Ask Décor Diva: From Bare & Cold To Coastal Cosy?

One of our readers recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice. She sent us an image of her living room along with the following queries…

She asks:

My house is at the coast and I am battling to get this big (lounge) space cosy and inviting. I changed the coffee table to a square and ordered a jute rug. Also, how do you arrange scatter cushions on a U-shaped couch? Do you think I should change the bird cushion as it is not really part of the coastal theme? I ordered 3 striped cushions as well as 3 duck egg blue cushions…”

Ask Decor Diva - The Design Tabloid

Décor Diva says:

Because you are at the coast, I actually think that you should play on that coastal / nautical theme a lot more. The colours would then be more along the sand, stone, tones of blue, white and even a bit of nautical red can be thrown in there. And for that reason only would I go along with the suggestion of tossing out the bird cushion. I have to admit that I do find the dark script cushions a bit on the heavy side. There is such a variety to be found in nautical designed cushions which you could mix in with a lighter script, typo designs and even a nice blue geo pattern. Stripes are very prominent with the coastal themes.

Right now your space seems to be a work in progress and as such I guess that you are gradually introducing more colour. And accessories are the best way to go here. With your rug being along neutral colour tones as well, you may even consider creating one wall as a feature wall, by painting it a coastal ivory or sandy colour. That effect can immediately eliminate that sense of ‘vastness’ that an open plan area often presents. It ‘pulls the room in’ for want of a better explanation.

You also enquired about the ‘positioning’ or layout of the scatters on the actual sofa.  I think that you have two options open to you:

1)  The way you have it set out on the sofa in the image… that is in each corner is fine – but I would definitely make sure that you include a rectangular or organically shaped cushion.

2)  Move away from the corners of the arms of the sofa – instead position the scatter in the middle of each section, plus the corner where the two sections meet. At least three cushions in the same format as above.

One generally displays the scatters in layers, starting with the bigger ones at the back and working down. The mix of sizes and shapes: the larger sizes at the back should be something like 60 x 60cm, then a slightly smaller one of 50cm x 50cm. In front of that you can either have a long rectangular cushion of about 35cm x 60cm or even a more organic looking cushion like bolster. I like to keep the cushion inners as a feather mix – they are much easier to sit into and less likely to be tossed onto the floor as a nuisance factor.

The best is to fiddle or play with each setting until you reach one that sits well with you. After all – despite all the guidelines around, ultimately it is all about you and how things work for you.

Love, Rose  x x x

{Below find some lovely Coastal décor inspiration and local accessories. Please click on images to enlarge}

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2011 Trend Watching – Part One

By Marica

Rose and I regularly have awesome (and sometimes quite extensive) discussions about design and decor trends. Now, while we are in the process of review and reflection, and before the 2012 trend reports start flooding in we would like to take a look at some of the trends we observed in 2011.

We are by no means Li Edelkoort, but if you watch the blogs and image sharing websites long enough it is quite easy to recognize popular content and before you know it a definite trend pattern emerges. So without further ado, here are our favourite observed trends of the past year…

Nostalgia:

  

The primary trend that explains the popularity of most of the subsequent trends (some of which we are discussing below) is aptly labelled Nostalgia. Rose had the following to say about the rise of Nostalgia:

“Despite the fact that there is never a time when change is not happening on a global scale, the uncertainty of the current times in terms of climate change, economies, etc, has been and is very real to us. Experts have shown that when there is a prevailing sense of threat and insecurity, the over-riding trend towards nostalgia and all things from the past, become evident.

That is exactly what our current Nostalgic trend is all about. We have reached into a time past, back into eras that speak the fundamentals of our value systems, with the hope of finding stability in our roots. Nostalgia is all about being “homesick”, yearning and idealizing the past, while fondly recalling memories of times that seem to us much better than that which is our immediate experience.

So, it comes as no surprise, that as the Nostalgic trend stands on the shoulders of the Past, it has gained huge momentum in all walks of life. We draw our inspiration from décor of eras past, motivated in an almost “pick-me-up” fashion for the strength to push on as those from that past era must have done. Despite the fact that Nostalgic styled décor & accessories have been given a fresh and contemporary twist, in a very real sense it is creating a sense of “time standing still” or timelessness.

  

The Nostalgic vein runs though most of popular trend of the past year – think Vintage, Shabby Chic, Retro & Mid-Century Modern, Rustic Scandinavian, Contemporary Country, and even the glamorous Hollywood Regency, the list goes on. All of these contain tributes to the past, little collections of bygone eras.

As we sat down to review the trends and styles of the past year, it is evident that Nostalgia is the TREND, into which ever expanding styles from the “Golden Ages” of past eras have come to find home.

I am very grateful for the rise of this Nostalgic Trend, as it is a very necessary phase, a breathing space in which to appreciate the past, in order to continue moving forward.”

Handmade Revolution:

 

A lot of emphasis has been placed on craft this past year – this Handmade trend is definite secondary arm to the primary Nostalgic trend. Who would have thought that crafts like crocheting, knitting, quilting and other general DIY decor projects & products would become so overwhelmingly fashionable? Is it a protest against consumerism or an attempt to save some moola?  I don’t know, maybe it’s the emotion behind Handmade that makes it so popular – it’s personal, it’s sentimental, it’s my own…it’s perfectly imperfect.

REcycled / UPcycled:

  

It makes me happy to see that decor & design trends have, in some small way, taken a cue from our planet’s environmental crisis and adopted a waste not want not approach. We have seen some excellent examples of innovative use of old, discarded trash transformed into beautiful pieces of design. Also, slotting in with the Nostalgic and Handmade trends, a lot of Upcycled designs – like the painted vintage furniture trend or converting an old suitcase into a chair or a rusted cheese grater into a lamp, etc. It’s all about being eco-aware – REclaim, REpurpose, REcycle. This trend is far from dead.

Mid-Century Modern:

Eames Lounge Chair

Seen as one of the most influential and significant design movements, the Mid-Century Modern style is synonymous with furniture design greats like Charles and Ray EamesArne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen (to name but a tiny few). The Mid-Century style can also be linked to Scandinavian Design, as they had a significant influence on each other. The use of Mid-Century Modern furniture and elements in interiors and decor has always been an admired choice between decorators, designers and architects alike. However, the Nostalgic trend of the past couple of years has boosted this classic vintage style back into mainstream popularity. It is said that Mid-Century Modern is the perfect balance between function and aesthetic. And I don’t know about you, but I sure want to own an Eames chair….

Industrial:

  

This funky style has made a smashing comeback in the past couple of years can also be tied to the Nostalgic and Mid-Century Modern trends. The core of Industrial Style is to expose elements that are usually hidden – brickwork, exposed I-beams, unfinished wood and all the nuts, bolts and mechanisms that we generally hide.

Nautical:

  

The Nautical interior & decor style spilled over from the recent nautical fashion trend. Bold stripes in shades of blues and splashes of reds and oranges, rustic and distressed timbers, and ocean-inspired baubles make for a perfect sailor’s sanctuary. Rehashed this cool and fresh style is often paired with Industrial and Mid-Century Modern elements.

Stick around for Part 2 of our 2011 Trends report where we discuss the past year’s colour and pattern trends…

So, what trends patterns did you notice in 2011? We would love to hear about your favourites!

Images sourced: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14