Ask A Designer – Glam, Romance for Teenage Girls’ Rooms
Q. I am decorating a room for my teenage girl. We are keeping the formal white French bed we bought for her “Princess Room.”
I want to continue the room decor by pursuing an elegant French look but I’m having trouble finding appropriate decor items. Everything I have found is modern or “emo.” I’m about to give up and use landscape paintings and the same things we have in the living room. But they are too expensive, and my daughter says they are boring. Do you have any ideas?—S.B.
A. We have been putting together a teenage collection ourselves and have found that manufacturers don’t focus on teenage decor narrowly enough to search it specifically. We have found appropriate decor by searching style names such as “glam, fantasy, romance, French, novelty” Look for French elegance pumped with a twist of novelty, fun, or glamour.
Here are two items I found. Also consider crystals on draperies and chandeliers. Fabulous mirrors, fluffy rugs, and sumptuous bedding. Teenage years go by quickly, so consider more grown up styles in your most expensive purchases which can please a girl through her early twenties. The quickest to go (rugs and heavily used items) should be less expensive so they can be replaced.
Exterior Should Be Extension of Interior
Q. My home is done in mostly soft tones of blues, greens, and grays. Everything I read says your outdoor space should be an extension of your home. And I also read that one should enliven the colors of the outdoor space. As examples of those enlivening colors, all I see are really bright oranges and reds in outdoor pillows, etc., or the softest blue-green shades that do tend to just fade into the foliage around them. What suggestions do you have?—C.P.
A. I agree that the exterior furnishings should be an extension of the inside. To exaggerate, though, is a personal choice. If subtlety is your preference, keep it. Soft aqua cushions can be set against a dark metal frame which helps furniture stand out against foliage. While painting this picture of your outdoor living area, consider the patio surface and architectural surroundings as well. In this photo, the white of the home and the red brick surrounding
the pool add valuable contrast to the soft aqua. If you want to add more color drama in the furniture cushions, simply exaggerate the blues and greens. Consider peacock, lime, apple green, dark brown, and whites for your main palette.
Touches of warmer hues can be fun and a welcome change when a color scheme becomes predictable. In fact, you could look at seasonal spiffs for the inside, too. Orange is the hottest warm color but is too much for your palette. Lemon yellow, squash, cantaloupe, and frosty watermelon are natural choices to add zip to a quiet blue palette. These additions can be in table ware, lamps, flora, and other small accents, as well as throw pillows, table linens, etc. A little goes a long way!
Perfect Plan, But Should Drapes Be Silk?
Q. My husband and I saved for years and are finally building our dream home. I didn’t hire a designer because I have planned and planned every detail until I became happy with it. Now, at the last minute I am thinking about changing one thing: my draperies. I have always wanted silk and even have swatches which go beautifully with everything, but now I am wondering if the solid color is too stark or too ordinary. Maybe I’m just tired, but I would like a second opinion before I spend the money. My furniture all looks sort of formal and French or English but not too stiff. I love the rug we got which is 100 percent wool made with vegetable dyes. Color isn’t a problem. I can go several directions, I just don’t know if I want a big chunk of any one thing, and I also don’t want trendy. Do you think I should consider other kinds of fabrics?—M.F.
A. Any time you are unsettled about a selection, you should consider alternatives and then narrow the choices. I recommend going back to the reason you chose silk. Most people choose silk for lustre, color, and elegance. First consider silks which have more variance in their color and texture so that you have more intrigue in the fabric. Even smooth silk can have four colors of threads woven to create a stunning look. Here is an example of silk with horizontal streaks of color that are bold enough to be recognizable from a few feet away. If the streaks seem to be too random, consider a banding to provide contrast and definition. Raw silk is chunkier and is available in many weaves. Be cautious so that you don’t go so far as to lose elegance when using raw silk. The lustre of silk has captivated many cultures for generations. It is the perfect balance between sheen and matte for many people. A similar sheen is available in rayon (viscose) which is a natural fiber too. Subtle colored or tone-on-tone patterns are very desirable in European decor. This floral damask is of Italian origin (a viscose, linen, poly blend) and has a fascinating shift in sheen and texture while displaying a very elegant pattern. To avoid trendy fabric, avoid faux silks (too shiny) and solids with the most popular stitched patterns today (small leaf or floral and vine, diamonds, medallions, tucks). Go with your instincts. If all your furnishings have subtle patterns or coloring, the drapery should probably have a subtle quality too.
Editor’s Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice Trends & Traditions in Nashville for 18 years. Visit http://www.shopdesignnashville.com/ or call 615-601-0552.