A Modern Italian Style for Outdoor Living Spaces

Now that summer has finally come, with its sweet, warm breezes and languid outdoor living, you’re fully engaged in making your deck, patio or balcony as stunningly beautiful as your indoor spaces.

You may have your time-honored favorite pieces, pulled out faithfully, year after year.  Then again, you may be looking for a change that refreshes your summer experience.

A modern Italian style for outdoor living spaces can be as simple a change of seating or adding a colorful all-weather rug.  And while the mood matters, enjoying the glorious summer weather is all about comfort and relaxation.

Striking a balance between style and sybaritic pleasure is what a modern Italian style for outdoor spaces is all about.

outdoor modern furniture

Creating Intimacy

Modern furniture gets short shrift from far too many people.  They interpret its clean, simple lines as stark – uninviting.  But nothing could be further from the truth.

All you need to do is look back through the history of modern design to find examples of what we’re talking about. Eames’s iconic lounge chair is just one emblem of comfortable modern style that refutes the perception that it isn’t comfortable.

And with modern furniture, you’re able to create the same intimacy around the fire pit that you do around your dining room table or in your living room.  In fact, sleek modern lines lend themselves to exteriors.  Unfussy and unobtrusive, they offer both comfort and style.

And when it’s modern, there’s little concern about the weather, as modern furniture interpretations very often work in materials which are resistant to heat, moisture and other elemental realities that can cause other types of furniture to deteriorate rapidly.

At Home al fresco

A modern Italian style for outdoor living spaces is at home al fresco.  It’s in the open air that it does some of its most compelling work, in terms of design.

Because of the nature of modern design, outdoor furniture in this style tends not to interrupt the setting.  Rather, it complements it.  Because of its linear simplicity, modern Italian furniture for outdoor living spaces doesn’t compete with your garden, your view of the river or the forest your house backs onto.  It’s there, but subtly so, as you enjoy the pleasures of outdoor living.

outdoor living space

And comfort isn’t sacrificed with modern furniture, despite the perceptions of some.  As we’ve pointed out, the famed Eames lounge chair established modern furniture as a font of comfort.  That font, when expressed in your outdoor spaces, takes the form of sunbeds, Acapulco chairs and sensually-formed tables and lighting solutions that make being outside not only a stylish way to enjoy the fine summer weather, but an imminently comfortable one.

Tradition is a nice thing to have, but outdoor living demands the beauty of modern Italian style, bringing the brief but delicious season of summer something that reaches beyond Adirondacks and fold up chairs with drink holders.

Michelangelo Designs

Since 1985, Michelangelo has been bringing exclusively Italian furniture to the shores of the USA, offered exclusively to the Trade.

Cure the common.  Schedule an appointment.

Hot (and Not) Interior Design Trends for 2018!

Times change and so do interior design trends.  That’s not to say you should run out and replace the contents of your home.

Nope. That would be foolhardy (and wasteful).  Rather, incorporating interior design trends for 2018 may be as simple as a few key tweaks to bring your residence up to the minute.

This post is dedicated to hot (and not) interior design trends for 2018, that you need to know about.  There’s a lot of design news out there right now and a lot of it’s going to make your life better.  All of it’s going to make your home more aesthetically pleasing.

Crypton Textiles

At Michelangelo Designs’ Italian Design Center, we offer professionals in the Trade over 1,000 textile selections, so this is one we’ve dog-eared for future reference.

The demand for greater sustainability in our consumption habits extends to the fabrics we use to dress our walls, furniture and beds.  Sustainability demands that we consume less, so many of us seek durability.

And that’s where crypton textiles are making a difference.  Once upon a time, this type of fabric was universally known for its stiffness and monotonous solid colors.  But today’s rendition offers an array of patterns and a pleasing tactile quality that’s making it a growing trend in interior design.

living room eclectic style

Statement Rugs

As most of you reading will know, Minimalism is on the way out.  The practical seagrass and sisal rugs so popular in that design schema are giving way, this year, to something altogether different.

Statement rugs.

Bold colors and unusual patterns hold sway in 2018, paired with throw rugs in faux cowhide, zebra and other animal prints to create a pleasant, cozy chaos.

And everywhere you go, you’ll find abstract weaves and traditional kilims making it to people’s walls to make the most of this trend.

In general terms, the new trend toward saturated color, lush fabrics and a living space that’s filled with all the beautiful things you love is, in a word, Maximalist.  But Maximalism keeps its eye on sustainability, with the trend toward crypton textiles.  Lush excess needn’t sacrifice environmental responsibility.

