The world of design is so dynamic, you learn something new every day. And sometimes, talking to top designers of the world teaches you more than an academic lesson! The key is to read between the lines. There's always an interesting insight or two hidden in their answers, that point towards a trend that they, either knowingly or unknowingly hint towards. I've learned to listen. And here's what I found out.
A few months ago, during my conversation with interior designer Miles Redd, who always fascinated me with his high-octane aesthetic and uninhibited use of color, mentioned the idea of 'comfy glamor'. It originated from a desire to have a magazine cover-worthy home but one that is so comfortable, you don't need to treat it like touch-me-not. One, where you can put your feet up, hold a glass of wine without being panic-stricken, and deeply relax in, knowing everything will be alright.
This is a home that looks, as if, freshly printed in a magazine, yet secretly furnished with materials that last a long time, and do not tarnish with the slightest stain or dent. A home that is useable, practical, and lovable. Surprisingly, an idea that was also echoed by LA designer Chad Dorsey, Houston designer Mary Patton, and UK-based creative, Cat Dal.
Yes, according to all these superstar names, the biggest interior design trend that will take over 2023 will be 'Comfy Glamor'. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Aditi is a homes writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions aimed at helping readers make the best home design choices. For this article, she spoke to top experts of the world to decode the trend of 'Comfy Glamor'.
So, what is Comfy Glamor?
The pandemic truly changed our relationship with interiors, and our needs and wants from this space have increased tenfold. We want it to look pretty; some even desire maximalism in their interior design, as at-home entertaining has increased. But we also don't want to be spending hours cleaning up this space or worrying about putting a dent on all our prized possessions. Enter Comfy Glamour.
'Homes are our refuge, and people are spending a lot more time here, and so they want a space exactly suited to their needs, yet glam,' says Miles Redd. 'I think glamor can be alluring but also intimidating, and we must strive to make it as inviting as possible. I suppose that is what I mean by comfy glamour; something that is approachable and comfortable but at the same time dramatic and sensual. To me, it is the warm light of a pink-lined lampshade, the sparkle of a mirror, a flickering fire, a lacquered wall, and a sumptuous silk velvet sofa; add a glass of champagne and I think you might start getting the picture. Life is for the living, and objects are meant to be enjoyed.'
Of course, the term glamor can have several interpretations but Cat Dal defines it as 'glamor that can be minimal and chic, or loud and proud, so it depends what type appeals to you,' says. 'But I think glamor is all about craftsmanship, memories of luxury experiences, and feelings of opulence.'
Agreeing with that, Chad Dorsey says 'glamor combines the use of texture and experience. It is something that can occur without being overwhelming.'
1. Bring in curved furniture and crystal chandeliers
Previously, designer Nipa Doshi, while speaking to me about the trend of having a sofa in the office space mentioned something about human beings inherently relating to curves. How this furniture piece is used to 'sit on, rest or sleep on, so there has to be a kind of softness and tactility to the piece,' she said. When it comes to comfort, quite evidently, no shape does better justice than a curved one.
And while the calmness of this piece sets a restful vibe, for a high end look, the deliciousness of a statement crystal lighting piece – one that looks stunning, high end and is thankfully out of reach from harm, can be used. The idea is to mix the idea of lounging or sleep, with the feeling of being inside a plush, high concept space.
While the sofa provides the ultimate softness, materials such as fur, silk, and velvet though may look stylish but are notorious when it comes to their upkeep. Plus, they give in to stains easily. Enter, microfibre – a durable fabric, that both ages better and looks smart. If you have pets or children at home, there's no better material than this. Plus it's available in plenty of colors and prints to match your aesthetic. A wonderful addition to a low-maintenance home that virtually looks after itself!
'Glamor can be brought into a scheme in so many ways...through stunning lighting, intricate detailing, beautiful materials, and curved furniture,' says Cat. 'For this living room we were inspired by the cocktail lounges in Singapore so we brought this glamor through a mural wallpaper, complemented by a curved green sofa, and eye-catching crystal lighting.'
Incidentally when it comes to color and textures, 'I love creams, whites, and blush tones for creating glam, yet comfy spaces,' says Mary. 'And in terms of textures, you'll find boucle and cashmere incorporated into lots of my designs.'
2. Create a natural look with engineered materials
'Using wrought details such as a Rocco mirror or rugged materials [such as wooden tables or beams] with a softer material palette can create the right balance,' says Chad.
The use of timber on, say cabinets or countertops, or even floor and roof will give rise to a modern farmhouse living room, bedroom, or kitchen style. Engineered wood is a great material to bring in because once installed, it can be difficult to distinguish from solid or natural wood. Even a trained eye can be fooled as often as not.
