To hitch onto the “granny chic” trend, florals and whimsical patterns are the order of the day. A loose rug, or area rug, is one of the easiest ways of updating a room’s look. Big patterns on the floor can be echoed in cushions and paintings. Remaining with the granny chic theme, colours may or may not match, but at long as the overall look is pleasing to the eye, then “anything goes”. Mix it up with cool retro furniture and time travel back to the 50’s!
Within this category, one has to discuss Persian rugs, also known by such diverse names as Pakistani, Afghan, Turkish, and Oriental. These rugs are today commercially produced and sold at affordable prices. However, as an investment, there is nothing more pleasing than a handmade rug. Once you’ve decided to invest in one of these middle-Eastern jewels, you need to know a few things so that you can choose the perfect investment. There are two easy ways of checking if the carpet is made by machine or not. 1. Turn the carpet over – the back should have same pattern as the front. 2. Open the pile and check for knots – Persian carpets have individual knots, machines weave the pattern. In addition, the more knots per square inch, the finer the quality. If you wander into a carpet shop and you see one large carpet for X dollars and a much smaller one for Y dollars, then chances are that the smaller one is the one you should invest in.
Once you get home, don’t hide your carpet away. The more it wears, the more valuable it becomes. It will soften up and get a “lived-in” look and that is what many investors look for down the line. Many of these carpets are made with natural dyed wool, or even silk. When you want to test the quality of the wool, it should reflect the light and be soft to the touch – this is called “live wool” and was harvested from live sheep. Over time and with use (walking on it) the oils in live wool carpets is released to bring a deep and beautiful sheen to it. If it is lacklustre and hard to the touch, then it was harvested with chemicals from slaughtered sheep and the carpet is naturally of a lesser quality and durability – this is “dead wool”. The third type of wool is wool gathered from old cloth, re-dyed and then used in low-grade carpets. High quality wool and silk carpets give a warm and everlasting appeal which never date. Patterns range from depictions of historical events, to modern geometrics, although these are not as common as the traditional designs.
Handmade wool and silk rugs are also an investment that will last for many years and through a number of décor trends. As stated above, the more you use and walk on live wool carpets, the better they look over time. As a décor piece and investment item, there is nothing that can beat a living fabric that improves with age.
Without even thinking too deeply about it, I have always expected that a dining room and its chairs are made of the same material and even color. Any accents and variations will just be small elements that are composed within the same uniform style. However, 20th century décor saw a move towards giving the table its own character and personality and allowing the chairs to not just match it, but rather complement it. Now 21st century modern décor has stepped things up further and introduced a trend where the table and chairs can be as different as chalk and cheese with additional elements like color, ornaments and other dining-ware to make the contrasting/clashing furniture pieces more cohesive.
As can be seen in the pictures accompanying this article, a wooden table is surrounded by Ghost chairs with glass vases to complete the look. To the uninitiated and uneducated decorator, the chairs may appear to be a temporary measure while the more solid wooden variety that would match the table are being sourced. However, those in the contemporary furniture field know and understand that Ghost has taken over in many respects and that wood will never go out of fashion: then the blend and combination of the two represents pure innovation and creativity. An approach clearly not for the conservative and faint-hearted, but conventional perspectives aside, it is a very stylish look.
Different Chairs for Different Strokes.
Another trend in the mix-match arena is a combination of various colors and shapes of chairs surrounding the table. No longer being limited to the uniform 4 to 10 chairs around the standard dining table, but one now has the choice to have batches of chairs in different colors, shapes and designs all around the same dinner table. The chairs can be arranged in various ways by alternating each design – placing two matching chairs on the opposite ends of the table or even having different kinds on different sides of the table. There may even be the over-the-top somewhat pretentious arrangement of a “King” and “Queen” throne on the opposite ends of the dining table and the rest of the chairs would be simpler to reflect their role as the subjects or plebs in the hierarchical equation.
With the advent of open floor plans, the traditional self-contained dining room has taken a bit of a backseat in most modern homes. No longer do we have one separate room for dining purposes – the experience is often combined with the living room or the kitchen, or even the outdoors to make it far more convenient and fun. But with this change in design approach also comes a necessity to shape the dining space in a creative and inspiring manner. The spectrum that one would explore towards self-expression through their dining space can range from safe conventional to risqué avant-garde.
Not only for the Zany
The stereotype is that it is only the creative industry practitioners or artists who tend to cross the divide from conservative to outright zany, but that need not be the case. The concept of avant-garde is basically modernity on steroids in that it is ultra-minimalist, futuristic and glaringly innovative. Where modern and contemporary dining furniture would be focused on clean streamlined lines, avant-garde would take it a step further and possibly shock, confuse and ultimately grab attention. This design ethic is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but when done cohesively, it can be truly an inspirational marvel.
Cost Saving Options
This design approach is often considered rather expensive because of the cutting-edge materials and finishes that are often used however creativity, and substitution with cheaper materials and DIY can substantially reduce costs, yet still bring about the desired result.
Furniture, ornaments, artwork, carpets, rugs, tiling, painting, wallpaper and of course elements that would not normally be expected in a dining room are all details that can combine to create the avant-garde space. The one challenge though is that the overt attention-seeking nature of this décor style may soon overwhelm the senses and require a revamp much sooner than a more conservative aesthetic would. This would then give one an excuse to have a new dining room for every season.