Consider a Little Contrast
Joel Barnes, Interior Designer
I hope you’re all enjoying the cooler weather lately. Quite a contrast from the summer heat. As usually it brings me back to design ideas. While unity and harmony in design are important, creating some contrast is too.
Many people love a crisp white kitchen, for example, and why not? It feels so bright and clean. But going entirely white in any space without some contrast in the mix can look a bit like a polar bear eating a marshmallow in a snowstorm. You can’t make out where one element ends and the next begins, and much of the beauty gets lost in the blizzard.
Similarly when everything in your space is overly vibrant, it’s as if you’ve highlighted every word on the page of a good book, so nothing truly stands out anymore. When everything is bold, there’s nowhere to let your eyes rest, causing the scene to soon feel pretty exhausting.
When designing any space in your home remember to offset lighter colors with some touches of dark. Contrast those sensually smooth surfaces with a bit of interesting texture, and balance squared angles with the occasional curve. Consider the materials you use as well. Complimenting a beautiful wood with some metal, glass, stone, and even a sumptuous fabric allows each element to become all the more appreciated and enjoyed by contrast.
Light-colored cabinets look beautiful when offset by a somewhat darker backsplash or countertop, and the reverse is equally true. Bear in mind the contrast can be quite subtle if that’s your preference, and whether we notice it consciously or not, it puts us at ease when we can easily distinguish where one surface ends and the next one begins. Feeling comfortable in our living spaces matters, and why not use contrast as a way to enjoy each element for its own unique qualities. When well balanced, the resulting look is quite pleasing, and allows us to enjoy everything together as a whole.
Remember, contrast is truly beneficial in our lives. Without the winter, there could be no spring. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try a little contrast the next time you’re wanting to invigorate your living space.
That’s all from the Designer’s Corner this month. Wishing you all a very happy winter holiday season!