Basic Home Decorating: How to Match Your Furniture & Home Furnishings [PART II]
Updated: Jul 22
In Part I, we’ve learned the basic interior design principles to adhere to while matching your furniture and home furnishings. In Part II of Home Decorating 101, we will focus on the types of materials, accents, and textures that are typically encountered when picking furniture and furnishings for your home. How can you apply the theories picked up from Part I to planning the right finishing touches and decor for your home styling projects? Let this series be your guide with basic home decorating tips you need to know.
Final Touches: Texture & Other Materials
In Part I there is a lot of emphasis on mixing colors for things like wall paint colors with textiles and dinnerware sets and the occasional vases, bowls, wall art, and decorative items. But what about the other materials present in your furniture and furnishings? Texture can not only be found at the above in prints and patterns but also in the other materials found in furniture and decor such as wood, glass, and metal finishings. After previously focusing much on color, let’s put into consideration the types of materials you will typically encounter and how these decors can affect the overall look of your home style.
The color of the wood itself ranges from light to dark which will affect the overall look of your home. Light-colored woods are typically your birch, and maple while dark woods are your walnut and mahogany. Then you have the likes of rubberwood, teak, and oak which come in various light or dark wood variations. Whether you choose to feature wood accents at all in your home decor -- you may even choose to cover the appearance with laminated wood which comes in various kinds of finishes, some even mimicking other natural materials, these days; wood is definitely a material found in a lot of fixtures, furniture, and furnishings. The appearance of light wood makes the interior look airy, warm, homely, and inviting while red and dark woods tend to look more traditional, distinguished, and elegant. Now the question is, should you mix light and dark wood tones? Yes, you should as you rarely often find wood colors that match 100% anyway. This is especially obvious with medium tones and therefore you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. You can safely mix wood tones with a couple of tips in mind such as picking a dominant wood tone throughout (creating emphasis), or mixing light with dark (creating contrast), or simply mixing all mid-toned woods (creating harmony). Another tip for great usage of wood accents is to source for furniture using reclaimed woods for dining or coffee tables or even built into flooring or as wall paneling such as the ones used in our past renovation project at One Robin.
The same thing with your metallic fittings; and that is they don’t exactly match. Here’s a quick tip on whether or not you can or should mix metal finishes at your home! Should you mix metal finishes? Yes, if your color palette is minimalist, i.e. neutrals, whites, creams, blacks, and greys. You can push it with light pastel colors even but it is recommended not to mix metals when your home color palette is already very impactful and rich in color as it then just adds to clutter. This is not a hard and fast rule but just a guide because you can find the anomalies, with homes already having a proliferation of color making mixed metal finishes work. These places are anomalies because they made such a design idea intentional so if you have a design you would like for your customized home, please feel free to approach us with your ideas. What should you do when your furniture has a different metal finish? Oftentimes you can contact your furniture supplier if you can custom order them in another metal finish and usually there really are options to customize. Furniture knobs can also be switched out to fit the chosen metal finishing for your home
Tile & Slab Surfaces
From the highly popular marble to granite to quartz, stone countertops are often used on kitchen surfaces and sometimes on dining tables. But did you know that marble isn’t actually the best option to use as kitchen countertops? Due to marble’s porous nature, food oil and stains tend to seep into the surface leaving particles in there that can be toxic in the long run. A tip for these surfaces is to apply a professional grade sealant on the marble to maintain its non-porosity. If this is too high maintenance for you, consider opting for quartz countertops instead, we use one from Dekton that comes in a marble finish.
Terrazzo slabs are also particularly trendy and IG-worthy these days. These slab countertops bring a unique and fun look to the kitchen and are great as they are nonporous, making them a safe and healthy option for food preparation. They are also most expensive due to the way Terrazzo is made--they contain marble chips set in epoxy-resin and are labor-intensive to produce and install.