So. what’s not hot?  Let’s see a couple of trends we’re happy to see the back of.

Country Clutter

The days of handpainted wooden roosters lining your kitchen cupboards are (mercifully) over. So are self-consciously whitewashed woodwork, anodized aluminum and rose gold fixtures and fittings of all kinds.   Adieu.  You won’t be missed.

Wishy Washy Colors

Blush isn’t really a color.  It’s more an absence of enough color.  This year look for super-saturated, high-pigment shades that are who they say they are.

Timidity is a thing of the past.  One of this year’s hottest trends is a farewell to blush and grey and a hello to all the vibrant colors of the rainbow.

Michelangelo Designs brings exclusively Italian designer furniture to the USA’s shores, exclusively for professionals in the Trade.

Come discover the cure for the common.  We invite you to schedule an appointment to encounter a truly inspirational source for design pros.

The Essence of a Contemporary Classic Home  

The spirit of Italian design is found in its essence.  That essence can best be summed up in one word – beauty.  And while beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder, the Italian aesthetic demands beauty in all things and that beauty is always expressed with superior quality and craftsmanship.

The essence of a contemporary classic home is no different that the essence of Italian design.  Simply. the style “contemporary classic” is directly translated from the original Italian “classico contemporaneo”.  And that’s all you need to know.

The essence of a contemporary classic home is the Italian love of beauty, realized in the finest materials, wrought into the iconic style Italy is known for all over the world.

orange sofa

Classic Materials In the Modern Age

The classic materials Italian design has been renowned for through the ages define the contemporary classic home.  Where you see fine marble cladding walls, creating elegant flooring, or integrated into elements like lamps, tables and décor, you’re looking at classic materials which have made a home in the modern age.

Upholstery is tactile and lush, ranging from velvet to fine leathers and intricate brocades.  Realized with the contemporary flair this style is known for, these fabrics enjoy a renaissance in sleek, modern settings and sinuous shapes, recreating them as modern mainstays.

Wood elements as part of the essence of a contemporary classic home have a warming effect.  Referencing a past marked by exceptionally diligent workmanship, wood appears in this style as a subtle foray into the elegance of earlier times.

Luxury For a New Era

References to Imperial Rome are a unique part of this interior design trend, with tiled floors evoking the palaces of the Caesars.

Geometric patterns which are both bold and sophisticated grace entrance halls and guest bathrooms and may be echoed throughout the home in fireplace surrounds, kitchen tiling and tiled edging in rooms with parquet wood floors.

Again, the key word is luxury.  That luxury is best expressed in the materials used in contemporary classic design, which may be marble, or natural stone with unique characteristics which come to life in your interiors.

Tufting figures prominently when choosing the right furniture for your contemporary classic home.  This upholstering technique has never been more desirable than it is right now.  Juxtaposed with the deceptive simplicity of this style, it enhances the luxurious nature of the materials employed to create the ideal home in this interior design style.

elegant chair

Sleek and Bold

Contemporary classic shapes are sleek and bold.  Clad in the luxury of velvet or leather, they’re timelessly sophisticated.  Rich mustard meets ebony and polished mirror treatments.  Deep indigo meets cream marble, veined with gold.  The interplay of light and dark, hard and soft are the most compelling features of contemporary classic, making your home both a showpiece and a relaxing sanctuary from the world.

Michelangelo Designs is home to the first and only Italian Design Center in the USA.  We invite Trade professionals to schedule an appointment to discover a cure for the common.

Designer Tips for Creating a Healthy, Non-Toxic Home

While we all desire a healthy, non-toxic home, style conscious people are usually a little concerned about introducing an element into their living space which may detract from their interior design scheme.

Well, we have good news for the style conscious.  Our designer tips for creating a healthy, non-toxic home won’t put a dent in your residential aesthetics.  In fact, with the trend toward reducing toxicity in our personal environments and the new global sustainability consciousness, you don’t have to sacrifice style for wholesomeness.

We’re about to show you some key designer tips for creating a healthy, non-toxic home.

wooden desk by a wooden wall

Avoid the Lure of Plastic

Before we warn you off plastic as part of your home design scheme, we should make it clear that not all plastics are created equal.  Today’s plastics, derived from organic materials like hemp, can make a difference to your home environment, while delivering the same stylish flair.

