In The Detail

There are two kinds of decorating: the macro and the micro. The former, as the name suggests, is the big stuff; the sofas and chairs, the tables and the beds. And while these pieces offer an important decorative aspect when you consider upholstery and design, it's the micro-decorating that really conveys the personality of the homeowner.

Here we see the personal touches that take a design scheme and add that intangible element of autobiography. These small moments speak to the ultimate luxury: experience, and in particular, the unique story of our lives and the souvenirs we keep to remind us of those times.

The first thing to consider when creating these decorative tableaus is the display surface, from the knots of rough, untreated wood to the veins that course through a slab of smooth marble, which is in itself an expression of materiality. The relationship between the display and the displayed creates a dynamic tension, whether you’re contrasting or layering with pieces in a similar finish. This also raises an important question: how much is too much? The rule of thumb is to only display the pieces that inspire you and to group them in a way that creates a dialogue between the different elements, whether they’re functional or decorative.

The simplest and most effective way to create cohesion between groupings of pieces with varying provenance is to use repetition. Different shades of the same colour, or alternatively the exclusive use of monochrome, will bring a scheme together and make its visual comprehension much easier. Similarly, repeating the shape or material of objects – a collection of brass candlesticks, for example – but at varying heights will add spatial interest. It’s a clever idea to use pieces that reflect the natural surrounds of your home; skulls, natural fabrics and indigenous flora, for example, are a considered way to give your home a sense of place.

The relationship between the display and the displayed creates a dynamic tension, whether you’re contrasting or layering with pieces in a similar finish.

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...how much is too much? The rule of thumb is to only display the pieces that inspire you and to group them in a way that creates a dialogue between the different elements, whether they’re functional or decorative.

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