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Whether you are looking to breathe new life into your own designs or you have a client requesting that you produce something in a style you are unfamiliar with, learning how to incorporate design features from different cultures into your work will enable you to take your designs to the next level.
Look to Architecture
If you want to get an idea of the kind of shapes, colours, and patterns that define the look of a particular culture, you can often tell a lot by looking at their architecture. In many cases, although not all, the interior look will reflect that of the buildings themselves.
Embrace Hybrid Styles
If you want to give yourself a bit more room to experiment, you should consider choosing styles that combine multiple influences together. Below are some examples of hybrid styles from different cultures and how you can adapt your designs to embrace the best parts of them.
Historically, Morocco has been a cultural crossroads. Situated at the very tip of north Africa, Morocco is separated from Spain by the Gibraltar Strait. As a result of its unique location and the centuries-long tussle between Christian and Muslim armies for control of Iberia, Morocco’s interior design style is one that is influenced by a number of sources but entirely unique.
Moroccan Splendour is all about warm colours, but the emphasis is on geometry rather than colour. Pay particular attention to patterns and textures and don’t make one aspect more prominent than another. If you want to create a true Moroccan look, use a low-height coffee table with cushions around it and invite your friends.
Spanish Revival combines elements of both Mediterranean and African styles to give an appearance that is both homely and sophisticated. Spanish-style interiors lean heavily on warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows. Another hallmark of the style is the use of exposed brick brushed plaster and other textured surfaces.
Spanish interiors have long been among the personal favourites of the best interior designers in the world.
Scandinavian interior design is all about combining functionality and comfort while emphasising the natural world. Scandinavian chic has achieved mainstream success in recent years and its minimalist component has been carried over into numerous other styles.
If you want to invoke this look, keep your walls to a neutral tone while using furnishings that are soft in colour. In particular, baby blues, light pinks and yellows will all stand out without being overpowering.
Japanese design is built around simplicity and makes extensive use of natural materials and colours. The result is a peaceful style that is built around light wooden colours. Traditional Japanese homes make extensive use of bamboo and other woods in their construction; these woods are left to show their natural colours.
There are few other colours used in the Japanese style, but when they do appear, they are beige, brown, and other natural shades. These colours appear on non-wooden surfaces.
Once you have familiarised yourself with a few different cultures, it becomes much easier to begin mixing up your original designs. You will have new inspirations to draw on and an understanding of design principles that you would otherwise not have encountered.
The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is in full swing, so there is no better time than now to discuss the flower power in interior design. Many homes can be beautifully decorated, but the space inside is left barren and colourless. Furniture can add some colour and shape to a space, but often restricts interior designers to plain colour and patterns, and the square or block shapes of tables or sofas.
Adding an Extra Dimension
Using flowers as part of our interior design ideas gives us access to all the colours we can imagine, and a range of shapes and designs from flower arrangements. Flowers also bring extra dimensions to interior design that you may not previously have thought of. The scent of fresh flowers can add to a home or a room’s atmosphere, adding a fresh summer scent to a light and airy neutrally coloured room. Strong scented, deep coloured and decadent flowers like deep red roses can bring an intimate and cosy feel to a dark nook or corner space in a hallway or under the stairs.
Flowers are particularly effective at bringing something to a space where there felt like there was nothing before. By adding a simple bouquet to a shelf in a hallway, or a table at the bottom or top of the stairs can add character to a space you might not even have thought much of before. They add freshness and class to a bathroom, especially small and cramped washrooms that may be stuck under the stairs or at the end of a hallway.
Many people are put off by the cost of keeping fresh flowers, but these are often overestimated. The internet has led to a number of online flower delivery services offering high-quality flowers at very reasonable prices. Services such as www.freddiesflowers.com offer regular fresh flower delivery, allowing you to have fresh flowers in your home all year round without breaking the bank. They even offer tips on flower arrangement and seasonal bouquets. Flowers bought online often stay fresher for longer, going straight from the grower to your door, giving you the best of the flower’s bloom for as long a time as possible.
Colour, Texture, and Shape
Using flowers in interior design is a growing trend, and creates opportunities for colour, texture and shape that home furnishings cannot match. Even vases and posies offer a chance to add some character to a space. Using antique vases, in glass, silver or pewter, can give a space a more traditional look, and a more modern or contemporary vase can complement a minimalist, clean styled room.
Flowers are an inexpensive way to add colour, beauty and scent to our home. Thanks to a number of online flower delivery services it is now easier than ever to keep fresh flowers in our spaces all year around. Every homeowner should consider adding flowers to their home and bring a splash of colour to their bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms.
