Guest Post: Where Style and Interior Design Meet

Lacy writes Modern Sauce and she is hilarious. I have asked her to teach me how to be so damned funny, but she’s playing it close to the chest. Lacy designs textiles for the interior design industry, so I ALSO asked her to write up a guest post about how and where the design and fashion industries intersect. And that she agreed to do. Prepare to guffaw, people.

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karlieklossvogueusmarch20123_with text

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in an amazing space and maybe have even wondered how to recreate that feeling in your own pad because you’re thoughtful or obsessed with lamps or had an extra cocktail or two, then come talk to me because I’m your girl. I help make some of that magic happen. You’re welcome.

For the past decade my job has essentially been a glorified coloring book because I design the textiles that you put in your home. I have an interior design degree and I’m not afraid to use it. In fact, it’s rather essential. Before I can draw a product for someone, I need to understand how they will use it in their home and why they would buy it. Hopefully they would want to buy a lot of it because my job security depends on it.

To do this successfully I have to understand where the industry has been, why it’s currently here (looking at you, antler trend) and where it’s going. Preferably, I need to know it before the customer does. I’m really an interior design clairvoyant but they wouldn’t let me put that on my business cards.

So I wanted to share with the Already Pretty readers how your world of fashion influences and interacts with my world. That’s the world of interiors and home furnishings, not my psychic abilities…

What’s good for the goose is usually good for the loveseat.

Just like any creative area, interior design aesthetics are influenced by a range of factors from how the economy is doing to pop culture phenomenons (no thanks, Game of Thrones mood boards) but it does have a special kinship with the world of fashion.

At first glance, interiors seem to pull directly from the runway. I sometimes like to think the fashion industry is the big sister and interior design as the little sister: we’re constantly inspired by her, we idolize her excessively cool ways because she always gets to go to the hip places first and then we try to emulate her style. Sometimes that’s exactly how it happens. However, the same factors that influence fashion also influence interiors just at a slower and more purposeful pace.

Fashion does cycle seasonally and trends are much quicker to burst onto the scene then leave quietly with barely a trace of wayward fringe or a short time on a ‘Don’t’ list somewhere. Trends in home interiors take longer to cycle and might even take a few years to make it from the high fashion to decorative pillows.

Although many people want their wardrobes to have staying power, more people feel that their homes and their furnishings are larger investments. After all, it’s a lot harder and more expensive to redecorate a room than it is to buy a few new items for your closet. Think how many shirts you’ve purchased in the last year versus coffee tables.

For instance, as the economy recovers and we’re all happy and feel more comfortable dropping some Benjamins again, those neon skinny jeans seem like a great idea. But what about neon upholstery on that accent chair? Choose wisely, grasshopper. Sometimes neon or [insert hot Pinterest trend you covet here] is the manifestation of a mood. My job is to translate that same mood into something you want to put in your house. Sometimes it actually is neon but sometimes it’s just the feeling of neon.

Yes, neon has a specific meaning and personality.

Not every fashion trend has a home counterpart. There is no maxi dress equivalent in home furnishings. But a smart designer (that’s me, I’m the smart designer here) might argue that the popularity of maxi dresses means people are wanting to feel effortless and carefree as well as fun and outdoorsy in a glamorous way while they are pretending to vacation in expensive exotic locales aka going to TJ Maxx. To me that screams fun, all-weather fabrics and the upscale patios that love them and I will design things that feel like that.

Or maybe they just look nicer than pajamas in public. I don’t judge. It’s all about interpretation.

Dress your body, dress your space: The importance of fire ratings.

Fashion may be one of the primary sources of inspiration for the home industry but their relationship isn’t quite so cause and effect. They both share the same basic design principles: scale and proportion, color and texture, and of course, functionality. Or lack there of if you like obscenely tall shoes that hurt like hell or chairs that are almost too pretty to sit on. Almost…

Spaces are made for the people that inhabit them so those design principles are there to showcase YOU and all your infinite glory. And also to make sure your kitchen functions well so you don’t accidentally set anything on fire but mostly the part about YOU.

