living room. Whether it’s a photograph displayed in an elegant frame, a colourful painting or portrait, or a funky sculpture or table that really pops, those look-at-me pieces can bring life to small and plain spaces or give modern spaces a more casual vibe.

By the way, sculptures and art can double as furniture if you want to kill two birds with one stone. Check out this stunning Yves Klein coffee table, this Tommi Parzinger studded credenza, this Maria Pergay glass table and this Maria Pergay lamp. If you’re on a budget (or simply not made of money), you can find similar items for less at local housing ware stores like IKEA. They boast an assortment of unique shelves, lamps, storage units, cabinets, tables, chandeliers, etc. If you’re in Canada, you can also try Artemano, Structube, Urban Barn and Leon’s for funky yet functional household items.

2. Copy the Obama family’s White House style by using punchy artwork and earth-toned accents to make a “modern splash” amid a traditional theme, i.e. rich mahogany furniture coupled with beautiful rugs and carpets.

You can see pictures of their home here – notice how the rugs, dark wood furniture and subtle greenery (i.e. small plants or flowers) are a running theme throughout almost every room? This really ties the whole house together, as each room is complimentary of the next one but has memorable accents unique to that room (such as a plush sofa for the family room, breathtakingly beautiful artwork found in dining rooms and entertaining spaces, and antique desks and armchairs for executive rooms).

3. Choose at least one room in your house or apartment to personalize, be it your bedroom, home office, TV room or library. Make it your oasis.

The New York City home of philanthropist Beth Rudin DeWoody and photographer Firooz Zahedi has several of these rooms, including this stunning, kaleidoscopic library. If you spend most of your time in the living room, media room, kitchen, sitting room, etc., why not turn it into a space that reflects your interests and personality? For example, frame your own photos or art, put up posters of people or quotes you admire, create colourful displays of your favourite music or books, paint the room your favourite colour, or use it to store your favourite vintage or antique items. Don’t be afraid to use a completely different style or colour scheme, even if it doesn’t go with the rest of the house; it should feel like the one room in your home where you can put your feet up and be surrounded by your favourite things. Bonus points if the room has a view of a garden, skyline or body of water!

4. Not everyone has the space or money to create a surrealist garden like this one

Can you believe that stunning creation is located in Michigan? I particularly like the Walled-In Garden, which makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of a photograph. And the allée (a walkway lined with trees) is both functional and beautiful!

5. …but what you can do is display simple flowers and plants in your home all year long.

I don’t need to tell you that flowers (think roses, tulips and daisies) can brighten and modernize one’s home or work space, but you may not know that green plants can do the same thing. Take a look at this small plant displayed in philanthropist and art collector Clarissa Bronfman’s New York City home office. I’m not sure what kind of plant it is, but do you see how it manages to tie the room’s brown and blue colours together as well as create a focal point for the space? A pretty flower probably wouldn’t have the same effect, so you may need to compare colourful flowers and green plants in a particular room to decide which type of flora is more complimentary.

Plants and flowers can give your home a humbled, balanced, and earthy feel, as seen here in artist Jack Pierson’s Greenwich Village apartment. If you’re going to display plants, the size, style and/or colour theme of your room doesn’t really matter as long as you spend time searching for the perfect leaves or potted plant. This article shows you how to display unique greenery in your home. Oh, and if you like the idea of adding a green organism to your home but know you’ll forget to water it, you should be able to find artificial plants at most furniture stores.

Stylish gift ideas suggested by Architectural Digest that won’t break the bank:

Thanks for reading – this was a fun one to write. See you in the new year!

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