It is easy to forget how important door handles and knobs are while decorating a living space because they are so small in size compared to other major components in a modelling/remodelling project. However, paying attention to them is extremely important because aesthetically, door handles and knobs are actually what gives character to your doors, therefore, high-quality products that are in line with the interior design trends of the year are absolutely necessary. So, how does one go about choosing the right door accessories while staying updated with the latest trends in the industry? Well, that’s exactly what we will discuss next.
Let The Experts Guide You
In case you have hired or plan to hire a renowned interior decoration firm like Casa Forma, listen to what they are saying and let them help you find the door accessories for your home. The firm has years of experience in designing luxurious interiors for residential properties, so rely on them to guide you in making the right selection for each door, instead of overriding their expert opinion. Interior decorators know their job and they are always in sync with the latest trends in interior décor, so they are definitely your best bet at finding something that is trendy and fits well with your overall décor.
Did Black Ever Leave?
Everyone in the industry is saying this from late 2018: black is back in fashion for door and cabinet accessories, but the real question is, did it ever leave in the first place? Well, for a few years, other lighter colours did take over the market trend, but now black is back. While the colour isn’t as long lasting and maintenance can be a hassle, black goes with everything (particularly with timber), it’s a classy choice and a black door handle/knob will add oomph to any door in 2019 and beyond.
Try Two-Tone with a Brushed Nickel Dominate
Two-tone finishes have been around for years so that in itself is not a new trend, but when you use the brushed nickel finish instead of making chrome the dominant finish, you reverse tradition and bring your architectural choices in line with the latest trends of 2019. A practical advantage of the new design trend is that people end up touching the brushed nickel finish, which isn’t as prone to fingerprints as chrome is.
Micronized Finishes Look Super Stylish
Micronized finishes are not just a trend for 2019, but they have pretty much become a staple standard for oceanic areas with a salty and corrosive climate. They can be quite expensive though, but there is no doubt that this is one of the most premium looks that you can go for this year. However, be careful not to take the cheaper option, because micronized finishes are porous and in cheap products, the pores will become visible in time.
These should help you with making better choices while selecting your door accessories, but when in doubt, the rule of thumb is to go with timeless classic designs and listen to what the interior decorator is telling you.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you may be wondering where to spend your night with your loved one. With countless restaurants to pick from in London, here are our top five favourite restaurants for Valentine’s Day.
Bob Bob Ricard
Known for its luxury English and Russian menu, Bob Bob Ricard is one of the most iconic restaurants in Soho. If glamour and sophistication are what you’re after, you have come to the right place! With a ‘Press for Champagne’ button on each table, you don’t have to move a muscle to sample some of the finest wines around. With an elegant dress code, make sure you dress to impress and immerse yourself in some fantastic décor when dining at Bob Bob Ricard.
When walking through the intriguing red doors, you will find an opulent Chinese restaurant and bar, otherwise known as the Park Chinois. Situated in Mayfair, this restaurant provides bold cuisine, exquisite drinks and live entertainment to ensure your Valentine’s night is one not to forget. The restaurant can get incredibly busy at the best of times, so ensure you book well in advance to secure your spot for Valentine’s Day.
Located in London’s Dorchester Hotel, China Tang includes some of the most iconic and stunning décor, designed in mind to evoke the romanticism and wonder of the 1930s. With a whole host of contemporary Chinese art on the walls of the restaurant, China Tang is known as one of the most exclusive cocktail bars in London. With an endless list of classic cocktails to choose from, you and your loved one can make a toast that this Valentine’s Day is going to be one to remember.
If you’re looking for a restaurant with an outstanding menu, with dishes being created from seasonal ingredients, you are sure to be in safe hands when dining at Annabel’s. With a team of world-class chefs on hand, you and your loved one can tuck into some of the most fantastic food in London. If a unique dining and drinking experience is what you want out of your Valentine’s meal, be sure to book a table at Annabel’s.
Valentine’s Day and romance go hand in hand. With that in mind, what better than to dine at the world’s most romantic restaurant? Clos Maggiore is known for its fresh ingredients, unique flavours, and Provencal-inspired dishes, meaning you can try out some of the tastiest cuisines in the capital. What’s more, the menus at Clos Maggiore has been awarded three AA-rosettes since 2008, giving you plenty ofopportunity to find something you like.
Now you have an idea of what types of restaurants to go for on Valentine’s night, make sure that you book your reservation as soon as possible. You will want your night to be special and one to remember, so book early to avoid disappointment. All the restaurants listed are popular hotspots in the capital, so you are sure to have an unforgettable Valentine’s Day, no matter which one you pick.
Architecture and interior design are complementary arts, and both of them are ever changing and ever evolving. Styles change throughout the years, so if you want a truly eye-catching home that will impress all who visit it, you should never allow your home décor to remain static. This doesn't have to be as time consuming or expensive as you may think, for changing the look, feel and character of a room can be as simple as changing the colour palette within it.
