9 Ornate Rooms Reinterpreted

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Image: Media Cache

Historically, some interior styles relied heavily on the use of frills and decoration to create an ornate, over-the-top interior spectacle. It was thought that the more decoration, the wealthier you were. Thankfully, times have changed though the past leaves some beautiful, frilly spaces to revamp for a modern lifestyle. How do you update those ostentatious rooms of yesteryear? Let’s take a look at some examples and learn some tips.

Livable Ornate Rooms
Images: 1) Flickr, 2) Architect Digest, 3) Kelly Behun, 4) A White Carousel

  1. Contrast styles. These white plaster gothic elements could take a room in a stuffy, sterile direction, but they have been painted white and contrasted against a fresh blue wall that is beautiful complemented with the clean lines of a pink sofa. The symmetrically placed floor lamps in a simple wooden style also tone down the room, making it more livable.
  2. Let the room breathe. This large room with tall ceilings contains lots of ornate details like the floor and ceiling moldings. The furniture choices are sculpted and flourished, yet there’s enough empty space to let it breathe.
  3. Simplify lines. This ornately detailed room full of built-in details could be too much if used with similarly decorative furniture, but here the lines are simplified. A clean, minimalist low bed is set on the ground and modernized with a fur throw on top.
  4. Let it go a bit informal. In a totally stuffy, formal room go for unexpected details. Here, the vase of peacock feathers falls casually to its side.

Modernized Ornate Rooms
Images: 5) The House Home, 6) Belle Maison, 7) House and Home, 8) Design is What You Can Get Away With

  1. Use colors. Bright colors are your friend in a stuffy space. The magenta of this loveseat updates the room contrasted with the black and white of the zebra rug.
  2. Use clean-lined furniture choices with decorative fabrics. If you need to go fancy, one trick to not go overboard is to use furniture with clean, modern lines and decorative fabrics. It feels fancy but not over the top.
  3. Contrast light and dark. This ornate living room could be too much if the lighting wasn’t right. Here, the contrasted lights and darks feel dramatic—as if you’re in an old 40s movie set. The dark ceilings and floors contrast beautifully with the white walls. The ornate chandeliers seem to blend in with the rest of the ceiling. Here they complete the room, not steal the show.
  4. Solid colors are your friends. The detailing work in this light-filled room is amazing. The designer decided to complement the space with solid colors like the moss green sofa, purple throw pillows, and orange mums. This way, the room feels fresh.
  5. (Top Image). Tone down the furniture choices. This dining space is set in a highly detailed room. This design tones down the design with a more rustic, farmhouse feeling long table and clean upholstered chairs.

What do you say? Are these livable still or too much? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.