There's something beautiful about allowing the form of something alone hold your attention in an interior scheme. While, in the past, contrast has been the tool of choice to create a home with impact, the interiors of today are more homogenous - spaces that take a uniform color or texture and run with it to make a feature. It's a softer, more organic way of decorating that's an antidote to what's come before, and something that's informing this new trend for decor that feels like it's part of your home's architecture.
This idea, which I'm calling 'plastered-in decor', is where this organic decorating concept intersects with the popularity of the modern rustic decor interior design trend. Furniture and decor, from entire kitchens to lighting and seating, is being reimagined as built-ins and coated with plaster-style finishes that mirror the walls.
The effect is low-contrast decorating, which still, subtly, highlights the expressive shapes of these designs. 'Aesthetically these built-ins are serene and become a part of the architecture,' says interior designer Sarah Solis. 'It's where form meets function.'
Here are five ways you could look to embrace the 'plastered-in' decor trend in your own home.
1. Create a built-in seating area
Built-in, plastered seating is an alternative idea for a couch that brings some permanence to your space. While it may sound like an uncomfortable concept, designers, including Sarah Solis and Bobby Berk, whose recently renovated property includes a built-in sofa, use plump custom cushions to finish off these seating areas for ultra cozy spots.
These designs can incorporate plastered-in arms for the 'couch', too, which can be used as side tables, while storage niches can also be added into this clever living room furniture idea.
Plus, they can save room in a small living room, compared to a traditional sofa. 'They're highly functional, as they help with space planning,' Sarah explains.
2. Design in an architectural range hood
A micro kitchen trend of its own, plastered-in range hoods add a sculptural element to this otherwise perfunctory part of your kitchen. The plaster finish allows for more expressive shapes to be used, whether tapered squares, curved forms or even a dramatic dome, as in this kitchen by interior designer Lindye Galloway.
'This is a plaster finish, which gives it a little movement to the white color tone,' explains Lindye. 'It adds an organic layer that we love. We wanted to keep the kitchen neural and let certain statements do all the talking.'
The result of choosing a plaster finish is an element that at once fades into the backdrop, but is a huge talking point for the kitchen. 'We wanted this to feel like an art piece that was the main focus of the kitchen, with other soft elements complimenting it,' Lindye tells us. 'This hood stole the show!'
3. Try this modern rustic kitchen idea
But it doesn't stop there when it comes to plastered-in kitchens. Designer Bri Ussery of Texas-based East Co Studio designed this modern rustic kitchen with countertops and cabinetry that blends into the walls of this stylish home.
The frame of the kitchen is coated in microcement, inset with rustic wooden doors that give this kitchen the feel of Spanish style decor.
4. Add to the architecture with plastered-in details
There are subtle ways that elements of your home can be engineered to create the sense that it has more interesting architecture than it does naturally. This plastered pelmet idea created by Shiraz Jamali Architects is an amazing case in point. This relatively simple insertion into the scheme suddenly frames the windows as arched, with the matching finish and paint color to the walls creating the sense that it's part of the fabric of the home. This modern window treatment also hides the curtain track for a more elevated look.
5. Embrace the plaster lighting trend
This last idea goes to prove that the 'plastered-in' trend doesn't necessarily have to be built in. By choosing plaster-finish style decor, you can still create this serene, pared-back feel, without relying on potentially expensive millwork.
The plaster lighting trend is perhaps the best example to try, bringing a new and unexpected finish to this design detail which is usually categorized by hard finishes such as glass and metal. This Pierre Augustin Rose Eole pendant light is handmade in plaster, each different thanks to the artisanal processes used. It's available from The Invisible Collection.
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Luke Arthur Wells is a freelance design writer, award-winning interiors blogger and stylist, known for neutral, textural spaces with a luxury twist. He's worked with some of the UK's top design brands, counting the likes of Tom Dixon Studio as regular collaborators and his work has been featured in print and online in publications ranging from Domino Magazine to The Sunday Times. He's a hands-on type of interiors expert too, contributing practical renovation advice and DIY tutorials to a number of magazines, as well as to his own readers and followers via his blog and social media. He might currently be renovating a small Victorian house in England, but he dreams of light, spacious, neutral homes on the West Coast.
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