But conventionally manufactured plastic emits gases which are proven to be deleterious to your health.  Those gases can wind up mingling with dust in your home to create toxic combinations which exacerbate allergies, reduce air quality and make your home unhealthy.

Ventilation Matters

Adequate ventilation in your home ensures the circulation of things like dust, which can accumulate in a home that’s poorly ventilated.

Air flow moves air into your home that’s been oxygenated (especially if you live near a wealth of trees) by plant life, exchanging stale air for fresh.

Ventilation is important in all areas of your home, but the kitchen should be a focus.  That’s especially true if you char meat indoors.  The carcinogenic properties of charring when released into the air can seriously impact domestic air quality. Maybe take it outdoors.

Natural Fibers

Was your carpeting in place when you moved into your home?  If that’s the case, then chances are that it’s emitting chemical agents into the air which aren’t good for the health of your family.

Seek out flooring that’s naturally derived.  The same goes for upholstery.  Flame retardants, allergen inhibitors and flame retardants are all made from toxic compounds which are released into your home’s air every minute they’re there.

Seek out alternatives which are not only manufactured from natural substances, but which aren’t treated with chemicals purported to prevent problems you can deal with in better ways and which are unhealthy, in the long term.

living room chair

Mind the Moisture

One of the health threats in your home that’s most controllable is also one that’s very common – mold.

This unpleasant material which burgeons in the presence of moisture can cause numerous health problems.  Keep your eye on moisture incursion and do your family a favor by reducing mold.

Michelangelo Designs

These designer tips for creating a healthy, non-toxic home are offered in the hope of healthier living spaces.

There’s no need to sacrifice style for your health.  At Michelangelo, Trade professionals get it all, creating endless opportunities for visually stunning, healthy interiors.  Exclusively Italian design was made for times like these.

We invite Trade pros to schedule an appointment.

How to Use Luxury Custom Furniture in Your New Jersey Home


You’re ready to add a little luxury to your home.  Now that you’re well-established and the kids are grown and on their way out the door, you’re ready to invest in luxury custom furniture to make your dreams of a gracious living space come true.

But maybe you’re hesitating.  Maybe you believe that adding luxury custom furniture to your New Jersey home is going to make everything else look dated or shabby.  But it’s vision that dictates how you’ll achieve the desired effect and vision is a highly individual thing.

In this post, we’ll give you a little nudge in the right direction about how to use luxury custom furniture in your New Jersey home.  We hope to send you off inspired and ready to make the changes that re-create your home environment.

luxury living room furniture

Setting the Scene

Your first and most important step is taking stock of what you’ve got.  Do you want a more profound change than just a couch or a pair of tub chairs can manage?

Changing the setting is a good place to support the introduction of luxury custom furniture.  When you have the wall color and flooring right, it’s easy to build your dream.

The question of color right now isn’t limited to paint or the shade of laminate faux wood flooring you desire.  Color now shoots off in numerous directions, in brilliant statement rugs, tile flooring and wallpapers that can set the scene for luxury custom furniture.

Build it and your new pieces will feel at home with what’s already there.

Choosing Well

The living room is where many people choose to stick their toe in the water when they’re seeking profound interior design change.  How to use luxury custom furniture in your New Jersey home is boldly, but intelligently.

Your sofa may have seen better days, or maybe you need to switch up the coffee table.  But a new sofa is a stellar place to start because from there, you can build your desired theme, gradually exchanging pieces as you move along.

Select something enduring.  The latest contemporary shape isn’t going to work if the rest of your living room veers to colonialist reproductions.  Choose something that works with what you’ve got, upholstered in a lush fabric like velvet in a rich color to complement the work you’ve done on the floors and walls to set the scene.

Don’t Rush

Luxury custom furniture is an investment that will be gracing your home for decades to come, so don’t rush when selecting the piece that’s going to signal a sea change.

Take your time.  Join Pinterest and scroll through the myriad design pages you’ll find there.  When you see something you like, save it to a thumb drive named “luxury custom furniture”.  This way, you’ll develop a clear idea of what you really want and what speaks to you.

Then, choose the luxury custom furniture that inspires you.  You’ll find you want to keep going!

Michelangelo brings exclusively Italian furniture exclusively to the Trade.  Schedule an appointment.

Ways to Make Your Dining Room Furniture the Star of the Show

If you entertain regularly, you’re fond of having people over and sharing the delights of your home with them.  You’re no doubt a dab hand in the kitchen, but if you’re here, you’ve probably got beautiful dining room furniture you’d like your guests to notice.

