Welcome to the ultimate luxury design blog
Sustainability does not need to be a compromise. You can have luxurious, high-end design without sacrificing your desire to create a sustainable home. Modern interiors are now more than capable of balancing green sustainability with luxury and many designers are happy to work with sustainable materials such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, hemp, and wool.
The aim of sustainable living is to design an interior that is environmentally friendly. Green design focusses on using materials that have been recycled or that come from renewable sources. Instead of acres of polished concrete, designers create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing interiors using materials such as reclaimed oak flooring, but materials are not always easy to come by.
A Lack of Sustainable Materials
A research paper published by the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment in 2015 found that choices in sustainable materials were still limited, despite the high demand for green and Fair Trade products. Researchers discovered that the provenance of materials and products is not always clear, which creates a barrier for designers who are reluctant to spend excessive amounts of time searching for sustainable materials. Some clients are also resistant to the extra cost involved in sourcing suitable materials.
Despite this, with the right designer and a suitable budget, it’s possible to create luxurious interiors using sustainable materials. You don’t necessarily need deep pockets to achieve the right look and you certainly don’t need to sacrifice your green ethos to create a sense of luxury, as this beautiful design illustrates.
Using Recycled Materials in Interior Design
Recycled materials fit the bill perfectly. Recycled timber is a good example, but you could also use recycled brick slips to build an authentic-looking inglenook fireplace, repurpose marble for a bathroom, or use old copper piping to create industrial-chic lighting for a kitchen or dining room. There is no limit to what you can achieve.
It’s not difficult to find recycled materials and furniture. Salvage yards specialise in recycled timber, wrought iron, copper, and other materials, so these should be your first port of call. Tropical hardwoods and natural stone are by definition luxury materials. When used in the right setting, a gorgeous piece of teak can be turned into an unusual coffee table or a piece of marble transformed into a countertop for a bathroom. Make use of recycled ceramic tiles to create an interesting mosaic floor. Old furniture is ripe for recycling and often inexpensive. Use chalk paint to refinish an old pine dresser and give it a whole new lease of life.
Create a Sense of Luxury in the Bedroom
Recycled items used in conjunction with sustainable materials such as wool, hemp, and silk, are all perfect for a luxury interior. Silk and cotton work well in the bedroom. Use hand-painted silk as a wall.
Designs trends come and go. Inflatable furniture, avocado bathrooms, pine cladding and stencil borders were all popular once. Thankfully, these hideous trends are now relegated to a time taste forgot and we can quietly move on.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with working with the latest design trends, but unless you have the time and budget to redesign your home every few months, it is far better to create a timeless interior décor scheme. Timeless means it won’t go out of fashion. Instead, your home will stay tasteful and stylish for an indefinite period of time, which is more than can be said for textured ceilings and shag-pile carpet in the bathroom. To help you get started, here are ten steps to creating a timeless design theme for your home or commercial interior.
1. What’s Your Design Objective?
Think carefully about what you want to achieve. Consider your budget and whether you need to hire a professional interior designer. Research ideas and start collecting fabric samples, design ideas, and prices for materials. Creating a timeless theme is not a weekend project.
2. Neutral Colours
Bold, bright colours are trendy, but they invariably go out of fashion. Burnt orange, brown and purple looked great in the 70s, but would you really want that colour scheme in your home now? Stick to neutral colours. They are classy and timeless. If you feel the need to add colour, use accessories and small accent pieces.
3. Natural Materials
Natural materials such as oak, granite, stone, wool, and silk are timeless and classy. Whilst plastic and steel come and go in the interior design world, natural materials are inherently enduring, beautiful, and above all, functional.
4. A Sense of Luxury
Timeless is often synonymous with luxury, which was definitely the case in the One Hyde Park project. Here the aim was to create a sense of elegant sophistication whilst remaining practical and functional. To achieve this, use quality materials and luxurious accessories with a classic feel. This type of look will never go out of fashion.
5. Mix and Match
The easiest way to design a theme that won’t date is to mix and match different elements. Mix items of furniture from a bygone era with neutral colours, clever modern storage solutions, some modern art, and a few carefully chosen accent pieces. If your room doesn’t fit one style, it is effectively ageless.
6. Create a Focal Point
Use a stunning piece of art or a carefully selected item of vintage furniture to create a focal point for the room. Whatever you choose, make sure it is a reflection of your personality, as this will serve to create a timeless look.