Besides looking at stone slabs for the kitchen, oversized tiled countertops fabricated from oversized porcelain or ceramic that can also mimic the look of just about any natural material you want. Tiled surfaces are also popularly used in flooring and besides heavy use in the kitchen, are also mainly used in the bathroom. Not only do tiles come in the traditional ceramic and porcelain, but they also come in synthetic materials that can just be as inexpensive or high quality-depending on the usage and needs you require. Lastly, both wall and floor tiles can come in a huge variety of options in terms of sizing and finish but wall tiles are typically smaller and can be thinner as well due to ease of installation. Mosaic tiles are another exception as they can also be found in both flooring and wall surfaces. These days mosaic tiles are also bonded in sheets for easy installation.
Ceramics & Porcelain
Ceramics are earthenwares that are more often used in casual setting dishware as well as decor. They are made of clay and can normally be found in pots and bowls beyond the kitchen and used as decor as well as for potted plants. Ceramics can come in a variety of painted and colored clay. Porcelain and china are actually fine particle clay and when present in dishware are more delicate and dense as compared to ceramics. They come in white and then printed with color or surface finished after. These days porcelain comes in a large variety of styles and colors, even some mimicking other natural materials, that you can choose from to match your kitchenware with the rest of your home. At Mr Shopper Studio, if you engage our styling services we will supply and do the matching of your dishware set as well. The same goes for pottery and other clay decors you may need for theme-matching and home styling.
Glass, Acrylic & Lucite
Colored glass is 2020s design decor du jour as many homeowners choose to decorate their homes with a vintage retro feel. Colored glass is also a popular choice for when your home is thematic such as our Mediterranean-inspired home and rosy-hued theme projects for our client. Clear acrylic and its higher grade counterpart, Lucite can also look nostalgic as this material was popular in the 90s as people figured out new materials to make furniture. Most recently, these materials made a comeback as well due to how hardy and easy to care these materials are. Notable acrylic furniture includes the highly popular Ghost chair by Phillipe Starck for Kartell and the bubble chair by Eero Aarnio. Use the color matching theory described above to pair these colored and clear materials with the rest of your furniture and furnishings and you’re good to go.
Fabrics & Upholstery
Home fabrics are found in beddings and linens, pillows, curtains, and sofa and range from light cotton prints to thicker satin fabrics like jacquard and damask. They can appear in solid colors and prints and usually play a huge role in creating balance, harmony, and emphasis in an area. Also, printed area rugs can play a very huge role in tying the look of an area and elevate the look of the whole place. Throws can make any living area look superbly homely and come in various fabrications from luxurious wool and mohair fabrics to cozy faux fur blankets.
Another luxurious looking textile that is making a comeback in interior styles lately is plush velvet. They are found used in sofas, padded wall detailing, and even in carpets. The look of velvet often signifies decadence and opulence; it is a fabric that epitomizes luxury.
Hemp and jute are eco-friendly natural materials. Often sporting a casual appearance, these materials are great for a home with pets or children due to its hardy nature thus rendering it fit to withstand daily rough and tumble wear. This natural material also often appears in travel-inspired homes as well such as our Mediterranean-themed home at Bayfront View.
Paintings & Wall Art
Paintings and wall art are important features that add charm and character to your wall. Make use of large abstract texture paintings or graphical poster prints (depending on the overall theme of your home decor) to fill up an empty wall. A gallery combination that’s a collection of frames also adds a lot of visual interest. Take note of the picture frames as part of the wood matching. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors as well these days.
Paintings and wall art do not serve any functional purpose for our homes besides as an expression of ourselves. In Part I, it was recommended that we can save on these and splurge more on things that get the most use at homes such as the bed and sofa. But any art collector and lover would know that there is no denying the appeal of a good piece of artwork that can double as an investment piece while potentially increase in value in the future as well. An easy place to start sourcing for contemporary artwork is the Affordable Art Fair Singapore. Held annually at the F1 Pit Building, the Affordable Art Fair is an exhibition that brings together many local and overseas galleries alike to show their best and affordable contemporary artwork. It is an enjoyable experience to see so many creative minds in one place and to be able to discover your own style to add to your mix of home decoration and furnishings.
Sculptures, Objets D'Art & Miscellaneous Decor
The same goes with sculptures and objets d’art, they mainly serve the purpose of adding design elements or aesthetic to a room. However, with careful art collection and curation, one can increase the value of display items as investment value in the long run.