People who entertain often focus on the more temporal aspects of having company around.  Good conversation and fine food figure prominently.  But the setting is what really makes the evening and that means creating an ambience that makes your guests feel welcome and a little spoiled.

This post focuses on ways to make your dining room furniture to the star of the show.  It’s beautiful.  You’ve chosen it carefully and now you want to create a setting that does it justice.

Read on.

The mood

If you’ve ever eaten under the harsh lights of a cafeteria, you’ll know how intrusive and annoying overhead lighting can be.  That’s why you want to avoid that effect in your dining room.

You’re not just having your friends over for dinner.  You’re inviting them into your world.  That world is thoughtfully lit with a pendant light which hangs over the center of your dining room suite, illuminating perhaps a large art glass bowl, or a magisterial arrangement of seasonal flowers, flanked by flickering candles.

Wall sconces are also at home in the dining room, providing peripheral light which doesn’t spoil the mood or detract from the central features you want most to highlight – your dining room furniture.

Lighting should cast a glow, not a glare.  Choose options which allow your guests to see the beauty around them, while making your dining room furniture the star of the show.

dining room Oreste

Grounding the space

If you’ve taken our advice about a fixture which illuminates your dining table at its center, then you’re well on your way to grounding the space and sharpening its focus to star of the show, your dining room furniture.

You’ll want to take the extra step of finding just the right rug that will be the final masterstroke toward a refined focus on the room’s central elements.

Here’s where you can go mad.  Your rug needn’t match the walls, the furniture, the art, or anything else for that matter.  It can reference them, instead, creating an island of dining pleasure by clearly delineating the space and its boundaries.

A good rule of thumb for a dining room rug is to leave 18 inches on all four sides.  If that’s not possible, choose something smaller, which leaves an 8-inch border from the back legs of the chairs when they’re pulled out (as though a guest were sitting in them).

Choosing a high impact color or pattern (animal prints like zebra, or patterns which speak of them, are huge right now) grounds your dining room and your dining room furniture becomes the star of the show.

Michelangelo has been bringing the riches of Italian furniture design to the shores of the USA since 1985.  We invite Trade professionals to book an appointment.

Displaying Old and New Luxury Furniture Together

Contemporary interior design is rapidly evolving out of constricting dogmas of consistency of styling.  Disparate styles are now brought together as a matter of routine, creating something entirely new.

This trend is reflected in the Eclectic, Bohemian and Maximalist trends which are dominating the world of home design right now.  Even in the most carefully curated rooms, the modern interior design impulse is toward mixing the old with the new.  But how?

Designers, instead of choosing an era or style, choose unifiers like color, pattern and theme to create rooms with select pieces which don’t need to come from the same era or design school to relate to one another in perfect harmony.

Let’s find out more about displaying old and new luxury furniture together.

Symmetry and line

One of the most important aspects of displaying old and new luxury furniture together is to seek symmetry and to find balance in the lines offered by pieces you already have, or plan on acquiring

Furniture pieces from different eras and design styles can work together when you consider how balanced they are.  For example, things which are a similar or the same color won’t necessarily work, if they’re so diverse in terms of scale and interpretation that they butt up against each other.

Find balance and harmony in lines that speak to and echo one another.  This is a subtle approach to blending eras and styles which takes a little thought but pays tremendous dividends.

From the ground up

When you seek to create harmony between contrasting epochs of design, the floor is always a good place to start.  Seek out a large rug to accent your furniture and create a critical focus for your disparate design elements.

Oriental rugs lend themselves very well to this, with their vibrant colors and patterns, but just as useful is a handloomed rug with a consistent pattern that serves to ground the space it’s in and create context for your design vision.

But geometrics are huge right now, so don’t rule out choosing a rug with a geometric design that’s bold and references original iterations from ethnic weavers.


Now that the rug’s down, it’s time to talk about art and how it can serve to tie your room together.  Modern art is especially effective for this.  Whether representative or abstract, modern art creates a focus which grounds your room in the modern age.  An interesting alternative is modern art referencing classic art pieces from antiquity or later ages.  This ties in with you old/new furniture mix, also.

Go large, accenting your central art piece with smaller pieces that help build on your eclectic theme.

Michelangelo Designs

At Michelangelo Designs, we’ve been bringing the riches of Italian furniture design excellence to the USA since 1985.  Since then, we’ve been marrying that excellence to American ingenuity to create the perfect synthesis.