7. Declutter the Space
Clutter is always bad news. Ornaments and collectibles usually reflect the current trends and era. Remove anything that ties your décor down to a specific period in time and replace it with neutral pieces, classic books, and original art.
8. Antique Charm
Modern furniture and collectibles come in and out of fashion within a few years. Scandinavian style is currently on-trend, but in 20 years' time your Billy bookcase will have become a tasteless relic. For a timeless and stylish look, use vintage and antique pieces made from quality materials such as oak.
9. Timeless Classics
Consider investing in a few designer items. Signature pieces of furniture are expensive, but they never go out of fashion, just like the design of this Kensington Private Residence.
10. Work with the Space
Contemporary or period: the important thing is to work with your space, but try to avoid sticking to one period or you will lose the sense of timelessness.
Timeless is not always easy to achieve, but if you get it right, you won’t have to redecorate for a long time.
The CEO of any company, large or small, holds a position of great importance. They make decisions, manage budgets, and devise strategies. Their office therefore needs to reflect their role in the organisation, so a small, poky space devoid of personality is not going to fit the bill. To help you design a suitably luxurious office interior for your CEO, take note of the following tips
In the corporate world, a CEO’s office is rarely just an ‘office. It will most likely have to function as a meeting room, workspace, mission control, and even board room if it’s a small business. For this reason, it is essential that the space adequately caters for every eventuality.
Provide Functional and Attractive Furniture
Furniture needs to be functional, but luxurious and of course attractive. Most CEOs are not going to be happy with a generic desk and cheap office chair. Office furniture should reflect the personality of the CEO, so if he or she is a traditional type, a solid rosewood or teak desk might be a good choice, whereas a younger CEO will probably prefer a sleek minimalist design.
The desk needs to be large enough to accommodate computers, monitors, a printer, desk lamp, and anything else your CEO needs to function efficiently, without feeling cluttered. Desk storage is useful, but you will need to add extra storage space such as fitted shelving and cupboards for files, books, etc. The aim is to provide enough storage to keep miscellaneous items out of sight. Cluttered offices are the enemy of productivity. Concealed filing cabinets and seamless cabinets are modern and attractive. Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials, so if the desk is teak, choose a different material for the cabinetry.
Maximise Natural Light
Make the most of any natural light you have in the office. Most CEO’s have a premium office, so they can enjoy the best views. If this is the case, floor to ceiling windows are an asset that should not be concealed behind drapes. However, you still need to control light or the room will be too hot or cold. Install electronic window blinds or use a UV reflective window coating. Position the desk so your CEO has his back to the window and faces the entrance door, so he can greet guests as they walk in.
Modern or traditional: it’s a personal choice. Once you have chosen the furniture, decide upon a decorative scheme. Muted colours work best for office spaces, as they help to quell stress and promote calm and serenity. Taupe, pale teal and soft blue-grey are all a good choice, although bold accent colours on rugs and soft furnishings also work well.
Add vibrancy to a luxurious office space with original artwork and sculptures. Art is always a talking point, as well as an excellent way to express the personality of your CEO.
Take great care when designing an office space for a CEO and be wary of adding unnecessary furniture or gadgets that detract from the overall design.
When our eyes travel over any space we immediately catalogue specific focal points. We do this naturally as our eyes are drawn quickly to the most prominent features of a space or to the most unusual point in an area.
When it comes to interior design we can trick our brains to make certain areas of a room the focal point. Think of the focal point like a centre of activity in a room, designed to draw the eyes and create an effect for the room.
Making A Statement and Creating an Effect
The focal point for a room should reflect what the room is and also what mood it wants to create. A living room wants to be a place you feel comfortable and relaxed, a dining room is somewhere to entertain and a bedroom is a retreat from the world. When thinking of your focal point you want to make a statement that encompasses the room and your own sense of identity. This could be a piece of art that speaks to you or an antique piece of furniture.
Building a Focal Point
There are lots of specific items and designs that can be used as focal points and choosing something is largely down to personal taste. Size plays a crucial role in drawing the eye but so does colour and shape. There are a number of ideas to explore such as;
Fireplaces – A fireplace is the traditional focal point for living rooms as it creates a sense of warmth, even when unlit. Built in modern faux fireplaces can look incredible in the right setting whilst traditional brick or inglenook fireplaces create a traditional focal point.
Furniture – Large furniture draws the eye particularly bureaus, curio cabinets and sofas or chairs. Placing them in the centre of a wall means that they split the wall into three – which triggers visual centres in the brain.
