The News & Observer / March 23, 2018
Humans are naturally drawn to curves. They represent our own bodies and give us a sense of comfort and security. But people don’t generally think about curves when it comes to pulling a room together.
At the heart of all design are the concepts of space, line, form (derived from line), light, color, texture and pattern. A comfortable and balanced space has a sense of harmony, contrast and unity.
And what form is often lacking? The curve.
If you’re ready to take the plunge or at least think about your spaces in a curvy new way, here are a few ideas to reflect on.
They can be welcoming
Even in a commercial space, curves can make a small office lobby more interesting and friendly. A curved sofa, round chandelier and curved desk soften the hard and grid-like patterned tiled floor and serve as a counterpoint to the drama of the dark walls washed by recessed lights.
The curving arms of a side chair play off of stripes, and relaxed, slightly metallic window drapes break up a longer wall.
They soothe the senses
Think about using textures and of course, curves, in ways that don’t ordinarily leap into the forefront of your mind.
The long, straight lines of the sofa and the wood and stone unit built onto the wall are contrasted with the curves of the sconces and the camcha-wood base of the “dance console” table (from the Phillips Collection).
Soft and hard finishes, grass wallpaper, natural materials and the fun of the striped fabric on two of the round ottomans give the room a “comfy” feel.
Use round objects with linear ones. The strong horizontal lines of the unit built onto the wall are balanced by the curves in the shapes of the sculptures and plant.
The swirly plates from Doug Frates Glass and the organic form of the amber glass vase both contrast and blend with the hardness of the wood and stone. The faux orchid in a slate container bridges both shape and texture.
Striking a balance
If you’re planning any construction, consider ways to add some really spectacular curve into your space.
A double helix staircase connecting to an office above provides a welcome counterpoint to the strong, sharp lines in this library. The incorporation of arches into the tops of the bookcases also brings in another softening line.
Surprise the eye
Kitchens are another place where curves can be incorporated but are often overlooked. These are rooms filled with those strong horizontal lines which here are reinforced by a long run of tall, rectangular windows.
The pleasant surprises are the arched niches made to house the refrigerator and some cabinets, with the center arch leading to the formal dining room. The round and oval plates add more curves, and the track lighting is bent into what is known as a French Curve. Even the chairs at the counter have rounded backs and seats.
Move the eye
If you’ve been lucky enough to inherit some furniture that you actually like and it’s curvy, that can be the springboard for curves in a room. Curves pull the eye around this living room.
The two leopard-print chairs from the 1940s inspired the purchase of curvy, white love seats, the oval coffee table and the antique chair. While the chair is upright, there are curves. This all plays nicely against the herringbone floor, which is left uncovered for this juxtaposition and to show off the pattern of the floor.
Unless you live in a yurt, dome or igloo, we all live in square or rectangular boxes. Take form into consideration. Whatever your personal style, instead of sticking with straight line, straight line, straight line, take a look around. Embrace those curves.
The designers who participate in the N&O design series are members of the Alliance of Interior Designers at allianceofinteriordesigners.org.