Glamour Living Rooms, Part 1

To give your living room a sumptuous image, indulge in a spot of glamour styling. The results are as relaxing as they are impressive and luxurious but, despite appearances, don’t have to cost a fortune.

Classy and chic, but never vulgar, glamour styling creates a sophisticated, comfortable living environment. To the envy of anyone with young children or boisterous pets, pale neutral and pastel shades are used exclusively on walls, floors, and upholstery, with reckless disregard for practicalities. There is a larger-than-life, film-set side to the look that favors accents of gilt and sparkling glass on furniture, soft furnishings and themed accessories, to accentuate a sense of grandeur and luxury.

The impression of spaciousness on a broad scale is another defining feature. Within reason, you can create space by leaving out more than you put in, and by maintaining symmetry and a strict orderliness.

In glamour styling, there is a healthy cross-fertilization between styles and periods. The look borrows an overall feeling of elegance from the town house idiom, and sets it in delicate, light color schemes and clean-cut furniture arrangements gleaned from the Scandinavian style.

Once the scene is set, it is the detailing that truly enriches the look. A seemingly incongruous mix of highly ornate and ultra minimalist furniture and accessories distinguishes the image. You can expect to see eighteenth century French-style gilt wood chairs combined with Art Deco-style tables, all illuminated by modern light fittings. Far from becoming a mishmash, a carefully rationed selection and purposeful placement ensures glamorous exclusivity.

Creating the Look Color and pattern scheming: The first commandment of glamour styling stipulates that all surfaces and soft furnishings are pale or shiny. Discreet self-colored jacquard and damask fabrics and brocade shot through with gold thread are favored over conspicuous, colorful patterns.

The notable exception to the pale-only rule is the use of a little black or dark navy for dramatic contrast on woodwork, furniture, or upholstered furnishings.

A prolific use of gilt and gilding adds a rich gleam to instill a vital feeling of luxury and extravagance into the look. To replicate the effect, you can use inexpensive gold wax polishes or paint to accent the detail on moldings, furniture, and picture frames.

Walls: Creamy neutral or pale pastel shades dominate the look – peachy pink is a favorite color. Wallpaper is subtly colored, maybe with a faint self-colored stripe or a damask-style or moir? pattern. To capture some of the architectural extravagance of stately homes, you can use trompe l’oeil wallpaper borders that mimic cornicing or balustrades between the wall and ceiling or around the wainscoting.

Floors: Thick pile, wall-to-wall carpeting, again in pale colors, is a quintessential part of the luxurious impression the room is designed to create. It doesn’t stop there because there’s often a liberal scattering of large, subtly colored rugs.

Fireplaces: An imposing fireplace, preferably in real or mock marble, provides a significant focal point for the room. Embellishing your existing fireplace with corbels and moldings, then painting the whole assemblage white gives it an appropriate sense of grandeur. Alternatively, a simple arrangement of two large corbels supporting a glass mantelshelf looks very effective.

Lighting: In true theatrical fashion, atmospheric lighting dispensed from stylish light fittings enhances the glamorous setting in the evening. Overhead chandeliers or Art Deco-style torchiers are ideal for general lighting. Magnificent table lamps and lampshades contribute localized illumination at strategic points around the room.

Copyright 2009 Rhonda Morin, May not be reprinted.

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