Creating a Harmonious Look Throughout Your Home
You should always think of your home from a holistic point of view, rather than seeing it as a series of disparate rooms. Whilst each room should have its own highlights, and its own design features that are relevant to its function, your home will look more impressive when each room shares one basic predominant colour, setting a themed palette for the property as a whole. Alternatively, two dominating colours can be used, but if you opt for this then you should always bear in mind the colour wheel. Colour wheels can be found readily on the internet, and indicate which colours look best when placed next to each other. It's something that the great artists have known for centuries, but it’s still relevant to today.
How Colour Changes a Room, and Your Mood
Changing the colour of a room can greatly change the way it looks and the way we react to it. That's because we notice the dominant colour of a room even before we typically notice the furnishings or items within it. Psychological studies have shown that the colours we see can have a great effect on our moods, and how we interact with each other and our surroundings. You can use this to create rooms that project or encourage certain emotions, so that predominantly blue rooms can have a calming influence, yellow rooms promote energy, pink reduces aggression, and green encourages creativity and mental composure. On a purely physical, rather than psychological level, rooms based upon a white palette will often look bigger and more spacious than they actually are.
Which Colour Is Right for Your Rooms?
We've seen how different colours can encourage certain emotional reactions, but other than this, how do you choose which colour palette is right for your home? It's a big decision, as you'll see the results of your choice every day, so it can help to seek expert advice from a specialist in luxury interior design such as Casa Forma. They'll know which colours are in vogue, and they'll also be able to find colour schemes that complement the furnishings within your home and the landscape surrounding it.
You don't have to go the expense of moving home, or even making physical alterations to your rooms if you want to gain a stylish new look for your property. Simply changing the colour palettes within your rooms can make a huge difference, but keep in mind how the property as a whole will look, and how it will make you and house guests feel. Fashions change in interior design and décor, so don't let your home look out of date when a fresh palette can give it a stylish new look.
Every experienced interior designer will vouch for the fact that aesthetic impressions are influenced by the sum of many little things that bring together the overall theme and mood of a room. You could spend a whole budget on furniture, fixtures, lighting, and layouts, but if you don’t have those subtle yet significant elements that work together, you will end up with something akin to a curiosity shop rather than an elegant home that whispers quality. You don’t want your house interior ideas to scream but rather gently remind anyone who enters that they are standing in a literal work of art.
1. Tastefully Using Antiques in a Modern Theme
Many people shy away from using antiques because they can be expensive, they’re often in less-than-ideal condition, and because we’d all like to avoid the stigma of having our home “look like a museum.” However, if you only use quality antiques and sprinkle them about just as you would with any other accent or decoration, they can work quite well with modern design themes. Porcelain, glass, and marble antiques are especially well-suited for modern house interior themes, but even rustic wooden styles can work in conjunction with newer luxury styles of hardwood flooring.
2. Incorporate Asian Art and Antiques
You don’t necessarily need to go full-on oriental to add a little bit of flair with some Chinese artwork and antiques. However, you do have the option of having your entire house interior designed with an Asian like theme or modelling your kitchen around a traditional wok setup. Many Asian antiques have universal appeal and are recognised for being luxurious more than for coming from a specific country. Opting for Chinese antiques are also smart investments as their value and popularity have been increasing in recent years, with scrolls, vases, and ceramics being particularly popular.
3. Use Shelves, Armoires, and Entertainment Centres
A great way to have several exquisite pieces like artwork, first-edition books, pottery, and antiques on display without taking up too much square footage is to ensure that there’s ample shelf space. These lovely pieces should be spread out across standard book shelves, dressers, armoires, and in the case of a living room or home theatre, a large full-featured entertainment centre. With these house interior ideas you can display a significant amount of visual diversity into a room and give the eye much more to look at without overwhelming the senses.
4. Add or Upgrade Carpets and Chandeliers
Adding rugs or upgrading your current rug collection is an excellent way to add another layer of flair to your flooring while also protecting it from wear and tear to reduce maintenance and cleaning costs. Also, some rugs were meant to be displayed on walls as tapestries, especially fine Chinese woven rugs depicting the various dynasties. On the flip side, simply adding a chandelier can really set off a living room or dining room, especially if you have vaulted ceilings to allow for a true panoramic lighting effect to complement the antiques you’ve chosen to round out your house interior ideas.
Making Your House Interior Ideas Work into a Cohesive Work of Art
Finally, the one thing you must be cognitive of is that although each piece is unique and maybe crafted throughout different periods of time, everything must complement every other piece so that the finished look ‘works.’ There may be that one exquisite piece for example a chaise longues which is the focal point, but everything else must be tastefully chosen to bring forth a unifying presence – Feng Shui if you will – a room that brings everything together in harmony.
