Sophistication is always lovely, but sometimes it runs the risk of being a bit, well, cold.
You know – so keen to be cool that it gets a bit stiff and starchy. None of us want to live like that, I’m sure, and luckily there’s currently a new softer-edged version of super-sophistication that can satisfy our need for elegance while providing comfort and luxury at the same time.
So how do you achieve a softly sophisticated look? Think first about clean lines – sophisticated furniture and accessories that are neither fussy nor complicated.
Seek out simple shapes that verge on the sculptural. A good example of this is the Borgia sideboard – it has a bold, modern shape which is enlivened by a high-gloss finish in Koto wood and chrome detailing. Smooth, neat, and oh-so-stylish.
That’s not to say softly sophisticated needs to be plain. Patterned wallpapers and rugs can provide a superb backdrop to all that clean-cut glamour, but seek out muted and closely-related palettes such as silvers, greys and charcoals so the accessories and décor don’t become the main story.
The Hermes dining table and Pallas chairs sit well in this kind of context. The table has a stunning solid natural fossil marble top, hand polished to bring out the beauty of the stone. This rests on stainless steel for a contemporary look that keeps the table from looking stern thanks to this touch of warmth.
The Pallas chairs follow the softly sophisticated theme with their slim legs and curved shape, with padded seats for comfortable dining.
I’d accessorise a dining room like this with just a few keynote pieces, such as the Langan Chandelier, which makes a spectacular statement in any room. If you have a shared living/dining space, this striking pendant is also an excellent way to differentiate the eating area with clever mood lighting.
A stylish sideboard such as the one I just mentioned, or a narrow side table, would look great with the addition of an eyecatching lamp such as the Bourgie, with its metallic sheen and sculpted base.
An alternative to soft dining chairs, and also a useful addition in a boudoir or living room corner, is the Vianessa chair. It’s a witty interpretation of a classic chair design, made in a single piece of moulded polycarbonate – it looks delicate but provides a modern strength that is sophisticated in itself.
Floral displays can also play a big role in providing texture – and of course, scent – in a sophisticated room like this. Go for strong shaped such as Canna lilies with their delicate trumpets, or full-blown white peonies for a dash of decadence.
Mirrors are also a valuable addition to a softly sophisticated room because of the way they bounce light around the space. Seek out frameless mirrors with unusual shapes to create a distinctive wall feature to complement your wallpaper and any metallic finishes in the room.
The result is a room that oozes sophistication with an underlying warmth. It says sleek and elegant, but not stand-offish – and who’d want to argue with that?