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The Most Important Design Element Is One You Can’t Touch, but We Guarantee You Can Feel It!

Posted: 8.16.17
Category: AFR Residential

We explore many different elements when styling our home and work spaces. Though we sometimes tend to concentrate on physical materials such as wood, metal or textiles, there is one “material” that never seems to go out of style: serenity.

You may be saying to yourself that serenity is not a material, and of course you would be correct (in a physical sense). Nonetheless, while a small handful of visitors may recognize that you have spent countless hours locating and restoring that ideal mid-century credenza, or that you have painstakingly hand-dyed your indigo pillows – everyone, even the untrained eye, will notice instantly if your room is not properly balanced and thus lacking that indescribable feeling of serenity.

Augment your style by addressing this elusive yet crucial component with a few simple stylistic approaches.

Clearwater Bedroom


What better space to begin when discussing serenity than the bedroom? Immediately communicate smooth and comfortable feelings by utilizing a monochromatic color scheme. White is the color of clouds and can be the quintessential non-color to start with. When utilized as a foundation, white provides the sensation of a calm and tranquil escape space. Add neutrals with your lamps and wall colors to highlight and broaden this whimsical backdrop.

Murray Sofa // Rebel Accent Chair // Allure Accent Chair // Brooklyn Cocktail Table
Brooklyn End Table // Babson Table Lamp // Bombay Ivory Rug // Aria Cantana


Allow yourself (and your furnishings) to breathe a little easier by making use of shape and space. Wrestle the mundane urge to line your furniture along the walls. Instead, consider assembling a central gathering area, and tie it all together with a great rug. A thoughtful blend of differently shaped accent chairs will add variety and excitement. Conversely, adding matching sofas can help sustain a cohesive feel. In the photo above, all pieces are inspired by mid-century design, and the soft-rounded edges are mirrored by the pattern of the rug. Bottom line: become a master of spacing. Before you know it, your room will be in the perfect shape for guests!

Seville Sofa // Albatross Accent Chair // Elston Cocktail Table // Elsone End Table
Wave Sculpture // Cheshire Candle Holders


If you find you are still having difficulties producing a sense of serenity, it may be time to hit the lights. Though often overlooked, lighting can make or break your experience. Perhaps you have found yourself in an environment where the wrong illumination ruined the overall ambiance. It is important to note that lighting can be used to provide a sense of warmth to your room, but more importantly it can create the illusion of space. Use lighting to draw attention to other design elements. A well chosen overhead light can be used to achieve a pleasant glow, while the calculated application of standing lamps brings focused lighting to specific details, such as a seating area.

Burnish Sofa // Burnish Chair // Shogun Chair // Parisian Round Otttoman // Ashford Lamp


When the proper techniques are employed, texture (like lighting) is instrumental in drawing eyes to the details you want to showcase. A thoughtful and artistic blend of soft, smooth, rough and shiny textures projects a balance of space and visual weight. Texture should be considered when selecting upholstery and pillows, but don’t be afraid to also experiment with rug patterns, table inlays or even various structural aspects of your furniture and accents to achieve a serene and tranquil feeling.

Serenity is always en vogue. Color, shape, light, and texture each play an integral role in conveying this important emotional response. Apply these elements collectively for results that are truly a treat for your senses. Although you can’t physically touch serenity, you can always feel it in when your surroundings are correct.

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