With interior design, there’s a plan to make every room look well-designed, even opulent at times, while still delivering that lived-in feel too. It’s a delicate balance that’s different with every project. In the case of homes where the floor plan is smaller, or the rooms have more restrictive dimensions, it’s important to consider how to maximise the use of space to offer dual functionality to avoid creating too much clutter.
Here are a few suggestions about how to go about doing that.
Is it a Clothes Trunk or a Table?
In the bedroom, having a trunk at the end of the bed or along a nearby wall provides decorative storage space for clothes, knickknacks, a journal, keepsakes, and other little treasures. A trunk does tend to take up considerable floor space, so it’s a good idea to choose one that can perform double-duty as a table. Consider laying a cloth over the top of it to create a comfortable surface where items placed on top won’t slip off easily.
If you find that you use the same items regularly, store them near the top of the trunk’s interior, so it’s quicker to retrieve them each morning to put them back on your table.
Suspend Wooden Chairs as a Clothing Rack
For adventurous renters or homeowners willing to try something different, then a minimalistic flat layout could include a couple of wooden chairs suspended from the wall. The folded-out chairs can each hold a storage box with or without a box lid. Under the chairs are usually wooden beams from one leg to the other to steady them. These beams are ideal to hang clothes up.
While it’s a novel take on box storage and a clothing wardrobe, it’s also far more affordable than going all out with a different solution in a small space that doesn’t need much but the barest of essentials.
Bookcase & Side Rack Mounting
A bookcase usually holds treasured collectables, but the sides of the bookcase can be used to suspend items too. The theme here is the same as using a plastic clothes rack on the inside door of a wardrobe to stuff socks, boxers, ties and other sundry bedroom items.
A patterned suspended fabric or knitted material adds colour and pocketed storage to the side of a bookcase. Alternatively, a simple decorative hook positioned to hold a handbag, or another bag is a good way to lift them off the floor to avoid them being a tripping hazard when floor space is at a premium.
Ironing Board and Mirror
Instead of having a standard, boring ironing board with an unattractive pattern on it, consider having close to a full length standing mirror that magically converts into an ironing board at a moment’s notice.
Footrest and Storage Box
A footrest in the lounge can be converted into a storage box where the lid opens to reveal a space to put all the kids’ toys when they’re done with them. This avoids the toys being strewn all over the floor and needing a separate container taking up floor space in the lounge.
It does take a little creativity to furnish your home with items that offer multi-functional capabilities and double the storage space, but it’s well worth it. It can keep the floor space far less cluttered making every room feel larger than it really is. Also, the added spaciousness will put a smile on your face when you get home from a long day at work.
To be nominated for an award is what every architect dreams of, but to be shortlisted is every architect’s dream come true. Casa Forma’s Kensington Gardens project that was named by design et al in 2015, has been named as one of the frontrunners for the coveted Living Space – UK Award. By taking on a total refurbishment of the property inclusive of some reconfigurations in the structure, what was once a 3800 sq. ft. family home and property has become a celebration of style and a major accomplishment for the architects and interior designers at Casa Forma.
A Focal Point in the Heart of Kensington
What was once a ‘family property’ has become what is known as a lateral apartment which consists of a living area that is now quite large, four bedroom suites, a private den/study and an impressive art media chamber that is state of the art in design as well as functionality. Also included in their design is a Jacuzzi, steam room and even a dry sauna. The refurbishment turned a once ordinary abode into a high end luxury apartment and an award winning one at that!
A Look at the Underlying Scheme
When it comes to design, it is imperative that there is a scheme that brings everything together in a cohesive whole. In other words, each element blends nicely into the next so that in the end you have a well-functioning whole that not only works but looks just as good as it functions. This is the task of any architect. Function alone isn’t enough because disjointed elements can cause chaos in the look you are going after and design without function is futile. No one wants living space that doesn’t ‘work’ for them and so the two need to merge to complete the job.
In this project, Casa Forma sought to complement the modern shell with what is a predominant feature of the design group, an Art Deco appeal. The materials used were high end cladding and joinery for walls with furniture that featured natural stones and Japanese wood. To complete the picture, bespoke hand crafted chiselled mirrors with a finishing touch of hand painted gold leaf rounded out a look of beauty and luxury, a timeless perfection.
A Priceless View
The apartment is situated in such a way as to provide a breathtaking view of exquisitely landscaped gardens and a panoramic view of London. The client for whom the project was undertaken wanted to have a bar crafted so that it would highlight the family’s delicate ornaments of crystal. Since space was limited, the dining room table was designed to double as the bar which then became a divider between the living and dining areas. A remarkable accomplishment that not only brought all elements together from a design standpoint but with exceptional functionality.
With specially requested natural Japanese woods and design and functional features required by the clients, Casa Forma blended together the vision of the client with the extreme talent of their designers to complete a notable accomplishment well-deserving of its 2015 recognition on the design et al shortlist in the Living Space – UK Award. An honour well deserved.