If rearranging -- not buying -- is going to be the trend in 2009, I think many of us will start paying more attention to compositions in pictures rather than noticing just fabric and wallpaper. The corner arrangement above, in a house designed by A. Hays Town, jumped out at me as I flipped through the great book about his work.
The homeowners' grouping defies the rules. Often decorating guidelines suggest placing two or more paintings, or figures, together instead of dotting lone items around a room. But since these separate pieces are all positioned tightly this composition really works. The chair itself reads like a piece of sculpture, and the brick walls -- a Town signature -- offer so much visual interest. Displays of porcelain figures can sometimes feel very formal and matronly however the one here, casually placed on a low chest, is not uptight at all.
Shelves require even less commitment. Here Julia Reed's personal artifacts are clustered together adding texture to rows of books. I love how the shells are hung informally on the outside of the shelves. And as always, painting the back of a bookcase a striking color is such an affordable way to inject flair.
For those who like a clean approach and prefer to work with a formula of sorts, Accents on Accessories offers these tips: Place the largest volumes on the lower shelves, and add your smaller books to the middle and upper shelves, leaving space for art. The image directly above highlights works by Picasso and Miro, but you could use the same principle with family photos and framed children's art.
In his ever-appealing home Steven Gambrel uses the power of visual repetition. He's orchestrated a stimulating yet harmonious mix of alternating horizontal and vertical lines (with the books) punctuated by similar sculptures in varied sizes.
Equally appealing is Nathan Turner's looser approach. His shelves look as if they evolved over time.
Image one is from The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town, photography by Philip Gould.
Image two is from G & G.
Image three is from Accents on Accessories.
Image four is from Elle Decor, January 2009, photo by William Waldron.
Image five is from domino, December 2008, photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna.