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Decorating in a feminine style

From the Resene decorating blog

When it comes to decorating, adding femininity to a room need not mean girlie or over-the-top pink.

A feminine bedroom in the French style

To view more of this project see "In the french style."

In search of the perfect feminine style? When it comes to decorating, adding femininity to a room need not mean girlie or over-the-top pink. Feminine interiors can range from subtly sweet to smart and sophisticated, to elegant or flirty fun.

"Think ladylike: whitewashed timbers, sleek and soft furnishings, textural layering, glitz and glamour, and fresh clean paint colours" says Resene colour consultant Nikki Morris. "Dismiss the thought that to create a feminine look all we need are pink accents, antique-style furniture and floral patterned wallpaper."

Pretty pastels are fine, but too much may result in overboard cutesy. Temper pastels with white or soft metallics and add in personal feminine details.

"I have found the main key is layers, soft layers built up of colour and texture. Knick-knacks – candles, perfume bottles and even jars with flowers – can add to the look. But be warned, there is a delicate line between messy and artfully arranged."

Interior designer Robyn Mickleson of The Design Depot agrees. "It’s about paying attention to the small finishing details," she says. "The use of fresh yet warm textiles (linens and cottons or lookalikes), light walls and surfaces, the use of reflective textiles, crystal and glass accessories, the practical placement and use of lighting, mirrors, the layering of accessories, lace and trim details, and white porcelain."

Curved furniture denotes femininity but the hard lines of contemporary or straight-edged furniture can be softened with the use of soft fabrics and fluffy pillows and cushions. Accent rugs with a soft pile or plush tactile texture also create a feminine feel.

Colour palettes depend on individual taste, but soft, muted colours typically work well in a feminine scheme. You might choose a muted version of your favourite colour to create a soft palette, or add soft painted metallics, such as Resene Metro, Resene ProtonResene Bedrock or Resene Platinum.

Soft blue-greens are especially popular in bedroom settings. Think Resene Scandal (a clear transparent blue) and Resene Edgewater (a pale summery green), both complemented with soft white linen.

A feminine dining room in the French style

You can pair these softer colours with darker or contrasting accents to great effect. Light pastel colours coordinate beautifully with dark browns, blues and even black.

"Try blacking out your walls with something like Resene Blackjack and offsetting the depth and movement with crisp white skirting in Resene Double Alabaster," says Nikki. "Add in a gorgeous chandelier that has some wow factor and minimalist softly textured bedding (in a white or dove grey) with cushions full of texture and glitz for a contemporary look. And for a twist, get yourself a lady mannequin and style her in your favourite cocktail dress, necklaces or vintage-style underwear to complete the look."

A striking palette for Resene Scandal featuring complementary darker hues can include colours such as Resene Ming (a ceramic blue-green), Resene Enigma (a greyed violet-blue) and Resene Jaguar (an inky blue-black).

For a luxe feminine look, liven up your space with hits of hot pink or other vibrant hues.

"One colour I’m itching to use is Resene Colour Me Pink alongside the crisp look of Resene Wan White," says Robyn. "I think this would look stunning, especially with the right use of accessories, furniture and textiles. Also, Resene Night Shadz is an intense blushed pink that would be a great feature alongside a more vintage-style floral wallpaper."

Floral or subtly patterned wallpapers most definitely add feminine appeal, but the patterns need not be overly feminine to get the desired effect. And if you are struggling to find a wallpaper in your desired colour tone, consider the anaglypta wallpapers – a range of heavily textured wallpapers from vintage to modern style.

"They can be painted in any colour of your choice," says Nikki, "even metallic finishes for radical glamour."

Consider your window treatments too, because window coverings can dramatically change the feel of a space.

"Soft airy treatments are common picks this year," says Nikki, "whether they are sheers or voiles, Romans or whitewashed timber blinds. Stay away from anything that feels too heavy such as big dark velvet curtains. Simple coloured curtains with delicate thread detail in silver or gold are becoming much loved soft additions to complete a look. "

Robyn has also noticed a trend towards a softer look.

"I am doing a lot of double track/rod combinations with a lining to the back and the sheer to the front. This gives that soft 'flowy' feel to the space with the added bonus of adding privacy in the daytime while including thermal properties in the night – the best of both worlds."

The hardest part in designing your feminine look is actually at the starting point, says Nikki. But once you get that right, she assures us it will all fall into place.

"Consider the element of the room that will bring you the most joy. Is it a statement wall, maybe a chandelier or perhaps a beautiful vintage bed frame?

Do you have original stunning ornate ceilings that you want to highlight? Once you start asking yourself these questions the rest will slowly start to fall into place as your inner woman helps you find the look that you want to express and feel."

Nikki’s palette of feminine colours and décor hints:

Feminine looks

  • Whitewashed timber
  • Floral prints
  • Bird prints
  • Lace
  • Curves
  • Pastels
  • Chandeliers
  • Watercolours
  • Distressed furniture
  • Textural cushions
  • Shimmer and metallic
  • Vintage accessories
  • Blanket boxes

Sweet romance

*Point of difference – Try a colour on the ceiling like Resene Zumthor to make a soft statement

Soft elegance

  • Wallpaper – Walltrends III – Full Bloom 25676

  • Walls – Resene Half Surrender

  • Curtains – Resene Pause in Pewter

  • Bed Cushion – Resene Waltz in Blonde

  • Bedside Cabinets – Resene Salt Box

*Point of difference – Paint the inside of your walk-in wardrobe in Resene Salt Box

June 17, 2009

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