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Deborah Harrison, Inside Out Design
Deborah Harrison, Inside Out Design

Nov. 23, 2015 | Deborah Harrison

'Full-filling' our homes

Furniture should speak to your soul

Selecting your furniture is an exciting-but-challenging task in which scale, colour, style and function are all considered.

Yet don't just fill your space; fulfill your space.

Both should feed your soul; it should seduce you into wanting to stay in that room forever, engaging your emotions with serenity, comfort and sensibility. This will happen when you consider the perimeters of your space; appropriately scaled furniture, whether a casual or formal lifestyle, can make or break a lovely design.

I recently attended the Architectural Digest furniture Event in Santa Monica, Calif., which showcased new up-and-coming furniture designers, as well lines of fabulous furnishings and accessories being introduced to the market through already known vendors. Wow!

These talented, hopeful artists created furniture out of everything from reclaimed materials and exotic woods to recycled plastics and polished metals. Each piece sought to bring the most innovative and unique pieces to the forefront of design.

A fabulous example was furniture built using the deadwood from the ponderosa pine trees, killed by the pine beetle. This lumber traditionally ages like fine wine; the longer the tree stands, the more colourful the wood. The result was one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, doors, flooring and panelling. They were must-sees at the show, especially for those who enjoyed the drama of character wood.

Furniture is like architecture inside our homes. We build on and layer until the magnificence of our personal museum, our "homescape," has been created.

With that said, every room should have that one piece to stand out – perhaps something vintage that takes it away from "matchy matchy" (bought it all from the same collection) to a well collaborated and layered design done by a professional.

Try adding an occasional chair with a delicious pop of colour. Maybe resurrect grandma's antique sideboard by painting it with an emerald green high-gloss lacquer. You can almost smell the colour of fresh. Furniture has to relate to each other and the space they occupy. Sometimes you fall in love with a special piece and just make it work.

Most of us are naturally comfortable with things around us that have a sense of balance. Formal balance is where both sides of the room have a mirrored image – as in two sofas across from one another. Informal balance is where different pieces appear to take up the same amount of space visually – for example, a pair or chairs directly across from the sofa.

Both arrangements offer a sense of symmetry and balance. Either way, every room should be tied together with a consistent thread running through it – the continuity of color, and style of furniture.

Furniture, art and even seasonal accessories that speak to you will probably speak to each other. Don't be afraid to expose your ideas. To those who might judge your creativity expressing your taste, just pick a colour, buy a gallon and own it.

What I know to be true is that this is your story – your soul cravings. Let those special pieces speak to you. Answer back and drench them in some high-gloss awesomeness that you can't stop looking at.

Deborah Harrison designer with Inside Out Design please send your thoughts, questions and inspirations to

Tagged: colour | Deborah Harrison | Design | designer | furniture | Guest Column | interior design

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