Good friends always have your back and when it comes to design you know that I always have yours. We have chatted relentlessly about how important it is that you pay close attention to the details. Details, details, details, it is in our attention to details that great rooms are created. Today, I’d like to chat about the backside of some of the key elements in our rooms: the backside of arm chairs, sofas, dining chairs, and even pillows and throws and bedding.
One lesson from art school that has stuck with me throughout my career was from a sculpture class where the instructor ensured that all sides of a sculptural piece where equally as visually stimulating- is a chair any different from a piece of sculptural art? Dining chairs are an obvious point, infact we probably see more of the back side of the chair than the front. Therefore the backs need to be as fabulous as the front and the side of the chair. How do your dining chairs fair? If you are less than stimulated by your chair backs you can reupholster with a more exciting fabric perhaps a scarf with a fabulous pattern (think out side the standard ditzy upholstery print here), hand painted fabric, photographic print, or simply paint right on the chair back. You can also use tribal carpets, coiled rope with fabulous tassel detail in the center of the chair back or a deer hide, crocodile hide. The trick is to use your imagination be creative and think over the top fabulous.
Now, back into the living room, if you have any furniture that doesn’t rest itself against a wall and you see the back of the piece then you need to look at what you can do to ensure that it is as visually exciting as the front side of the sofa. This is one of the main reasons along with scale and proportion that we need to shop armed with a furniture layout. If a piece of furniture is scheduled to ‘float’ in a room then the back side needs to be considered as well as the front. The detailing, the workmanship, the finishing materials and the design needs to be appealing from all angles of any piece that does not rest against a wall.
Train your eye to always look at all sides of items that you are considering for your home. Look at a vase as if it was a piece of sculpture to be viewed from 360 degrees, the back of a throw blanket that will undoubtedly have its flip side exposed to some degree, the back side of a toss cushion that may be revealed and even the back side of your beds duvet cover that will make the bed look more enticing when the cover is folded back to expose the bottom side of the cover.
Watching your back as a designer is how you will create fabulous rooms for you and your family.