We import exclusively Italian furniture and make it available exclusively to the Trade, in architecture, real estate development, interior design and retail.

Ready to cure the common?  Contact us.

Use Color to Help Your Dining Room Furniture Stand Out

If there’s one thing that can be said about contemporary design trends, it’s that color is back and bigger than ever.  White walls are giving way to glorious exclamations of vibrant color in every room of the home.  Even hotel properties are getting in on the color action, with many properties embracing the trend to give their accommodations a personalized touch of design panache.

In the world of design, it’s color that really winnows the conventional from the superlative.  When wisely deployed, it can create from the banal something truly sublime.

This post is all about how you can use color to help your dining room furniture stand out.  If you’ve invested in a high-end dining table and chairs, a buffet, or other fine furnishings, then the last thing you want is for it not to be noticed.

That’s why color is your friend.

red dining room

Color is now

We’ve written about Maximalist design here before.  It’s huge right now.  And you can bring it into your dining room to create the ideal environment for your stunning dining room furniture, making it the undisputed start of the show.

Ultra Violet is Pantone’s color of the year.  Upholster your dining room seating in this color and match it with a floral centerpiece that sets the scene.  Or use it on the walls to create a backdrop for your elegant furnishings.

Choose a deep, warm version of the color to envelop your guests in the cozy delights of a meal with friends, as your dining room furniture takes center stage.

Or choose Black Flame (that sensuous marriage of black and navy blue) for contrast and theatricality, with ultra violet upholstery popping against this enigmatic backdrop.


Color isn’t just for upholstery and walls.  Color can be used to place your dining room furniture at the heart of the action, by selecting artwork that does the job.

Now that you’ve got the walls painted and the chairs upholstered, choose art that’s both bold and which creates a tension between the color or colors you’ve chosen.  Your art should bring everything else in the room into focus, while creating conversational opportunities to keep your dinner party lively.

Cluster artwork around a theme or color scheme.  Choose frames that compliment your furnishings, while allowing them to shine.

patchwork chair in colors

Table settings

Table settings demand your attention, when you’re seeking to create an ambience of hospitality and sensual enjoyment around your dining table.

Choose settings which either contrast or blend with your table top (depending on the effect you’re seeking).  Layer that effect to intensify it with elegant chargers and full table settings in contrasting colors and unusual patterns.

A mix of bold, solid colors and lively geometric or floral patterns in an intentional table setting is another trend you’ll want to play with.

Color is a gift.  It brings another dimension of beauty to interior design and yet another way to customize spaces and express the homeowner’s taste and lifestyle.  We recommend applying it liberally.

Trade professionals – contact us to schedule an appointment.

Décor to Compliment Your Luxury Furniture

Luxury furniture is made to grace your living space with the extraordinary.  Meticulous craftsmanship, high-end materials and enduring quality deserve to be surrounded by décor that speaks to its excellence.

The trick is expressing yourself in the context of furnishings you’ve purchased to create a certain feeling.  Whether you’ve chosen modern, traditional or a blend of both, creating a balanced environment is top of mind when choosing décor to compliment your luxury furniture.

We thought we’d point to some key contemporary trends.  You’re here because you love luxury furniture, so you know what moves you.  We know you’ll take these décor trends and adapt them to mesh with the exquisite luxury furniture in your home.

PRO-TIP:  Contemporary trends are not to be confused with fads.  Your home is for keeps, so keep it stylish, elegant and true to your vision.

Setting the mood with color

While white walls may suit the sensibilities of some, in terms of design and décor they’re rather decisively over.

colorful chairs

The most compelling trend in wall colors for the home tracks to creating a sense of coziness and tranquility.  Walls today are taking on highly-saturated paint and paper treatments in darker colors.  While that may not be your “thing”, you can employ the trend to compliment your luxury furniture.  What’s more compelling than a plush chartreuse recliner against a deep navy wall?

Black Flame (a compromise between navy and black) provides the ideal setting for luxury furniture, creating a sensation of sanctuary and a backdrop for your discerning taste.  But don’t stop at the walls!  Take it to the ceiling and embrace another key décor trend.

Luxe fringe

No longer confined to throws, pillows, blankets and the odd Tiffany lamp, fringe has broken from its stuffy confines to take pride of place in lighting solutions, mirrors and even furniture pieces.

