(NC)—What makes a beautiful room? Interior designers tell us it’s not how fancy and ornate it is, but how comfortable. Country rooms, for example, are typically geared to being more comfortable than presentable. But even in the city, we usually prefer being in the den to being in a formal living room. Beauty, designers insist, is not how a room looks, as much as how it feels.
At heart, most of us simply love to put our feet up. Things that are old, worn and familiar give us comfort. Everything from slippers and jeans to couches and kitchen tables—entire rooms—feel better when they lose the perfection of newness.
We can easily create comfortable rooms if we trust our natural inclinations and choose what feels good, instead of decorating for guests. For clues, look to rural life and choose things that evoke a time when the pace of life was slower and furnishings were simpler and made closer to home. Country colours are comfort hues, say the colour experts at PPG Pittsburgh Paints, like those in their Local Revival trend palette.
For example, Poppy Pods (526-6) is the colour of chocolate and coffee. Earl Gray (522-5) is the taupe of clay, and Pralines and Cream (117-3) is an aged and unbleached white. A clean, bright, ‘new’ white would be too formal for comfort, the company says. But this year, because we want bold hues to bring neutrals to life, PPG added two reds: Rum Punch (231-7), the classic red of apples and gingham; plus its slightly faded sister, Burnt Red (133-7. PPG says this palette is meant to work with the landscape, which provides abundant complementary greens.
Another suggested rule of thumb: when you are going for comfort always choose matte finishes over shiny ones. Matte is what happens to shiny surfaces over time. Make floors look old by choosing wide planks in varied widths and a scraped or textured finish. A low sheen will make them look oiled and natural, even if they aren’t. Choose light through mid-tones for wood floors – but not bleached and not black. Black is too formal.
When it comes to furnishings, antiques that are sturdy and practical, unfinished or gently refinished are best, because their flaws will help relax the room. “And mix in things that don’t match,” suggests Janice Lindsay, of PINK colour + design. Introduce hand-made or artisanal one-of-a-kind objects. Lindsay discourages clients from hanging poster prints of famous works of art, in favour of interestin
g art objects, especially if they are home made.
“Rooms that are put-your-feet-up comfortable will not be special-occasion rooms. They will be every-occasion rooms, which are the best kind of all.”