Art – art works particularly well above a mantelpiece, over a bed or in a prominent position above furniture. A single large painting can speak volumes about a person and a place. Position your art at eye level or slightly above eye level for the best effect.
Antiques – in much the same way as art, an antique in a prominent position will draw the eye
Mirrors – Mirrors act as an unusual focal point as they open up a room. The eye will be drawn to a large mirror and then will soak in the feel of the entire room.
Textures – a focal point doesn’t have to be a single item it can be a single wall or area of the room. One off-colour wall or textured brick work wall will instantly create a focal point for a room. Wallpaper or textured plaster can work equally well here.
Architecture – unusual shapes capture the eye and you can build around unusual brickwork or shapes in a room to create a focal point architecturally rather than through objects. This is particularly useful where stairs or other intrusions into a room change the shape.
Designing around the focal point
Once you have a focal point it’s important to build outwards from it. All objects accompanying the focal point should be smaller and less eye catching so that the main focus always remains. We like to compliment focal points either minimally, with a select few pieces, or with one or two moderately large pieces that blend to create one seamless focal design image.
Bedrooms should be a place of rest and solitude, after all this is where you will generally unwind from the day and surprisingly spend one third of you're life sleeping.
Applying basic feng shui principles to ones bedroom is critical. Simple steps like placement of the bed which should always face the entrance of your room and having your bed up against a solid wall creates strong positive energy.
A focal point in any room is important too especially in you're bedroom, you're eye will naturally look for this otherwise there can be a sense of confusion and distortion in the space.
Headboards are a great way to create a focal point and over recent years have become a design feature that most designers are keen to be creative with. A bespoke headboard is ofcourse the best solution, clients request something uniquely made for them which will reflect their personality and the scheme of the bedroom. A range of materials can be used from intricate hand cut paterned leather panels to mixture of glass, woods and metal.
Another important aspect of ones bedroom is of course lighting. Generally in a bedroom you should consider no more than three different focal points for lights which can range from ceiling, wall and bedside lights, all of which can bring ambience in a room aswell as being functional and practical.
With the above in mind bedroom designs should be kept cleanlined and uncluttered whilst introducing a mixture of warm sumptuous materials and textures.
Your office reception works much like a website’s front page design. It is the first point of contact that companies and customers have with your business. It is literally the public face of your company. At Casa Forma we make snap decisions about a person within ten seconds of meeting them – we can’t help it it’s human nature. The same is true of decisions about a company and your reception area needs to make a great first impression.
We always start with design itself before looking at décor as we need to make sure that the space is optimised correctly to create the right impression. Your reception area should be focused towards the reception desk itself. A large wide desk with computers and your company logo above is normally the best way to make a good first impression.
Light is incredibly important in your reception area. Too dark an area makes people feel on edge and detracts from the visual feast you want to serve people. Soft natural light is ideal and you can supplement with overhead spotlights, side lights and mirrors if you don’t benefit from a glass entrance.
We also want to make sure that there is a warm and welcoming waiting area. This should be comfortable, branded and feature your company or industry literature – reinforcing the impression that your business is at the top of its game.
Materials are also incredibly important but don’t have to be expensive. Traditional businesses will often benefit from rich, corporate or luxury materials in their design. Black marble, rich mahogany and mirrors help create this luxury feel whilst increasing space. However, many more modern businesses, particularly in the tech industry, benefit from the opposite image – relaxed spaces, light colours and a friendly colour scheme. At the end of the day your design needs to reflect your brand and your corporate message.
Receptions should feel relaxed, comfortable and not cluttered. Decoration should be kept relatively minimal with brand logos, plants and amenities available. Try to have a few well-chosen and placed objects rather than a clutter. For many companies a focal point piece of art can make an incredible impression but it isn’t a necessity. What furniture you choose is however very important. Chairs and sofas are an ideal solution but you should choose ones that reflect your company – big, soft and comfy if that’s your image or modern and artistic if that’s your image. You should always provide a table for work and refreshments so that guests can quickly settle.
How you display your branding and how you design the actual office reception is important. We want to make sure that we convey our core brand messages to potential clients and that our brand is a key association our office makes. Décor such as art, images and corporate awards should feature subtly in your office to contribute to your brand persona.
Consistency is also very important. It’s no good making a great first impression in your reception if the rest of your office is cluttered or plain. We want to replicate all of the receptions design and branding throughout your office to make sure that first impression sticks with visitors throughout their stay.
