Decorating Advice to Steal From Your Suit
When my clients ask me what I mean by “the tailored look,” I often refer to a beautifully tailored suit. Much like a fine suit, a tailored decorating scheme must be custom fit perfectly, with close attention paid to function as well as comfort. As Leo, my tailor, sums it up, “Sophie, it’s quite simple: Tailor made is made to measure. It works with you and your body. It is structured; it is in proportion; the lining is as important as the buttonhole; and the drape of the fabric is as important as the stitching.”
We can take Leo’s suit-tailoring points into our homes by creating a balanced style that has strong lines, a harmonious color palette and a scheme in which every fine detail is as important as the next. Here’s how to get a tailored look your home will love to wear forever.
1. Find a focal point. What’s the focal point of a great suit? It’s not usually the tie or the pocket square; often it’s the large block of shirt material, the structure of the lapel or the shape of the shoulders. When creating a tailored room scheme, employ this theory and create a focal point using large artworks, a block of wall color or a tonal wallpaper feature wall. These will draw your eye into the scheme without jarring the room’s mood — and the beautiful thing is, you can always change your shirt.
Tip: It seems obvious, but when choosing a focal point, keep in mind that it will most likely be the first thing you see upon entering a room, so it’s important that it’s appealing to you. Great ideas for focal points include fireplaces, artwork, mirrors, a chandelier or a large piece of furniture.
2.Put function first. Where do you plan to wear your tailor-made suit? Is your suit appropriate for the function you are attending? Like your suit, form does follow function in a tailored room. Look at your room and decide what it will specifically be used for. How should it function? For instance, you might want to splurge on custom-built storage for your paper-filled home office, or custom-made modular seating that fits all members of the family in the living room. Once you know how you want your room to work, gather designs to put in a Houzz ideabook so you can further brainstorm with your designer.
3. Don’t forget comfort. There’s no point in wearing a perfectly cut suit that does not allow you to bend at the elbows or knees — comfort is important. Source sofas to suit the proportions of the room — you don’t want the buttons to be bigger than the pocket, so for a large room, opt for large sofas.
The sofa can be soft and generous, but to make it look tailored, team it with a large-scale and structured coffee table with a clean finish in marble or metal.
Tip: As with your suit’s stitching, the perfection lies in the detailing, so edit your coffee table accessories to a minimum — that might mean just a pile of large coffee table books.
4.Use strong lines. As with your well-defined suit, strong lines and shapes help create a structured look. You can create structure with your furniture or rug selection by choosing obviously defined shapes: rectangles, squares and so on.
5.Find your color balance. You probably wouldn’t wear a mustard skirt with a maroon jacket (or come to think of it, you just might). For elegance, color harmony is vital.
Choose a paint color that you respond to, and don’t be shy about it. Paint the walls in that color, and for extra effect, continue over the cabinets and architectural moldings — and slip that paint swatch out of your jacket pocket when choosing your upholstered sofa, pillows and throw.
6. Consider subtle but luxurious fabrics. There’s a reason the pinstripe is still popular, the herringbone is considered dapper, and velvet is … well, the velvet suit isn’t going anywhere. They are all subtle and timeless.
For your tailored look, choose textiles with a plain weave or a subtle pattern or stripe — remember, quality and luxury are key.
Tip: Although human-made fibers are easier to keep clean, hunt down linen, cotton, leather, velvet or wool for your tailored space, and like the pinstripe, your room won’t date.
7. Play with textures. With a sculpted woolen jacket that has faux fur around the trim, the range of textures is what makes it sexy and intriguing. Experiment with different textures for your chic effect — it might be a metallic grass cloth wallpaper with a silver mirror in front of it; it might be a high-gloss console with gold decorative edges and drawer handles; or it might be a lacquered chair with a velvet chair cover. It is the range of textures that is visually exciting.
Tailor made, like Leo says, is made to measure. One size or style does not suit all … but, in the same way as a well-cut suit makes the most of your body shape, a tailored interior makes the most of your home.