The 10% That Throws Everything Off

May 21, 2012

I have on more than one occasion mentioned my adoration for Ms. Abigail Ahern. Her ideas on interiors are so unabashedly bold, and she speaks with such conviction and passion about it every day on her blog. I find her endlessly inspiring and an absolutely invaluable source of encouragement and ideas. Here Abigail explains, as only she can, how to achieve her fabulous style:

“If you want a truly fabulous interior then follow this simple plan it works every single time I promise you. 90% of your space, should be harmonious, co-ordinated, beautiful and so on but then the remaining 10% should totally and utterly throw it off balance. WHY I here you cry, simple if you have an interior that is decorated to within an inch of perfection it will, no matter how casual the vibe automatically feel more uptight. This 10% is loosening the mood if you like.

“Opt for something that’s kitsch or fun, or supersized, or is in a bright zany hue that literally knocks your space totally and utterly off balance. So a funny piece of art, any kind of animal, a supersized table lamp, ostrich tables, art that has attitude. Its so simple when you actually narrow it down.  There is nothing worse than having an uptight interior in my book. There is enough tension and up tightness going on in the world without our homes reflecting that too.” – Abigail Ahern

A wall clock perched right atop a table? Why not? Brass + Black + Pink = Yes. The home of Erin Hiemstra and Chris Wick, photographed by Bonnie Tsang for Design*Sponge.

Love this bonsai-ish potted tree. If you’re looking for a quirky statement-making reading lamp that comes in a rainbow of colors, the Jieldé lamp may be for you. An authentic one is pretty pricey (about $1400 for the version shown here), though virtually the same effect can be had for the $595 version that simply has less bends. Personally, I’m still too cheap for that and I’ll just keep my eyes open at the antique and thrift stores. Photographed by Paul Barbera via desire to inspire.

In the last couple days I’ve noticed several potted plants on stands, and I like them. Due to a largely carpeted home, I don’t have a good spot to keep a floor plant, plus I have a curious kitty. A stand that is appropriately sized to keep the munching cat at bay could be a great option for me. Photographed by Enrique Menossi via desire to inspire.

Simple matching boxes create a sweet little vignette. No money for store-bought cut flowers? Snip a few leafy branches from your backyard. These big (and free!) branches have just as much if not more impact in a room! Styled by Saša Antić via desire to inspire.

If this makes you smile, why not have it in your own home? Our homes should make us happy, and keeping everything neutral and simple and classic and safe is not necessarily going to do that. Make it personal, make it fun, make it bold! The home of May Daouk, photographed by Simon Watson for Architectural Digest.

You can always try something like this. Here the neutral colors work just fine. But where does your eye go? And what makes this shot interesting? It’s the pops of color and the use of something quirky like empty frames. That’s Abigail’s 10% that throws everything off balance and loosens the mood. (Though she would probably throw a can of dark paint at this room, but you get the picture.) The home of Victoria and Matthew Hudgins, photographed by Lemaire Photography for Design*Sponge.

Hey look! It’s another Jielde lamp! This time the table version. Gotta love its versatility. Coordinated colors and symmetry create a lovely backdrop for bold pattern and personal accessories. Via Sköna Hem.

love this vignette. Bright, cheerful, and personal. Check out the DIY for this gorgeous table at The Sweet Beast, via Miss Moss.

Something that is really important to me is that people not be afraid of incorporating trends into their home. This table has two very trendy elements: the orangey-coral hue and the dip-dye look. And it’s fabulous! And who cares if it’s a trend! If it makes you smile, if it livens up your space, if it brings you happiness, THAT is all that matters. I’m not saying you should go dip dye all your furniture, obviously a level of taste is still recommended, but I just can not stand it when some folks hammer on about only using what is “classic” and “timeless” and not falling for those silly trends. Why would you want to limit yourself like that? Choose a timeless bed frame and pair it with a trendy coral bedspread! Any one with me?

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  • Reply Elly May 22, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I’m also a big fan of AA, and I like this 90/10 idea. I’m loving the Jieldé lamps and the purple velvet chairs a huge amount, you’ve found some fab examples!

    • Reply Christina Ebbers May 22, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Hi Elly! The 90/10 idea is such a fun principle and an easy one to keep in mind. I’m glad you stopped by!

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