The touch of whimsy and over-the-top luxury provided by fringe is being expressed this season in natural, tactile materials.  Spilling over to create additional texture and interest, fringe can be deployed in numerous ways that set off your luxury furniture.

art cafe style

Get intense

With the Maximalist design and décor trend in full swing, intense color is a trend anyone can incorporate into their homes.

With the addition of select décor (arts, cushions, glass and ceramic ware), your luxury furniture is re-created in a distinct design moment.  Pops of intense color bring that moment to your aesthetic, making it your own.

Combine this trend with a soothing, unifying wall color like Black Flame and give your luxury furniture its contemporary due.  And if you’ve a piece which is a deep red hue, you’re ahead on all fronts.

Michelangelo Designs

Since 1985, Michelangelo Designs has been bringing the luxury, elegance and timeless sophistication of exclusively Italian furniture design exclusively to the Trade.

As the first and only Italian Design Center in the USA, we offer Trade professionals a creative playground, inspiring the perfect synthesis between Italian design and American ingenuity.

We invite Trade professionals to contact us for an appointment and discover the cure for the common.

Investing in High Quality Custom Furniture for Your Bedroom

Your bedroom is the sanctuary of the home.  It’s where you sleep, relax and pamper yourself.  A highly personalized space, your bedroom is an important part of your residence that people too often tend to bypass when thinking about adding high quality custom furniture.

But it’s your special space, so it’s worth taking the time to consider how you can add the luxury of custom furniture to your beloved sanctuary – the bedroom.

This post will explore investing in high quality custom furniture for your bedroom, key pieces which may be ripe for an upgrade and treatments that bring the thoughtfulness of your overall decorating and furnishing themes into the most intimate part of the home.

Mantellassi bedroom


Even if your bedroom is small, adding a seating element brings another touch of luxury and repose to your personal retreat.

Whether you choose an elegant slipper chair in tufted velvet, or have space for a sinuous chaise longue, seating in the bedroom contributes to an air of intentional privacy and exclusivity.

Add a small, round table in one of the new high gloss finishes to bring a luxurious glow to your seating area.  If your space won’t accommodate a larger seating area, a slipper chair with a whimsical cushion that complements your décor or a luxurious throw in a natural fiber, provides an additional level of pampered personal privacy.

Lighting and mirrors

Beautiful lighting solutions are one of the most important features of the bedroom.  From chandeliers over the bed to heighten its focal attraction, to bedside lamps on either side to bring your space symmetry and ambiance, lighting should never be overlooked in this space.

But the effect of the right lighting can be taken to another level when its illumination is reflected in well-placed mirrors.  Mirrors bring sparkle and a kind of magic to any space and this is no truer than it is in the bedroom.

The warm glow of light reflected in mirrors increases the ambience and lends the illusion of space, while reflecting the experiential aspects of your décor’s mood back to you.

Headboards and bed frames

The focal point of the bedroom is where you lay down at night – the bed itself.  Beyond the mattress (which is incredibly important), the frame and headboard are of to be carefully chosen.  We’d say that the bedframe and headboard are the foundation on which the rest of the room is built.

Choose a headboard to suit the mood of the room.  From four-poster treatments to sleigh beds to wraparound head and footboards, the market is limitless in terms of stylistic treatments.

Flirt with the trend to luxurious, tactile fabrics with velvet in a jewel tone against a tranquil, deep wall color.  Or make your bedding the star of the show with a neutral toned frame that works with changing seasons, but never competes with your bedding treatments as you change them.

Above all, select the pieces that speak to you of luxury and relaxation.

Professionals in the Trade may contact us to schedule an appointment.

Style Rules: Effortlessly Casual but not Shabby

Sprezzatura is the Italian word we’re going to use to define what this post is about.

Sprezzatura describes achieving elegance with no apparent effort.  When it comes to home interiors, living space is for living.  Plastic on the living room furniture is the most extreme expression of discomfort with any actual living going on, but there are many other manifestations of a rigidly formal interior.

To create an interior which is effortlessly casual but not shabby, it’s clear that part of your effort should be dedicated to quality.  It’s in quality and a clear aesthetic that you avoid “shabby”.

Let’s review the style rules for effortlessly casual but not shabby home interior design.

Casual comfort

white sand beach chair slipcovers

When casual comfort is the goal, you can retrofit any design scheme to express it.  Those most adaptable are American and French country and rustic.  But Maximalism is another current, hot trend which lends itself to casual comfort.

