After watching “The Great Gatsby” film this weekend (I know, I’m behind with my movies this summer), I couldn’t help but notice the opulence and glamour throughout the interiors and sets. Talk about the WOW factor. In the 1920’s, America was experiencing a lot of economic growth whether legal (new technologies and stock market investments) or illegal (prohibition or the booze trade) so there was a huge increase in the “newly rich” crowd. To display one’s new found wealth, people glitzed and glamorized their lives in every aspect which, of course, included their home interiors. There can be a tendency to overdo the style which may turn out to look flamboyant instead of fabulous. Luckily, there are plenty of examples available to use as a guide to design an interior that balances the design principles just right. Understanding scale, proportion, texture, color and lighting concepts will ensure a sophisticated and glamorous interior.
The ballroom movie set could have come across as cold and uninviting due to the massive scale of the room. Instead it feels warm, romantic and glamorous. Most of the surfaces are smooth, but by using warm tones in the wood parquet flooring and creamy tones of stone or marble on the walls, columns and staircase, the room becomes inviting. Add the curvy elements of the staircase, curved wall, arches and columns and the room becomes less rigid and less formal inviting us to venture further within. The billowy curtains, the rug and soft furnishings below the stairs, plus the flowers and wall tapestries, bring in the needed texture to balance out all of the sleek and smooth surfaces in the rest of the room. The lighting, including the candlelight, is crucial as it adds sparkle by reflecting off of the crystal chandeliers and the highly reflective floor.
Curves add soft elegance and glamour. Notice the room is round with the sitting area defined in the middle by a round rug. The furniture itself is full of curvy shapes including the legs. The lighting fixtures are curvy – even the wall sconce on the far left. The colors are warm and subtle except for the bold pop of red in the rug. A high contrast in color and value really works well for a high impact feeling of glitz, that’s why we see a lot of black and white in glamour interiors with a little bit of bold purple, yellow or red. The use of billowy sheer curtains adds light and airy texture so that the room isn’t too heavy.
This is a good photo to see the accessories up close. This shot is dreamy and glamorous due to the careful selection of ornamentation elements. The chair fabric is a gorgeous tone on tone fabric with a shimmery finish balanced perfectly with a curved wood arm also with a shiny finish. The round table is set with elegant accessories of crystal, gold and ornate metals topped with simple white roses. The drapery fabric combines the use of sheers with a more substantial drapery drawn back framing the window in long elegant waves of silky fabric. Finally, the two palms balance the room by adding natural texture to the room. So how does the average person translate the glamorous movie sets into their own home? Here are a few examples.
In this bedroom, the curved and softly tufted bedframe is the focal point. The bedding, the bench with folded clothing and the lampshades are all light tones against a contrasting darker background. Look how many lighting sources there are in this room proving that lighting matters. First there is a gorgeous chandelier, two bedside crystal lamps, wall sconces with mirrored wall plates and a little lighted tree branch in the foreground for added sparkle. All of this soft lighting (I suggest using dimmers where ever possible) reflects off of the wall mirrors, crystal elements and even the glass jars on top of the two tall hutches. Who wouldn’t want to sleep here every night?
This interior has “Wow” all over it. The added architectural details make a huge difference in the ceiling, the faux pillars on either side of the bar area and the bar alcove itself. Do not underestimate how an otherwise plain room can be transformed by adding a few such details. The furnishings are gorgeous because the designer carefully picked curvy soft sofas, asymmetrical slightly curved club chairs in the foreground and elegant bar chairs with curvy backs and delicate curved legs. Notice the contrast of black and white on the bar chairs and also the few pieces of dark wood furniture against the light walls and flooring. Again, the lighting is layered from using recessed spot lights (some “wash” the walls to highlight the artwork in the bar alcove) to table lamps and candlelight. All of the light is then reflected off of the mirrors in the alcove, wall mirror on the left, the glass top coffee table and even the glass hurricanes over the candles.
The chandelier is the standout piece for me in JLO’s living room. This shows that one fabulous piece can really make a difference. It’s not too “over the top” because it is not competing with the other elements in this understated and elegant room. The use of soft tones against the white furnishings and woodwork add warmth while the use of texture on the ottoman, the rattan tray and even the white shag rug adds tactile interest. I love the small armless slipper chair as it is the perfect scale for the corner of the room.
I like this combination of glamorous accessories. Any more than this and it would be too much for my taste but it works for me due to the balance of textures. The airy sheers and tone on tone wall covering balance out the sleek leather and mirrored tables. White faux fur pillows and throw would also work as a way to add texture. Finally, three types of lighting, the chandelier, the table lamp and the candles all reflect off of the glass and mirrored objects in the room adding the perfect amount of sparkle to the room.
Tips for adding sparkle, glamour and glitz to you home:
- Remember to resist the temptation to overdo this style with too much gold, silver and sparkle
- It’s easier to add to your design rather than subtract after you’ve purchased everything
- Use mirrors wisely and strategically to reflect the light and sparkle, you’re not creating a disco… or are you? (It’s ok if you are)
- For sophistication stick with neutral colors like black and white, creamy off whites and taupes and then adding pops of glamorous color like a one of the jewel tones of ruby, emerald, purple etc.
- Pick fabrics that look luxurious with soft tone on tone patterns with shimmery finishes or a well-made velvet
- Layer your lighting for a soft and romantic setting by using dimmers and candlelight too; all will reflect off of your crystal, glass and mirrored surfaces
- Use accessories that will reflect the sparkle like glass hurricanes, crystal vases, mirror plated trays and coasters
- Use long flowing drapery fabric in silks or velvets over light weight sheers
- Add fresh flowers or plants in soft whites with their green leaves or colors to give your room a pop of color.