Simple decor and furnishings allow distinctive architectural character to shine through. Here, attention is drawn towards the beamed ceiling and double-sided fireplace by picking them out in a contrasting colour, while the seating blends with the pale floor and walls.
Small rooms benefit just as much as their larger equivalents from a bold and consistent decorative approach. Areas of strong colour and pattern give this compact bedroom instant character, but it is important that relative proportions are finely judged, so that no one element of the scheme overwhelms the others.
A seemingly simple and uninspiring-sounding arrangement of brown objects against a yellow wall looks anything but dull when it includes pleasing textural contrasts, such as that of the old wood cabinet against the smooth wall, and whimsical found objects that introduce a touch of pattern.
Shiny materials, such as stainless steel, not only contrast well with rough textures, such as stone and brick; they also take on and reflect the colours of objects nearby. This is a useful way of softening the cold and hard character of metallic surfaces. It also makes a small amount of intense colour go further.
A In a nineteenth-century Parisian apartment, details such as door panels and skirtings have been played down by the blanket application of deep colours, in order to focus attention on the custom-designed furniture and the plaster ceiling decoration. This is a good quick fix when walls and woodwork are in less than perfect condition.
An apartment’s industrial origins are revealed by picking out structural elements such as the steel beams in scarlet and black. Later additions to the space, such as the kitchen, are made to blend in by painting them in similarly strong shades. The pressed metal ceiling panels help to direct the light downwards.
The colour and surface variation found in natural building materials may be all the ‘decoration’ you need. However, it is important to get the details right. The planking used on the floor and ceiling runs in the same direction, and at right angles to that used on the walls and the floor in the hall, so that each area remains clearly defined.