Melding opposite elements in your home design

Most of us love the combination of sweet and salty.

My personal favourite is theatre popcorn with a box of sweet chocolate covered peanuts thrown in. I have done this since I was a kid and usually get a weird look thrown my way if I am at the movies with someone new! The sweet/salty opposite is a delight on my tongue and I never get tired of this combination!

Candied bacon, chocolate covered pretzels and even tangy ribs with a sweet blueberry sauce will completely satisfy that sweet/salty craving, are you hungry yet?

These two flavours being complete opposites hit different taste buds at the same time and cause delightful confusion to our senses. It can be the same in decorating; causing a visual or tactile bewilderment can be a very satisfying way to approach your decorating project.

Contrasting colours and textures throw us curveballs that take a few extra seconds to process which is delightful! If you have a neutral room complete with polished smooth hardwood, glass tables and smooth leather furniture you have created a one dimensional, smooth room.

Add in a tactile accessory, even it if is still neutral and people will be instantly drawn to its touch and feel. Add a sharp colour contrast to that accessory and you have now engaged their sense of sight AND touch – they won’t be able to resist!

It is a good practice to use sweet and salty in your design.

Kitchens are an excellent example of where this can be employed. Most people use shiny granite countertops and polished appliances. Soften the look with a painted rather than stained cabinet or possibly with a textured tile backsplash to add that supple, textural element to the room.

Some rooms just need a little softness and fabric additions to windows, and table tops can also be a welcome addition to a ‘hard’ room. Bathrooms can tend to be a little too sweet at times as most elements in these rooms need to be cleanable. Don’t be afraid to add salt to your bathroom with a soft window treatment or fabric covered bench or make up chair.

Why shouldn’t there be a few fuzzy toss cushions in your bathroom?

Remember you can add contrast with texture, colour or both. Colour can add just enough difference to a room to take some of the ‘sameness’ away, especially if it is a vibrant or warm colour. Also, elements such as brick or wood will put that salty element into any room – even one that may be pure white. A stark white bathroom will develop a new personality with the addition of a brick feature wall behind the toilet – can you imagine how amazing that would look?

It can be a simple fix to create a salty hit into a sugary room.

I have staged many homes where a simple accessory in the opposite texture will create perfect balance. If you have too much shine, add natural matte elements such as straw, wood or brick. If you home is too matte and bland, dress it up with a pop of colour and some reflective elements such as chrome or sequins.

Yes, sequins – go for it! Opposites are a great ‘sneak-in’ interior design and people will love the contrast on the palette as they get their first taste of your divine home.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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