It is often thought that certain decorating themes should be avoided in certain situations but this is too much of a simplistic statement to hold true in every case. Whereas an ultra-modern home with a kitchen that sports the full paraphernalia of traditional, rustic gadgets would take some getting used to, a traditional old-world cottage with an ultra-modern kitchen often works quite well – as long as you observe some limitations along the way. The idea behind all decorating themes is that nothing at all is set in stone and, with careful preparation and foresight, even the most avant garde decorating themes can work extremely well. It is not really an incongruity of decorating themes that fails to work, but the way the decorating themes are implemented.
Taking the example of an old house, installing a chic kitchen with the adjacent rooms being decorated in chintz gives out the wrong vibes: that is incongruous. However, taking that same old cottage and, from the front door, tasteful alterations have been made which, when you get to the kitchen, actually complements the previous rooms you have trailed through, then the idea is far from incongruous. In a traditional miners’ terraced cottage the front door opens into a traditional hallway and the stairs are generally boxed in. Space is always at a premium and the bathroom is found on the ground floor, after going through the kitchen. There is usually a lobby-area between kitchen and bathroom.
This traditional miners’ cottage has been tastefully modernized, with widened doorways for wheelchair access and sliding wooden doors, each painted in gloss white. The two living rooms have been opened up, retaining the feel of the two rooms, but with access to the back living room through a brick-faced archway. An antique Welsh dresser stands proudly against the left-hand wall as you go through the archway. To your right, the stairs have been opened up and, instead of being closed off with a wall; they are now open with attractive wooden spindles, again painted in gloss white. The hallway, stairs, and both living rooms have been decorated in wedge-wood blue, with hardwood floors in the downstairs rooms and a matching wedge-wood blue carpet fitted up the stairs. A widened sliding door, painted in white gloss leads the way into the kitchen which is the epitome of ultra-modern chic. The floor in the kitchen has laminate flooring, in the same wedge-wood blue as the walls of the previous rooms. The rest of the kitchen is an awesome surprise – a delight to behold. No indication of the delights of this kitchen could ever be imagined from outside the traditional front of this old terraced cottage.
The kitchen cupboards are all fitted in the latest modern gloss finish – in cherry red. The washing machine, cooker and fridge-freezer are all dove grey: the work surfaces are textured matt terracotta. The walls of the kitchen have been painted wedge-wood blue to match the kitchen floor and the decorating theme from the previous part of the house. The kitchen then leads you through another widened sliding white gloss door into a lobby-area whose floor consists of a textured lilac composite. This composite in lilac then continues its theme through to the bathroom. The tiles on the bathroom wall are fuchsia, pink and white, with a shower area made into a wet room – again, all ultra modern. Why should all this work so well in such an old house? It is because the decorating themes are intertwined and work together, taking the beholder’s eyes from the front door through the ground floor on a journey of intrigue. The wedge-wood blue theme flows from hall to lounge to dining room to the wedge-wood floor in the kitchen on to the lilac floor in the lobby and bathroom. The red in the kitchen then flows into the pink, lilac, fuchsia and white of the lobby and bathroom.
It is not so much that decorating themes cannot work in particular settings, it is that decorating themes need to be taken into context so that your eye flows gently from one room to the next, with your brain accepting the flow of ideas you have put forward in your decorating theme. Your decorating themes should tell your visitor a story and should be able to lead them through the house with a continuity of ideas until your decorating theme is unraveled and understood. Conversely, it is just as easy taking an ultra modern setting and playing the decorating theme backwards so that your visitor experiences the taste of tradition and the past as they enter, with additional connotations unfolding before him as he moves through your rooms. Treat your individual rooms as a concerted whole and you have a completely blank canvas to introduce any decorating themes you wish, regardless of your setting.
Source by Augustine Price