Keeping up appearances 3 - sleek and shiny living spaces

It is impressive how much textures can change the look and feel of an interior - rough or smooth, muted or sleek and shiny. If you go with sleek and shiny you have a room that is very sophisticated, a little glamorous and supremely trendy. High gloss or metals such as gold, silver, copper and bronze can be used in their solid form but as colour choices on walls, furniture and textiles too. Decorating with a touch of sleek and shiny elements is a classic approach and a look that can never tire due to its impeccable style. Here are some further thoughts on achieving this look in your own homes: A very sophisticated look for the modern home is to use sleek looking furnishings - perhaps in leather alongside a glossy white. Choose darker leathers or polished woods in furniture such as a sofa and see how well it contrasts on a backdrop of white walls, flooring and window treatments. To complete this rich look you absolutely must add some finishing touches with metallic accents - a collection of gold framed pictures on the wall or touch of metallic in textiles. Too sleek and shiny - is that possible? If you feel your living spaces lack a soft touch then bring in some organic materials such as a wool-knit throw for bedding or a handmade felt rug in the entrance hall. It will be easier on the eye too if you don't use too much colour - stay with neutrals and especially white so much as possible. Quite on the contrary, colour lovers can still get this look at home with gloss finishes in their favourite colour - gloss red is fantastic when used as an accent to a room. Red can be tricky to work with in a gloss finish so think carefully about how you will dress the rest of the room. It should probably be the only shiny addition if you want to refrain from looking brash. Its perfect setting would be a neutral palette and organic furnishings - unpolished woods, wicker baskets and linen for upholstery will soften this bright accent. Period homes and traditional styles of décor will look lost without a touch of metallic whether it be gold leaf mirror frames or gilding on ornate furniture. The more metallics you use the more opulent and wealthy your space will be. All this talk of gold and other pricey metals is a little unrealistic unless there is an alternative that suits our budgets! There is - polished steel or brass can be used in accessories such as cheap table lamps, curtain poles and kitchen accessories. Cheap Venetian blinds or second hand curtains are another solution for getting a sleek look on a budget - choose aluminium or even a faux leather blind to compliment the rest of your interior.

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