Glamorous Dream Rooms
Karla J. Nielson
What is glamour? It has two divergent but applicable kinds of definitions:
First, glamour has been defined as an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness such as envisioned as the dazzling effects of vintage Hollywood sets. We might think of this kind of glamour as ritzy and glitzy, and assuredly it represents high-end luxury. This kind of glamour may conjure up images of early stage or screen divas, sometimes in a historic Art Deco or Mid-century Modern movie star setting.
Second, glamour is defined as an alluring or fascinating attraction as affiliated with the widely popular “glamour girl” image. That look, so prevalent in women’s apparel, is focused on in-style high fashion. It is usually a look that is sophisticated or chic with great attention to detail. Every minute portion of the look has been carefully manicured so as to appear “perfect.” It reflects the most up-to-date image of what is in fashion.
In interior design, glamorous dream rooms are a little bit of each of these definitions. They do give a romantic illusion of high-end luxury, even if they are not pricey. They are certainly attractive—places with visual and romantic appeal. They also are often based on haute couture or high fashion clothing. Yet in interiors, fashion does not need to be fleeting as it is in the fashion apparel market. It may possess a long-lived loveliness where the satisfaction of experiencing glamorous living carries on for years, not just a fashion season.
CREATING THE GLAMOROUS DREAM ROOM
Creating glamorous dream rooms is an exciting part of current interior design trends. It may even be the motivation for some to become involved in the field of décor and home furnishings. A love for fabric is nearly always at the heart of glamorous dream rooms. Yet before the fabric installations, good backgrounds must be established. This means the architecture should be pleasing in color and proportion.
Handsome flooring and walls are essential as higher quality background elements. Furniture pieces likewise should be scrutinized to be well proportioned and suitable, also with higher quality in mind in both form and construction.
Although we often think of glamour as dazzling to the eye, today’s glamour is more often understated and exquisitely beautiful. This is usually the result of careful planning that involves a generous amount of well-placed textiles. On the floor, this might mean an Oriental or designer rug atop wood, marble, other stone floors or wall-to-wall carpeting. Upholstery is seen in richly appointed textiles including historic fabric as well as leather.
Focusing on the window and the bed are classic ways to create a dreamy, glamorous room. Here are some ideas of ways to incorporate fabric to create a glamorous dream room:
• The layering of fabrics—sheers, overdraperies and valances bespeak luxury and elegance. For privacy, there may be a draw drapery or an alternative treatment, especially one that uses fabric such as cellular shades or horizontal or vertical shading products. Custom Roman shades as drapery under-treatments are handsome, and Austrian or Parisian (more relaxed version of Austrian) shades are especially elegant, particularly in a scintillating fabric.
Many polyester fabrics have the iridescence of silk but with the durability we expect in window coverings today. Beautiful rooms most often showcase irresistible draperies that feature layered, sensuous, flowing fabric.
Lavish multiple use of fabric is a sure way to create a glamorous dream room. Consider using the same fabric as both bed and window coverings. A valance that also coordinates bed to window atop drapery panels can be gorgeous eye-candy, particularly when the valance, as well as the leading edge of the drapery, is trimmed with lustrous fringe. Rope and tassels as tiebacks are glamorous, as well.
Inside a bed area, a canopy establishes a finished, tailored design.
Draperies that are secured with tiebacks or hang straight at the bed’s four corners may touch or pool onto the floor. Puddles of fabric on the floor are especially impressive. Drapery panels placed behind an upholstered headboard is a sure mark of glamour. Draperies around a bed can be opaque or sheer, and may be double installations seen where one fabric is an outer decorative textile and a different, coordinating drapery is seen in the intimate inner bed area.
• The bed itself is a focal point for glamour. A beautifully appointed bed can become an artistic masterpiece and may establish prestige. Bed skirts or dust ruffles have a wide variety of styles and may even be overlaid as sheer atop an opaque fabric. Consider dressmaker detailing in duvets, coverlets and bedspreads. Coverlets are bedspreads that are short, and so are flatter and less puffy than comforters. Coverlets are considered far more sophisticated, and allow for special trimmings and surface ornamentation over the bed skirt—think of them as the decorative top layer of an exquisite layered cake, or perhaps as the frosting on the cake.
• Always consider passementerie and custom trimmings. Fringe, braid, tassels, ruffles, cording, banding and jewelry are finishing touches that are prestigious additions. These special effects—from fine silk to glittering jeweled beadwork—are often the difference between nice draperies and sensationally glamorous window treatments and bed appointments.
• Contrast the fabric appointments with color. The white draperies with gold overlay in the photo on the previous page is a perfect example of the way a color contrast adds exciting attractiveness to a room. Color has great psychological power to create luxury and glamour.
• Take the fabric to the limit. In addition to draperies and window treatments and bed appointments, use fabric for other custom applications. These might include table covers, seat cushion upholstery, boudoir seating pieces, slipcovers, embellished designer pillows, shower curtain ensembles, even trash can and tissue box covers. And while we’re at it, even the pet bed duvet. Use fabric to drape or upholster walls and ceilings for extra sound insulation.
Glamorous dream rooms must begin in the mind. As the sales process proceeds, consider using some of these words to secure the image in the customer’s mind’s eye: alluring, exciting, enchanting, stunning, thrilling, attractive, beautiful, good-looking, sophisticated, prestigious, high-profile, high-status, attractive, glittering, glitzy, stunning, evocative, handsome, sensual and, of course, dreamy and glamorous!
GLAMOUR INDOORS; GLAMOUR OUTDOORS
Glamour need not stop at the window. Lavish use of fabric is seen sometimes outside the home where flowing draperies surround a poolside pergola. Comfort and elegance in outdoor spaces is a goal of many homeowners. Having put their interiors in order, many people are looking outside and saying, “This has possibilities!”
Upscale leisure living in one’s own backyard is an appealing alternative to resorts—no special travel arrangements are required to walk outdoors to one’s own private place of glamour and beauty.
Karla J. Nielson, Allied ASID, WCAA, is assistant professor of design at Brigham Young University. She has authored several books including Window Treatments, Understanding Fabrics and Interiors: An Introduction, 3rd Ed. Nielson is a regular correspondent for Draperies & Window Coverings addressing the areas of fashion, education and merchandising.