There are lots of ways to make a big, bold statement when decorating. A daring paint color, audacious wallpaper, a substantial piece of furniture — these elements confidently proclaim, “Here I am!”
But decor that whispers is equally interesting. And in the season of long, sun-dappled days and mellow evenings, a gentler vibe might be just the thing.
In furniture and tabletop, look for materials that are lacy, translucent, opaque. Pieces off which, and through which, light can reflect. In soft furnishings, think about faux fur, summer-weight wool, cotton and chiffon. In all, the feeling is understated and relaxing.
New Yorker Lindsay Saccullo has her own interior design firm and also advises at Laurel & Wolf, the online home decorating site. She says that when going for a soft, light look, “don’t be afraid to go for ‘heavier’ forms. For example, the perfect mix could be a traditional coffee table, but made of Lucite.”
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams have designed the Melrose collection of Art Deco-inspired cocktail and side tables. Polished stainless steel and acrylic legs support two slabs of glass, creating pieces that take up little space visually but pack a style wallop. (www.mgbwhome.com )
Chinese designer Song Wen Zhong’s stackable Ava chair is a slim sliver of polymer, available in smoky, watery organic hues. (www.roche-bobois.com )
“Since translucent/transparent furniture can feel ‘cold,’ don’t be afraid to warm it up with some textiles or upholstery,” advises Saccullo. She suggests cozy, faux-fur throws or small rugs as cushions for acrylic dining or office chairs. (www.laurelandwolf.com )
Shaggy, soft Tibetan wool pillows and throws from Restoration Hardware also might do the job. And the retailer has alpaca boucle throws air-spun to create a light-as-feathers textile. (www.rhmodern.com )
Soft Sherpa fleece covers PBTeen’s squishy Cloud loveseat, an option for small apartments and dens. (www.pbteen.com )
Casting in translucent, golden honey resin, Brooklyn artist Leonard Ursachi makes one-of-a-kind lighting that glows like enormous fireflies. The fixtures are molded using fallen branches and driftwood that Ursachi scavenges from parks and along rivers. (www.calatordesign.com )
Los Angeles studio Arktura uses lasers to cut patterns into steel tables and benches. The designs have an organic, cellular look, and when light passes through them, the effect is artful. (www.2modern.com )
Tufted linen and velvet ottomans at Anthropologie soften the form of this versatile furniture piece. The store also carries voile curtains with a saucy, ruffled trim — lingerie for the windows. Flowers made of ruched cotton voile and jersey make the Georgina duvet cover a romantic confection for the bed. (www.anthropologie.com )
Get a little more literal with the look by replacing your shower curtain with one of CafePress’ fun designs featuring photo-printed, puffy white clouds scudding across azure skies. (www.cafepress.com )
If the softer style sufficiently intrigues you, consider wall and floor coverings, too.
New Ravenna has a collection of tile incorporating iridescent glass, ceramic and stone in creamy tones. One pattern has butterflies flitting across it; on another, hand-cut mosaics form a cloud pattern against a gentle blue sky. Collections from Spanish company Aparici are glazed in a satiny, mother-of-pearl finish that glows. (www.newravenna.com; www.aparici.com )
Valspar’s Signature Brushed Pearl paints and Sherwin-Williams’ Cashmere paint with pearl finish give walls a lustrous, iridescent glow. (www.valspar.com ; www.sherwinwilliams.com )