Little and Lavish: Designing a Jewel-Box Interior

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Image: Elle Décor

When confronted with the challenges of a small space, our instincts often advise to err on the side of simplicity. Streamlined furniture, light colors, and minimal accessories may enlarge a room's visual space, but it's far from the only solution. If you love more glamorous surroundings, then try transforming your shoe box into a jewel box! By using rich colors, textures, and accessories, the tiniest space can become a showstopper.

Paint Surfaces in Deep, Rich Colors

Jewel Toned Interior
Images: House Beautiful

David Kaihoi broke traditional design rules when selecting colors for his incredibly small living room. Opting for darker colors, he painted the walls in Purple Haze and the floors in Hale Navy (both by Benjamin Moore). The room also features a floor-to-ceiling bookcase finished in a high-gloss black.

Use a Boldly Patterned Backdrop

Jewel Toned Furnishings
Image: Elle Décor

Rather than paint the walls, Alex Papachristidis chose a bold Gracie wallpaper for his living room. Jewel tones are found in upholstered pieces, like the custom sofa and sectional, as well as decorative accessories.

Elect a Lighter Palette

Light Palette Interior
Image: House Beautiful

This New Orleans home takes a brighter approach to jewel-box design with its palette of lavender and lilac. The walls, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Driftscape Tan, reflect natural light and complement the room’s rich, wood floors. Designed for a woman, this home also presents a feminine interpretation of a jewel box.

Finish With Luxurious Touches

Jewel Toned Interior
Images: (Left) Elle Décor, (Right) House Beautiful

Aside from the colors and pattern, don’t forget the finishing touches! Incorporate sumptuous fabrics like velvet and silk; make a statement with an oversized chandelier; add antiques for glamorous old-world charm; use lustrous gold and brass accents; and, as always, anchor the space with a bit of black.

So, remember, small spaces needn’t be minimalist. If you love a more ornate look, don’t be afraid to pile on the lavish layers even when lacking square footage. Jewel-box design can also be used to add intimacy to big spaces, or interest to spaces lacking architectural detail. Whatever your starting point, jewel boxes make the everyday feel more extraordinary!

Which of the above examples do you prefer?

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Desiré is a designer, blogger, and lover of all things glamorous. Though primarily a self-taught decorator, Desiré studied at The Art Institute, where she honed a distinct aesthetic largely influenced by the Modern Glamour movement, the theme of her popular design blog, Sukio. Not only is she considered a "closet fashionista," discreetly stashing handbags and shoes whenever possible, but, as an MIT graduate, she’s also an undercover nerd. Fashion, nerdom, and several years as a Washingtonian have combined to shape her unique perspective on interior design.