Adding a flourish of luxe comfort can give a room a sexy, urbane, yet relaxed vibe. No wonder so many designers and retailers are responding to the trend.
At this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York, designer Charles Pavarini's lounge incorporated a floating mother-of-pearl-clad fireplace, a hand-carved piano, a velvety ottoman, and accents of mirror and metal. It was a room in which all things might sparkle - decor, drinks and discourse.
November's Metropolitan Home magazine explores what glamour means to various designers. Some think shape or palette, others consider scale. Matthew White looks for "languid sensuality" while Jonathan Adler thinks "a room must have wit to be glamorous." Metropolitan Home also gathered 200 photos from the last five years into a new book, "Glamour: Making It Modern" (Filipacchi).
Glamour is about light, texture and scale in dramatic interplay. Think reflective materials: mirrors, brushed metallics, lacquer. Buttery, burnished leathers and champagne finishes - Cindy Crawford's new tables for JC Penney are affordable options.
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Metallic wallpapers and paints like Ralph Lauren's "Regent" series place the glow factor on the walls.
Look for silk, satin and linen fabrics, and organic elements such as crystals and pearls, rock and fur. Experiment with pattern: Baroque, classic lattice and stripes tend to work well, but there's nothing like a well-placed animal print to get a room purring. And while muted tones work well with this style, deeper hues look equally rich.
In her new "Glamorous Rooms" (Abrams), Jan Showers finds inspiration in decor icons like Dorothy Draper and Billy Baldwin, as well as the movie sets of Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Minghella. "Understated, sophisticated, perfectly elegant", enthuses Showers.
But beautiful rooms should be relaxed, too. "Comfort has to be a top priority," she says.
If you find yourself standing at the edge of a beautiful room not daring to go in, what's the point? The best glamorous accents invite us to sprawl, shoes off and feet up; to be entertained by the furnishings; to smoosh our fingers in the fabrics.
West Elm creative director Alexandra Bates says that this season, "We were influenced by the pure simplicity of luxe materials like sheepskin, washed linen, chunky sweater knits and soft reflective surfaces."
Even if everybody's staying in and notching their money belts a tad tighter, she says, "we still want our homes to be as cozy and chic as possible."
The collection features fresh takes on faux fur, with lynx, curly sheep, and shaggy Mongolian lamb throws and pillows. Cushy acrylic and wool cable knits from sweater designers Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos come in soothing gray and ivory hues. Lustrous metallic glazed ceramics and hammered metal serveware look pricey but aren't. Leather chairs in rich colors like Elephant and Honey are comfy places to plop.
Designer Andrew Morgan has done a collection of cabled, cloqued and corded pillows in snowy wool that's luxurious yet unpretentious.
In his Philadelphia studio, Kevin O'Brien hand-paints velvet pillows in shimmering shades of scarlet, peacock and sunflower.
Pairing old and new pieces, such as vintage mercury glass with sleek Lucite, or an antique quilt on a contemporary bed, brings an element of surprise. As Met Home editor Michael Lassell says, the look "has to do with a certain theatricality. It doesn't have to be expensive. It's all about individuality and imagination."
www.westelm.com - Lutz & Patmos throws and pillow covers, $89, $54; faux fur throws in lynx, curly lamb, etc., $119; Mongolian lamb pillow covers, $59-$129
www.morgancollection.com -textured knit wool pillows, price on inquiry
www.kevinobrienstudio.com - handpainted velvet/silk pillows, $146-$259
www.jcpenney.com - Cindy Crawford Collection Champagne Telephone Stand, $149.99; Demilune Table, $299.