Your upholstered furniture is lush and cushy, when you’re seeking casual comfort.  That needn’t describe every single piece you own, but a key piece in each room adds to the effect.  Add slipcovers in a warm color to heighten the effect.

In a casual context, colors are usually rather muted.  This may suit some, but if your taste runs more to the bold color spectrum, add it whimsically, incorporating color in an overstuffed wingback adorned with a cranberry canvas slipcover, or add a bright area rug which ties in with key décor elements.

Cozy throws and blankets and nests of feather pillows (perhaps covered with cross-stitch embroidery) bring the look the true comforts of home, without making things look shabby.

Shabby that isn’t

Shabby chic has been around for quite a while as a design trend and many continue to employ it in their homes, either as an overall theme, or in small doses to create an inviting, relaxing interior.

But shabby isn’t always “funky” (in that bad way).  Shabby chic is more about patina and a sense of pieces having lived many lives than it is about looking worn out.  Patina is a keyword with the look we’re talking about.

Texture is another important word in the lexicon of the effortlessly casual interior.  Choose nubby, handloomed items and treatments for upholstered furniture.  If you select leather, don’t shy away from the patina indicating use over time.  That patina is an emblem of comfort, enjoyment and the piece’s witness to lives lived well.


tufted ottoman

Effortlessly casual interiors embrace you when you enter them.  Furniture pieces which work best for this look are large and chunky.  They’re not delicate, as delicacy can indicate impermanence in a living space intended to convey the timeless enjoyment of life.

Details like tufting, pleating and contrasting trim are homey and add a more finished effect.  Antiques and reproductions of antiques offer a sense of historical continuity.  No one needs to know that hutch wasn’t handed down by a beloved family matriarch.

Trade professionals seeking a cure for the common are invited to contact Michelangelo Designs to schedule an appointment.

Design Trend – When Royal Meets Rustic

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, the Royals of the world lived in far more rustic contexts than those they do today.  But just one example of the longstanding Royal affection for rustic locales is Queen Elizabeth of England’s for Balmoral Castle.

When at Balmoral, Her Majesty is known to ramble outdoors, her signature headscarf, tweed and wellington rubber boots protecting her from the brisk winds Scotland is known for.

That image alone provides a window into this design trend – when royal meets rustic.

Natural elements fit for a Queen

This design trend’s signature feature is the liberal use of natural materials, paired with lashings of Baroque ornamentation.  But there are not just any natural materials.

Burled wood features prominently, as do fur and leather.  You’ll also find brass studded upholstery and period-inspired turned wood and metalwork as the bases for sleek tables in glass, stone and wood.

Seating is coddled in lush furs (imitations for those who object), with cow skin rugs gracing highly polished wood plank floors.

Over the natural stone fireplace hangs the modern effigy of a stag, while the sitting room’s high ceiling is tamed to human scale with a large, wrought iron chandelier hanging low over the seating area.

rustic interior design

Wild meets stately

Imagine the cross-section of a large tree becoming a dining room table.  Its edges retain their natural shape, but the table top itself is heavily lacquered and supported by graceful (almost industrial) metal legs which curve elegantly outward.

Around it sit plush velvet chairs, upholstered in the traditional way – with brass studs.  In the corner, next to the sleek, modern buffet, sits a large, black leather wingback.  It’s embraced by white fur which wraps around it, nestling the chair in warmth.

The walls are as highly-lacquered as the table, covering every inch of wall space in the luxury of burled wood.  Those elegant walls are graced by large mirrors, framed in ornate resin frames in the Baroque style.

The context

So, you don’t live in Balmoral Castle.  Your humble abode isn’t equipped with vaulted ceilings supported by heavy wooden beams.  But you can still achieve this look by incorporating its elements into your home and creating a context which hints at more regal surroundings.

Textured wall treatments can easily be created.  Online tutorials abound for this purpose.  Mimic the look of wood or choose a color that works for your space sponged over with gold.  Finish the look with contrasting veining to imitate the look of marble on a feature wall.

A chandelier of deer’s horns or a vintage wrought iron piece hanging over a key seating area create the illusion of royal grandeur, while imparting a sense of warmth and intimacy.

Another wonderful way to set the scene for rustic meets royal is with wallpaper.  Choose subtle renditions which include gold or silver foil and classic patterns of vines and flowers.

At Michelangelo Designs, we’ve created a cure for the common.  We invite professionals in the Trade to contact us to schedule an appointment.