So we use those principles to make sure that when you’re seductively draped on your sofa watching your favorite trashy tv that the arm comfortably supports your best assets, the upholstery complements your luscious skin tone and the nearby accent lighting makes your eyes sparkle like a mischievous unicorn in heat.

The only accidental fire that might start will likely be from the smoldering intensity of you perched on your favorite chair but that’s not really my concern. Quite frankly, that’s a good designer’s goal.

Since the majority of us are probably not hermits, dressing your space is about caring for the people in your life too. Making someone feel welcome by acknowledging their comfort is a great gift. By looking and feeling beautiful with your amazing fashion sense, you’re obviously giving them the gift of your mere presence which non-returnable and it never goes out of style. Creating a space that addresses their needs but also makes THEM look and feel beautiful is probably the nicest thing you can do for your friend other than of giving them one of your kidneys.

Deep cushions for deep thoughts

However, if we bypass the glam and get into the gritty, there’s a bit more complexity to interiors than merely a concern for neon and finding a couch that’s the right blend of soft, strong and supportive. I think we all read Sally’s blog because we recognize the importance of looking good and feeling good as a way to represent who we are in the world. Our physical selves are the spaces we occupy first; our bodies are our first home. Interior design is just a literal extension of that idea into the spaces our bodies occupy.

I don’t want to add ‘become an interior designer on top of being a fashion maven!’ to your to-do list because I firmly believe in do what you can, when you can. However, I think it’s okay to pay attention to the way we feel in spaces in the same way we pay attention to how we feel in clothes. It’s okay to understand how the movement, comfort, and colors of our environment function as an expression and reflection of who we are and how we want to welcome others into our environment and lives.

And sometimes who we are is a 20 yr old futon that’s just too damn comfy to let go and has lots of memories attached to it. I won’t judge your room if you don’t judge my irrational and obsessive love for cardigans.

Image by Mario Testino, British Vogue via Fashionising

  • Anne

    Sally and Lacy, I love this article. My first degree is in fashion design and merchandising. I am constantly trying to explain to my husband why living in an environment akin to the set of Sanford and Son is not good for my well being. I also continually explain to him as I try to get him to part with a little cash for home improvement, that yes, I can do this, good design is universal. Lacy I will definitely put you on the daily reading list. Sally thank you so much for introducing me to fun and like minded bloggers.

    • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

      Thanks so much, Anne for your sweet comment. Your hubs should definitely understand that this is, like, SCIENCE or something. And your well being makes HIS well being immensely better. That’s also just science. Good design is universal and doesn’t have to cost a fortune – just use the skills from your degree to make thoughtful choices. Good luck!

  • Monica H

    I appreciate this article for many reasons, but certainly one of them is that I’ve become a lot more comfortable in creating my home based on how the space feels – not just on how it looks. This article has inspired me totranslate that more into the fashoin arena where I have a bit more trouble deciding for myself what I want. If I can focus on how it feels to me, I can let my internal compass guide me more surely. In addition it’s a good reminder that the stuff of our lives (clothes or furniture) need not be uncomfortable or restricting in order to be beautiful and expressive.

    • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

      Monica, I’m so happy that you were able to be inspired by this post. Feeling confident in one area can absolutely crossover into another especially when they are such kindred spirits like fashion and interiors. So go forth and feel comfortable and beautiful and let that internal compass lead ya to where you need to be. They’re usually pretty smart.

  • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

    Sally, thank you so much for letting me hijack your blog for a bit this morning. You’re a peach and an inspiration!

    You’re an inspirational peach is what I’m saying.

  • http://www.iblogsandyou.com/ Sanju Kmr

    Lovely ….. I love this article. My first degree is in fashion design and merchandising.

  • http://www.marble-mosaics.com/sandstone-paving-16-c.asp Stewart Gough

    One word: Perfect!

    Congrats on a job well done.