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DECOR SCORE- Reflect on This: Mirrors Add Light, Space, Awe PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert, Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 01:56


A collection of frameless mirrors with an art deco attitude enlightens and enlivens a once-gloomy room.

Q: Our apartment is in what our landlord politely calls an "English basement." Read: it's half-underground. We don't get much light down here. We have his permission to paint the walls all white. What else will brighten things up?

A: Go back and ask if you can paint the floors white, too. Plan B: Lay a light-colored rug, the better to bounce back all the light you do have.

Plan B-1: Go for other reflective surfaces — pearlized or iridescent fabrics, lots of bright metals, and mirrors, mirrors on the walls, and furniture, too. Mirrored chests and tables were sparkling in a number of showrooms at the High Point Furniture Market last week (more about that in a minute). They're back from the '30s, as glamorous as ever, and always effective antidotes to gloomy rooms.

That goes double for wall mirrors. Look how the collection of art-decor-era mirrors we show here brightens this wall and makes the space look larger.

It's a trick long dear to the hearts of interior designers, since Louis XIV went a bit wild with mirrors at Versailles. His tour de force set off a mania for mirrors among Europe's aristocracy, according to author/art historian Paula Phipps. We borrowed this wall of mirrors from her new book, "Mirrors: Reflections of Style."

As Phipps points out in her book, mirrors still reflect a sense of style, elegance and "even a sense of awe." In your half-basement, they'll also reflect light, space and the illusion that you're not living underground after all.

Q: What's the word from the furniture capital of the world?

A: For a small town (population 104, 400), High Point, N.C., wields huge influence on how the world lives and decorates its homes. Twice a year, some 80,000 members of the global furnishings and design industry descend on High Point to see the latest in sofas and beds, chairs and chests, rugs and ... whatever goes into the well-dressed home.

The word from the spring market: color!

Bright, unapologetic color that sent a frisson through market attendees because it portends optimism. Clearly, we've had it up to here with gloom and doom — enough of war's despair and Wall Street's otherness. Happy days may soon be here again. Who wouldn't be happy living with a bright yellow leather ottoman or turquoise console table (from Oomph) or that jade green cabinet in the revived Chin Hau collection by usually-morestaid Century Furniture.

C.R. Laine Furniture was lively with yellow and brilliant corals and oranges, inspired by "Tangerine Tango," Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year. The Phillips Collection dazzled with its strappy "Seatbelt Chair" in pink, red, green, orange, and purple (plus black and white). Highland House trotted out varying shades of purple and violet, the ancient Chinese symbol for harmony in the universe, and Lee Furniture debuted an orchid-color sofa with smart flange upholstery.

However, the Most Colorful Award must go to a company that makes no furniture, only the most dazzling of all accents: Swarovski Crystal. They sparkled on the likes of Drexel Heritage's Hatcher end table, on Lillian August's Celia Chair for Sherrill Furniture, on HStudio by Shlomi Haziza's cocktail table, Beverly Furniture's Grace Sofa, and Aviva Stanoff's decorative pillows.

Among the least colorful offerings at the market: Martha Stewart Fine Furniture. No sign of the famed "Martha touch." The collection was deja vu, carelessly made (mismatched hardware, for example) and listlessly traditional. It was a surprising disappointment.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.


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