Written by Matthew & Rick Bettencourt
Photography Supplied by Bettencourt Manor
As interior designers, one of the biggest hurdles we face in working with clients is challenging them to step outside of their comfort zones when it comes to design; intentionally pushing the envelope in hopes of giving them a unique space that has a sense of personal history.
Our belief is that a family’s home should feel as though it has been furnished over time and curated with mementos of a life well-lived. We happily embrace bold patterns, prints and textures in our work, and challenge our clients to trust our discerning designer eyes to give them a finished space that effortlessly feels as though it is an extension of their family’s personality. We are happy to be sharing some of our favourite designer tips and tricks on how to add personality to your home through incorporating print and pattern into your life.
There is a certain underlining trepidation we face when presenting wallpaper to particular clients of a certain age demographic. Often, if you grew up with wallpaper in your family home, there is no nostalgia for it. Rather, the mentality we often face in response is, “Been there, done that” and “It was nightmare to remove.” While this can be said of traditional wallpapers, with the advances in today’s technology, the finite nature of decades-old wallpaper is no longer a challenge. Today’s wallpapers are available at a better price point, can be installed quickly, and removed without damaging the wall beneath.
When we launched our first textile and wallpaper collection back in 2014, the idea of removable wallpaper was unheard of. While we quickly became known and recognized for our signature bold and edgy prints, there was one thing we heard repeatedly in the beginning: people loved the designs but hesitated about how they would feel about it a few years down the road.
Born as a rebuttal to this way of thinking came non-committal wallpaper – a textured vinyl paper installed with no extra adhesive and simply removed by peeling it off the wall in 30 seconds or less. A wallpaper that can be changed out as frequently or infrequently as you desire and allowing commitment-phobic design aficionados a chance to embrace bolder design.
We would be hard-pressed to come up with a recent client project that did not involve the use of wallpaper in some practicality. When it comes to creating lavish powder rooms, statement entries and accent walls, the use of wallpaper in a home can be as subtle or bold of a statement as you wish to make. Think about using wallpaper in unconventional applications, like on a ceiling or the backs of bookcases. Sometimes, it’s the unexpected details in design that make the biggest impact.
Like a well-assembled outfit, a home should be dressed with a curated collection of soft furnishing – different textures, prints and patterns to create visual interest and a sense of personality.
There is a saying in fashion that anyone can go into a store and buy a head-to-toe look off a mannequin and be fashionable, but it takes a certain eye for style to create your own outfit. The same can be said of interior design. Any furniture store will happily sell you the matching floor model set, but you will be doing yourself a big disservice. Like a well-assembled outfit, a home should be dressed with a curated collection of soft furnishing – different textures, prints and patterns to create visual interest and a sense of personality.
A general rule in design is to invest in pieces that will give you longevity, such as your sofa and custom window treatments, and then through your accent furnishings and décor, inject more of those statement pieces that can be switched out down the road should you fall out of love.
Why not reupholster an accent chair in a bold print or saturated hue, and feel free to switch out your pillows seasonally? Gone are the days when your room design is stagnant. Move things around, bring in new pieces and don’t be afraid to let the room evolve over time and change.
Often when we are at the final styling stages of a design project, we will bring in five times more items than we require to test out options in the space. Don’t be afraid to buy 10 pillows just to return eight. Collect swatches of fabrics for upholstery jobs, test out area rugs on loan and keep your mind open to the many options you have available to you.
ADDING IMPACT TO YOUR WALLS
When working with clients, agreeing on art can be one of the most challenging decisions of the entire design process. Not only for our designer and client relationships, but also directly within the client’s household. Taste in art is subjective. You want your clients to select pieces that resonate with them, but it’s also the artwork that is used as a jumping off point for a design scheme or colour palette. Art can either help pull a cohesive room together or it can boldly clash – the later sometime an intentional design ploy.
When selecting art for a room, scale is one of the biggest deciding factors. Look at investing in larger pieces that will make the most impact as opposed to grouping several smaller items. Art should be conversational, so look for unique pieces that pack a punch.
Art can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add personality into a space, and online art retailers have made purchasing it effortless. Often, when doing the work of curating collections based on subject matter, colour and mediums, it is worth your time to look at online catalogs and open yourself to what is available out there.
Many galleries will also loan out pieces of artwork for customers to try in their homes, and if you find a particular artist whose work you’ve gravitated towards, many of them can be commissioned to create a custom piece to your specifications.
Art is one of the singular pieces in the room that has zero functionality – a purely decorative accent meant to be enjoyed. Keep that sentiment in mind when you’re selecting pieces and remember to push the envelope.