Sunday, July 10, 2011

Contrast = Drama

Contrast is one of my favorite tools in design and one I feel makes the biggest impact visually in a space.  This photo above from Traditional Home, designer - Melanie Elston, demonstrates the drama created by the high contrast between the lights and darks in the space.  The curves and beautiful shapes of the chair and sconce really pop off that dark color.

You often see drama in foyers or entrance halls. People like to wow their guests when they come into their home, so high contrast is often used here.  The dark railing and dark wood treads on the stairs highlight that graceful curve and really add drama in this space.

Hortenisa Vitale - Elle Decor

Those fabulous light fixtures really stand out against the dark chocolate walls.

Courtnay Daniels Haden - Elle Decor

The dark rich, lacquered doors and newel post in the light environment really make for a dramatic foyer.

Kerry Joyce - Elle Decor

Contrast is best used when you want something to stand out and other elements in the room to take a back seat.  These beautiful balusters and the art really stand out in the light environment.  In a wood paneled space, they would have all blended in and been hardly noticeable.

Vicente Wolf - Elle Decor

John Saladino - Architectural Digest

I love the simplicity of this stairwell.  He used the same material on the stair and the wall beyond to add drama and make that stairwell go on forever.  The contrast between the wood and walls focuses your eye and leads you up the stairs.

Martin Lawrence Bullard - Architectural Digest

Lots of drama here in Ozzy and Sharon's home.  Of course!

Michael Formica - Elle Decor

The chest and walls all blend together to make a nice backdrop for the objects and lamp base in this tablescape.  Not only the contrast in value, light/darkness, but the contrast in texture makes these pieces stand out.

E. Claudio Modolo - Architectural Digest

Drama in the bedroom.  Those fabulous carved headboards make such an interesting pattern against the light walls.  It really telegraphs the location of this property on an island off the coast of Kenya.

James Radin - House Beautiful

The high contrast of the dark Windsors in this white kitchen calls attention to the traditional style of this home. They become sort of delicate sculptures in this space.

Michael Graves - Traditional Home

I love how the contrast of the dark window frame firmly establishes the grid pattern motif used in the cabinet fronts and really draws your attention to the view.

Suzane Kasler - House Beautiful

Contrast doesn't have to be just black and white.  It's about the difference in value.  This vibrant red background helps this collection of pond yachts to stand out in their case.

Juan Montoya - Architectural Digest

The distinct X pattern in the windows and the wood trim and furniture are highlighted by the use of high contrast here. 

Gary McBournie - House Beautiful

Do you think this incredible ceiling would've been noticed as much if the cabinets and walls were a wood tone? 


The high contrast of the trim on the white bed linen highlights the detail.  Headboard and lamp are subtle repetitions of the trim detail's shape.

Mary McDonald - Veranda

I've always thought of Mary McDonald as the queen of contrast.  Her interiors are always full of drama!

Mary McDonald - Veranda

Mary McDonald - Veranda

Susan Tully - House Beautiful

I love how the similar shape of these light fixtures and stools are highlighted by the contrast between them and the envelope.

Healing Barsanti - House Beautiful

The beautiful wood finish on this island with it's curvy rope legs stand out in this creamy kitchen.  If the floor had been a dark wood, it would not have been such a strong visual.

I've been wanting to do this post for some time.  Contrast and other tools used to create the desired end result in a space always fascinate me.

Don't forget to leave a comment on THIS POST for my Flokati give away!  Drawing will be done next Friday!


Jessie said...

Lovely images. I love using contrast when it comes to decorating too so my favorite pieces will stand out!

Good post!

Have a beautiful Sunday!


Anonymous said...

beautiful images...and interesting that you can achieve a high level of contrast and more subtle and softer levels or impact as well...
I love the dramatic rooms but have an appreciation for some of the soft impact designs too...good way of seeing color in terms of contrasts and not just in terms of "your favorite color"...

Kathysue said...

Carla that first image took my breath away, loved it. Great images to show how beautifully a good contrast can work well in a room, I really enjoyed looking at all of the above images, Kathysue

under spanish moss said...

Great examples of how contrast can make a big impact. Lots of inspiration here! said...

OMG, just found your blog, I really love all these pics and I think nothing looks richer than the dark colors and white trim. The first pic and the dark brown walls with the white are my favorite. Such a unique post

Following you now
I have a fashion blog here in San Francisco

Splendid Sass said...

I love the chocolate brown room. The contrast between the lighting and the wall is stunning. Love these images.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

love the idea of contrast. You show some great study images! Then I came to Lawrence Martin Bullards and had to sit there and pronounce his name with my jaw half he talks.

yeah. I'm really a 3 year old.

Ann said...

Lovely spaces with lovely contrast...

love the first image,
the contrast in there is undeniable and so visible...
that is space is simply fab!

Joanna said...

Gorgeous interior! Loved the colors and finishes! Check out also 3D Rendering

Concrete Jungle said...

Can't beat that first picture...perfect balance and contrast...just brilliant!

Linda @ theLENNOXX said...

Oh I adore dark walls with white accents! The first image you posted is divine =D Lots of great ideas in this post, thank you for sharing it all!

xox Linda

Kellie Collis said...

These are gorgeous! Love those wonderful light fixtures! Enjoy the beautiful day, Kellie xx

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Really love that elegant stairwell with the newel posts. You did great job illustrating high contrast!

designchic said...

Such an interesting post...adore the contrast of the black lacquered door and newel post in the entrance foyer, and the Suzanne Kasler design sailboats against the stripes...amazing!!

quintessence said...

Wonderful shots to illustrate your point. I love many of these photos - wonderful use of contrast!!

Jimmy The Undercover Designer said...

Those dark walls are amazing. Love contrast and I like to see work where designers do not shy away from it

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