Designing a reception well will make the perfect business impression and we can’t recommend it enough! If you need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
When it comes to creating truly unique interiors antiques are often the best objects to build around. They can bring together a room and often have wonderful stories to tell about a time, a place or a history. Choosing antiques is a pleasure in itself and we love visiting antique fairs, auctions and local shops to try and find unique items. With that in mind we thought we’d create a quick guide for anyone looking for antiques to compliment particular designs.
Antique Styles and The Designs they Compliment
The history of antiques is complex and sprawling with British designs taking their names from periods associated with reigns of monarchs. However, there are also antiques that fall into artistic movements, cultural moments and industries – for example maritime antiques. Here we look at some of the most common styles you can access.
Art Nouveau ran from 1896- 1914 and embodies a time when jewellery and fashions were changing dramatically. The styles of furniture and art are popularised by curves with sweeping lines and furniture with slimmed upholstery and beautiful elegant curves. This style of furniture wasn’t mass produced so it easy to pick up unique items.
This style works exceptionally with modern designs.
Victorian antiques cover a broad spectrum of styles but typically the features are heavy wood, furniture with beautiful upholstery, ornate glassware and china. Victorian furniture can work with all styles of design from modern to classical so it is easy to find antiques for any interior decoration style.
The Baroque period refers to 17th and 18th century European arts, architecture and style. Baroque furniture and antiques typically feature very ornate carvings with astonishingly beautiful wood and gilt work. Original baroque furniture is highly sought after with a high price tag but there are plenty of modern imitations. This style works with rich classical designs and any room trying to be opulent.
The gothic revival period was short lasting from 1840-1860 but has influenced design and art ever since. Gothic antiques are characterised by dark colours and striking medieval displays. These antiques are highly prized and work in hyper modern design and dark classical libraries or lounges.
When it comes to designing around antiques it is very easy to find something you like. We have worked with antiques in all styles and most people tend to have a variety of eras and objects – they are at the end of the day personal objects to choose. If you are planning a single design element it is great to choose one era or style but remember that these periods also produced exceptional plain objects (typically furniture) that can work with all styles.
At Casa Forma we specialise in luxury interior design and have been fortunate enough to work on some of the most captivating buildings and projects the world has ever seen. From luxury apartments in Mayfair, hotels in Saudi Arabia to a private yacht in Monaco the Casa Forma team have worked on some incredible locations and projects.
However you don’t need to break the bank to create a sense of luxury in your home so today we thought we would share some of our best luxury design tips…on a budget.
Colours in your home are what create the first, and biggest impression. If you want to create a luxurious feel you need to choose colours well.
Whites and Creams are, perhaps surprisingly for some, some of the best colours to create that luxury feel. They create a sense of space and when you combine them with colours such as black and gold you create an opulent image. Reflective colours and surfaces create a very luxurious feel and even if you can’t splash for white marble floors and black marble walls there are plenty of similarly textured materials available on the market.
If this style isn’t you then invest in rich dark colours like reds and browns which create the impression of old fashioned riches. These colours work exceptionally for a traditional design rich with antiques and wood trimmings.
Modern Luxury Design
If you are trying to design modern luxury then you don’t have to spend tens of thousands. Many modern materials are relatively cheap to acquire. We’d recommend you start with light and reflective colours and then supplement them with nice clean glass. Glass shelving works brilliantly as do glass coffee tables and mirrors. Once this is in place add in spotlighting around the room with downlights along the edges of walls and within shelving. This will combine to create a wonderfully light area that feels open but also refined and sophisticated.
In terms of furniture and decorations anything clean will work well with these styles of design. Ornaments with one or two rich colours work well though you can still use antiques and art alongside this style of design.
Classical Luxury Design
Classical luxury design can use whites and creams or rich dark colours supplemented with gold gilt and rich ornamentation. If you want to recreate the classical feel of palaces and French opulence then rich dark colours and gilts are for you. You’ll want to look for reproduction baroque furniture with extensive carved ornamentation to really capture that feel – upholstered in rich dark fabrics. If you want a more modest elegance opt for lots of dark woods and traditional leather upholstered furniture. This create the retiring room feel that many of us crave to escape the world.
In terms of ornamentation classical is surprisingly easy – rich vases, gilt framed art and antiques are your friends here and we couldn’t recommend beautiful old books enough!
Hopefully these tips will start inspiring you with your own designs. And if you need help don’t hesitate to get in touch.