Sunday, May 1, 2022

Formal Done Fresh

Design by Jane Synnestvedt. Photo by Beth Singer

Traditional furniture pieces that lean toward a more formal style are turning up everywhere in rooms decorated by the most sought-after designers. Done correctly, the pieces add a sense of history and timelessness without sending the space back to a bygone era. Five top designers share their advice for creating dressed-up décor that feels fresh and new.

Marianne Jones living room

A neutral palette spiced with black accents creates the perfect balance in this living room. Photo by Beth Singer

“This sophisticated living space was updated with a new fresh paint color SW7010 (White Duck by Sherwin-Williams) on the walls and a monochromatic wool jersey fabric on the windows, keeping things elegantly chic and simple with a simple Roman shade. We layered in a rug from The Ghiordes Knot to add subtle texture. A touch of black is always grounding, especially adjacent to the piano.” – Marianne Jones, Marianne Jones LLC

Concetti bedroom

Formal vintage items take center stage when positioned against a modern background. Photo by Brett Mountain

I have found that the magic lies in mixing silhouettes for a unique juxtaposition. By placing a formal 1950’s nightstand in front of a bold contemporary geometric wallpaper with a complementary pendant, you actually highlight the piece more. You’d be surprised how much personality you can pull out of a piece when you jump outside of the box.” – Rachel Nelson, Concetti

Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design

A wise mix of colors and patterns helps welcome guests to the dining room. Photo by Beth Singer

“We often reimagine a client’s existing collections and creatively arrange them in different ways to add new life and freshness to items they otherwise overlooked. We hand-painted the dining room walls with a strié effect in three shades of blue paint to give a lived-in softness. Injecting seasonal florals will add yet another dimension, and the client’s treasured sunflower paintings add a bright touch that draws your eye forward.” – Jane Synnestvedt, Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design

Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co. bedroom

Well-edited accents are the secret to this tranquil bedroom. Photo by Justin Maconochie

“Freshen up for a less formal, spring look by clearing up surfaces and choosing a few dramatic shapes instead of too many small elements. The silhouettes of these ginger jars are just the right scale to complement the vintage bird prints on the bedroom mantle. Choosing subtle colors from nature also helps with a fresh look. Store your white accent pieces (too much a reminder of snow) and bring out the robin’s egg blue and celadon shades! Don’t forget to swap the heavy wool throw blankets for lighter, more casual materials like cotton and linen.” – Jill Schumacher, Rariden Schumacher Mio & Co.

Artichoke Interiors bathroom

A silver metallic finish dresses up the claw feet on the tub, and a crystal chandelier adds sparkle. Photo by Texture Photography

“To give a traditional space a new look, update lighting, plumbing fixtures, and door hardware. Mixing in more contemporary fixtures with traditional decor provides a fresh, eclectic look that looks edgy instead of dated. Since our eyes are naturally drawn toward lights and reflective objects, it’s a great way to make an instant update.” – Dawn Jacobs, Artichoke Interiors