Subtle shine adds easy glamour in each room

Akron Beacon JournalNovember 28, 2012 

We all know how the right necklace or earrings can dress up an outfit.

In much the same way, a little bit of luster can dress up a room.

Shimmery fabrics and finishes are hot now, adding a bit of glamour to our everyday environs. They can take a variety of forms — silver leaf on a chair frame, for example; luminous silk on an accent pillow; or perhaps a scattering of metallic threads woven into a linen upholstery fabric.

This isn’t about dazzle, though. The look now is more glowing than shiny, more luminous than sparkly.

“It’s not glitzy,” Hudson interior designer Pamela Bayer said. “It’s very subtle.”

Bayer is incorporating the look into a master bedroom and bath she’s decorating for a client’s beach house in New Jersey. The iridescent paint on the headboard wall and the glass knobs on the furniture pick up the shimmer of the ocean, she said.

Like so many trends, the look sashayed off the fashion runway and into the home. Think glazed fabrics and leather handbags with an oyster-shell sheen. Think Malia Obama’s blue silk skirt at her dad’s victory speech earlier this week.

The lustrous look may sound formal, but it’s surprisingly versatile, designers say. It can loosen up traditional furniture by making it a little more daring or flirty, or it can add a surprising touch of opulence to a casual setting.

“It’s the jewelry,” said Jana Burvikovs, senior creative director for furniture maker Highland House. “You can dress it up or dress it down.”

Today’s shimmery finishes have a soft nature that make them work as neutrals, said Renee Loper, a marketing vice president with Bassett Furniture Industries. The company used the finishes and fabrics in the collection it recently introduced for HGTV Home, including an understated metallic finish on a hall chest and a pearlized coating on an end table. A sectional sofa in the collection was covered in an ivory fabric shot through with metallic threads and accented with pillows that had a bit more metallic in them - “still safe and basic,” she said, “but updated for today.”

Those luminous looks are eye candy, Loper said, pieces that get attention without commanding center stage.

“They become a statement piece in a room without being overpowering,” she said.

Because their luster makes those pieces noticeable, they offer an easy way to update a room, Loper said. Adding just a single accent piece can lend a fresher feel to the decor, she said.

Luster was in evidence at the High Point Market last month in North Carolina, where manufacturers were using it as a way to add contemporary elegance to furniture, lighting and accessories.

Probably the highest-profile example was a furniture collection created for Highland House by Candice Olson, the interior designer and TV personality known for putting a modern spin on traditional shapes and motifs.

Olson used lustrous fabrics and finishes in her collection to create contrast, Highland House’s Burvikovs said. The juxtaposition of shimmer against matte adds interest to a room and brings “a little bit of formality, but not too much,” she said.

Upholstered furniture maker Bradington-Young, on the other hand, used a bit of luminosity on a wing chair to achieve the opposite effect: to make a traditional shape a little more edgy, said Sandi Teague, director of upholstery merchandising for Hooker Furniture, Bradington-Young’s parent company. The back of the black patent leather chair has an embossed, silk-screened design with a silvery-gold sheen, which Teague said was aimed at customers who prefer more contemporary design.

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