Walls As Art

Okay, decorating and primping your home isn't a life requirement but anything that brings so much joy should be!

It's the inside of your home - you have free rein to exercise your whims and fancies. Consider the enjoyment that'd come everytime you walk into a room from the satisfaction of knowing that it quietly conveys the atmosphere of your favorite historical period or style of look. Or, that it sings theatrical and flamboyant . . . and why not, think of the fun in a dining room, or a sitting room where guests are entertained.

When you are thinking of decorating your walls, remember it is usually paint, stick ons and materials like wallpaper so one of the other joys to take note of is that it is so easily reversible. You can easily unpick and readjust parts of your scheme.

Following are some fun slices of walls that are being used as decoration - maybe not like your neighbors, but remember, these are ideas to help you determine what might be 'your' theatrical you .

Wallpaper is a classic in creating walls as art, but take a look at the following new patterns - they are SO much fun, from Rococo Wallpaper.

From their webpage:

" . . . Our nontraditional methods of research and design often border on the quixotic. Its like we are looking at the past under colored neon lights. We like to ask ourselves questions like: "What if Bootsy Collins played Versailles?" and "What if Andy Warhol did the windows at Buckingham Palace?" Nama Rococo is hand-painted and hand-screened, each paper sold in sheets and Nama Rococo considers each piece to be a masterpiece in itself .

Its not cheap; but consider also that because their colors and patterns rock harder than anyone else's, you can use a little bit of their paper to make a big impact on ONE wall and really change your entire room.

Don't you look at your walls differently now? Uum ...... enjoy!

Design Concept - Lines As Forms

This article is one in a series on Design Concepts, this one about seeing lines as forms.
My desire is not just to help you learn to create beautiful rooms but to help you create rooms that are beautiful to you.

The abstract expressionist artist Irving Kriesberg wrote about pure seeing and the power of lines:

"Our eye responds to assemblages of

lines, colors, shapes, masses.

Real objects may be seen abstractly;

abstract elements may be seen as reality."

Straight Lines - straight lines can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal.

Horizontal lines often dominate a room and there is sometimes a need to mix it up a bit, but horizontal lines are important in design. They give a room the feeling of repose and restfulness. horizontals are often thought to be masculine in nature, giving solidity to the composition. They also increase the casual feel in a room.

Vertical lines tend to give a room the feeling of height and dignity; they are strong and direct.

Diagonal lines can be tricky because they not only attract attention, but also lead the eye. The question is where is the eye being led to.

Exercise to develop design concept regarding diagonal lines: Draw a diagonal line on paper. Your reaction can range from the feeling it is unstable and upsetting to finding it stimulating. There is more tension in the diagonal or oblique direction than in any other direction. Now draw a vertical line in the center of a piece of paper. On a third piece of paper, draw a horizontal line. Try to see these lines in the forms around you. Take a few minutes to see oblique, vertical, and horizontal lines.

Curved Lines - curves can be drawn either with mathematical precision or freehand, the mathematical drawn with a compass is thought to be harder, lacking the grace and subtlety of the freehand. Curves suggest feminity.

All forms comprise three basic shapes - the square, the circle and the equilateral triangle; and they are all unique in character.

Going back to artist Irving Kriesberg's quote ("Our eye responds to assemblages of lines, colors, shapes, masses. Real objects may be seen abstractly; abstract elements may be seen as reality,") we can, by examining the lines of objects, grow more knowledgeable about what elements constitute a form and how central lines are to everything we see. When we see better we are more able to appreciate what forms, being abstract or reality, etc., are beautiful to us.

This article is one in a series of Design Concepts, to go to the entire list, click here.

Folding Screens Do Double Duty & More

It has just been announced that designer Michael Smith has been selected by the Obama's as the decorator for the White House so I wanted to include an example of how this hugely talented designer has used screens in his work.

"Pheasants Under Cherry And Willow Trees," is an exceptional folding screen on gold leaf paper from the 1600's, and a beautiful example as we consider folding screens as elements of interior design.

Seen above, the Scott Fitzgerald Suite at the Ritz Paris Hotel hosts a beautiful painted folded screen; elegantly finishing off a corner of this distinguished room, it exemplifies how folding screens can serve as pieces of moveable art.

Folding screens are perhaps limitless in serving as interior design elements. They finish off corners as shown at the Paris Ritz, they screen off and hide storage areas, or as they have been used for centuries in Japanese homes, screens can add important areas of privacy.

It is believed that in Japan screens achieved their full aesthetic potential as important aspects of interior decoration. The resource center of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art tells us that screens originated in China, and that later as folding screens they entered Japan as gifts from the Korean Silla kingdom in 686 C.E.

During the late 16th century the use of a gold foil background for painted screens became extremely popular, allowing the owner to display his wealth and status, and serving a practical purpose as well. In late medieval Japan the construction of stone fortifications made the bright effect of the metallic panels an asset in dark castles.

Japanese homes, whether they were house, temple, or palace, had few permanent interior walls - as much as possible, interior space dividers were kept movable. Folding screens were used as temporary space dividers since they are relatively lightweight, easily folded to portable size and easy to move or store away. In addition, they were used to create private areas in- or out-of-doors, as gifts, as backgrounds for concerts or dancing, and as backdrops for important ceremonies, including Buddhist and other rites. Further:

"When decorated with a painting, a screen also became an object for visual pleasure and a symbol of the owner's wealth and power. And, check this out - screens were usually made to suit the needs and tastes of a particular individual."

Below, the Folding Screen by Proulx shows how a screen can nicely divide between two distinct functioning areas. We see first a dining area with a beautiful mahogany table and apple green upholstered chairs, the screen also giving off an elegant show of light and shadows. On the other side, is a office work area, with a great combination of textured design pieces including a dramatic rug. While screens can help hide the harried work space - which in many home offices is a vital screen need - here the decorative folding screen is merely an alternate, but moveable, wall.

Here are some tips on using a folding screen as an interior design element:

* For larger spaces a room divider can create two cozy rooms within one big space (i.e., add a dressing area to your bedroom by sectioning it off with a room divider).

* A room divider that is used kitty corner can double as storage space between the screen and the wall.

* A painted scenic room divider can be like a huge painting in the corner of your room.

* Need to hide the kids toys? Put a folding screen divider in the corner and just shove the toys behind it!

* A unique use of a room divider is to use it as a headboard.

* A room divider makes a perfect backdrop for plants.

Let your inspiration guide you as you use folding screens creating beauty and function in your home.

Incorporating folding screens as moveable art, or as a cozy room divider can sometimes be a challenge. If you are in need of some professional interior design assistance, our Directory of Designers can help you locate a professional in your area. Working with an interior designer helps assure you get the look you desire while helping eliminate costly mistakes.