When it comes to flooring, engineered wood floors are resistant to moisture and tend to be stable. Also, if sustainability is a priority, this type of wood is a greener option, and it can last anywhere between 20 to 100 years.
'We always consider the ‘use’ factor when proposing our schemes for clients,' says Cat. 'Do the clients have pets, children, or big dinner parties, so we know what type of use each area should be built to sustain? For fabrics we often recommend using durable and wipeable indoor/outdoor fabrics for dining banquettes, to give them upholstered, soft look yet it’s maintainable. Faux leather is also great for this application.'
3. Bring in a tufted sofa
Tufted furniture was once a thing of the past, seen in regal homes, cigar bars, or plush hotels. But now, it is no longer for days gone past. This vintage style is appearing in many fresh looks, giving a nod to traditional and contemporary, all in one great piece. Take it from us: Nothing is classier than that buttoned-up look.
Another great thing about this look is that it appears plush and plump, and unlike other seaters that are upholstered with covers and whatnot, it does not need to be constantly readjusted. Soft and luxurious, it gives a charming and high-end look to interiors.
'To me, the most comfortable yet glam piece of furniture is a tufted sofa or a banquette, the latter more so because it allows for a lot of people to tuck in and chat as you see in restaurants, and I guess that is what makes it cozy and comfortable,' says Miles.
This piece also subtly adds depth to a room, and texture to a dining, kitchen, living room, or banquette seating, and the best part, it hides stains and other embarrassing faux pas conveniently within its buttons. A tufted sofa can be vacuumed once a month to give it its glow back, and even a simple armchair that you may already have, once reupholstered with a tufted design, can look like a million bucks.
4. A Persian rug is glam yet durable
There's so much richness in handmade and vintage things. Take Persian rugs, for instance, that glow with vibrant patterns, and provide lots of versatility to spaces, letting you mix colors and periods to achieve one unique look. You'll be surprised how a dramatic rug can serve as a focal point, allowing you to build up on them, to an interior that looks memorable.
'Rugs immediately come to mind when thinking of comfy glam,' says Mary. 'They can instantly warm and soften a space, plus add texture. Rugs are tactile too – they're meant to be touched.'
'I think beautiful, old Persian rugs do this comfy glam look best; they can sparkle with jewel tones and rich colors and patterns, and they hold up and don’t show dirt and wear beautifully,' says Miles. 'These are is a great place to start designing in a room.'
To take your home's aesthetic to a whole new level of glam, think of using this important piece in unexpected places as well. Perhaps as a kitchen rug; a great way to induce color, texture, and print to an otherwise utilitarian space.
5. Include metallics for an ornamental look
'The tension of disparate objects is what I love in decorating,' says Miles. 'Think a brass bookcase in a subdued room. Or I love the use of plaster and gilt (tension and disparate elements). These are light and airy, but have so much presence.'
To get this look right, we'd suggest you approach it like you are picking out jewelry for an outfit. Don't be afraid to bring in metallics but make accessorizing a bit more interesting. Gold decorative items placed on a mantel or as a chandelier might be a better pick as these are usually not in the way, and out of reach.
Love silver? Think about including them in tablescapes, in cutlery used only on very formal occasions. You could even paint a piece of furniture like a small desk or a table in a metallic finish for a unique look. A home office or a library which receives low traffic could be a safe space for the piece.
Tips to get Comfy Glamor right
The real soul of this trend lies in creating a home that looks stylish but not uninviting. When guests visit, you want an environment where they can settle down, relax, and unwind while also admiring your decor taste. Simple changes or choices of materials can help achieve this.
Take artworks for instance. These singular pieces can create the most dramatic impact. While it may be a good idea to purchase a large, significant work of art, protect it within a museum glass casing. This allows less than 1% light reflection and blocks 99% of damaging UV rays.
Create cozy vignettes at home with flowers. And while you may like the idea of foraging for the most exquisite-looking bunches, perhaps try what Miles recommends, as it's in vogue at the moment. 'I think wildflower arrangements are having a moment, something that looks like you stumbled upon it in a woodland garden; both stylish, yet warm, practical and inviting,' says Miles.
'For kitchen countertops, we propose them to be durable composite stones, like Ceasarstone or Silestone,' says Cat. 'These have a crisp, clean look. Even though natural stones can be porous, in some cases we have agreed with the client that the beauty of the natural veining, color and movement or a natural stone is sometimes worth the risk of staining, and as the stone usually holds quite a busy pattern, the thought is that the wear and tear will add soul and love into the stone.'
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Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.
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