I have been an Interior Designer for 30 years and Ive seen a lot of rooms that seemed to lack something. Often my clients werent quite sure what that something was and it was my job to figure it out. Now Im going to let you in on a little Design Secret I have used hundreds of times with great results. Im going to tell you one way to use contrast in order to make a cold, uninviting room feel warm, inviting and much more comfortable.  One of the basic elements of design is contrast.  We all know about contrasting light and dark colors but what about the contrast between hard and soft surfaces? When approaching a new project I generally make a quick assessment of the percentage or ratio between hard and soft surfaces in the room. Then depending upon the intended use or function of the space, I can easily make an accurate and immediate determination of what the room might be lacking. For example: When I walk into a room that “feels” empty, even though it “appears” full or a room that greets me with an impersonal sense of detachment, even though on paper the room contains all of the necessary elements, I make a quick scan of the space. I am looking for several things , one of which is the balance between hard and soft surfaces. I quickly calculate the percentage of the room that projects hard surface and the percentage that projects soft. If the ratio is 70%-90 % hard and only 10% -30 soft, which is often the case, I know immediately that the room is out of balance.  Hard surfaces tend to be more practical, durable and functional while soft surfaces tend to be more decorative, comfortable and inviting.  Who wants to sit by themselves in a family room on a wooden bench or a metal chair? Of course they may last longer and be easier to clean than softer upholstery but they are truly lacking in comfort. A cushioned sofa or an well worn leather chair are much more friendly. When you have all the basics and a room still feels wrong, try adding a soft window treatment, accent pillows and a couple of well placed area rugs. These will bring that soft touch to your space and help fine tune the balance between hard and soft surfaces. My favorite rugs are Fur Accents / Faux Fur Rugs because they offer the best of two worlds. They are warm, soft, comfortable and attractive and, being made with faux animal fur they can add a wonderful element of “life” to a room.  If your room feels empty or cold try adding a couple of Fur Accents Designer Pillows and Area Rugs. Im sure you’ll be pleased with the effect.


Try to imagine the above rooms without rugs.