Interior design, when done for formal interiors, has changed a lot. A paint colour consultation can help transform a casual room setting to a much more formal living space. Function, as well as comfort, are required in modern interiors, whether they are styled in a formal or casual manner. Formal decor was actually quite impractical in the past, with entire rooms set aside only for occasional use, so was perceived as dated, as well as unusable, which often it actually was. Many people remember the dining room in the home where they grew up as wasted space where meals seldom took place, so have banned the dining room from their own adult home. They now hunch on a stool along a kitchen island. Many times, these stools are anything but comfortable, but this format is preferred to a formal dining room. There is no need for a dining room to be formal or unusable. Modern furniture finishes are wipe-able, even in pieces suited to a dining room. There is beautiful, practical dining furniture available with creative styling and it is comfortable and easy care.dining room with white chairs, dark table, and console with contemporary square lamp and wide framed mirrorStrong lines, perfect craftsmanship, and a sense of drama are often the bones of today’s more relaxed formal interiors. Symmetry may or may not play a part, as well. In the past, formal furniture choice was made up of several pieces in similar sizes, placed either side of a pair of  windows, a fireplace, or a large traditional artwork. Today’s formal homes may not have hand-laid herringbone hardwood flooring, elaborate plaster moldings, or 18″ tall baseboards, but they often do have 9 foot or higher ceilings, some sort of hardwood flooring, and grand fireplaces. Even so, elements such as very tall ceilings, dramatic windows, extensive panel moldings or wainscotting, spectacular kitchens and fireplaces, or enormous furniture in spacious living rooms are elements of formal style that lend themselves to our modern day sense of formality, and can be added to an existing home.upscale formal living room with white English arm sofa, formal fireplace and wainscotting, silver mirror, grey broadloom, and paired artworkGold or silver leafing adds not only a glint of luxurious metal, but a reference to traditional decor. This might be seen on large carved mirrors, framing on artwork, metallic portions of accent furniture and on accessories Rather than actual leafing, gold paint artistically applied can bring this elegant touch. Symmetry appeals to many clients who love a formal look to their home. Paired elements are carefully placed in the space around a central axis in the room. A powerful and distinctive focal point in a formal interior draws the eye, and then the rest of the elements in the room are caught by the eye in a flowing manner. Often, the focal paint is a spectacular or interesting fireplace. It could also be an interesting piece of dark wood furniture or large artwork. Tall ceilings, windows that are nearly floor to ceiling, and strong architectural features lend a sense of formality. Large scale furnishings, even in a smaller home, add to the sense of powerful design and formality, and are useful as well as beautiful, since smaller homes often lack storage. Tall and eye-catching design elements such as textured screens add to this sense of wow.upscale formal living room with tufted white wing chairs, oval tufted ottoman in sage green, and blurred colourful landscape artworkSensual and luxurious fabrics, polished woods and door hardware, sparkling large mirrors, and furnishings that are unusual and out of the ordinary add formal style and presence. Antique or hand made artisanal furniture, area carpets, and accessories, as well as fine reproductions are often seen in today’s formal interior design. Rich, dark woods such as oak, mahogany or walnut are customary, but light woods are not entirely excluded. Wood finishes are often higher gloss in more formal interiors, but it is not required. Light wood elements can act as accents and to lend a lighter feel to the room design. Creatively styled metal elements in furniture and lighting bring functional elegance as well as dramatic interest to today’s updated formal interiors. Today’s formal interior design is much less stuffy than in earlier times. It is not usually over the top but there is a much more relaxed appeal to the overall room designs now. Even quite rustic elements can be incorporated such as reclaimed wood and stone pieces.upscale home office in black and white with paired black lamps, black and white bergere chair and zebra area carpetWindow coverings in modern homes are often merely an afterthought and they do nothing to enhance the room. The occupants of the home may have a luxurious vehicle in the driveway, may even own a vacation property, but the window coverings in the main home are often startlingly underwhelming or downright ugly. They may even be in stark contrast to the quality of the furnishings in the home. Custom draperies constructed from luxurious, quality fabrics, falling full length to the floor, fully lined, and mounted of beautiful drapery hardware are part of what brings an essence of formality to a well appointed home.upscale formal traditional living room in neutral colour palette with custom furniture and draperies and ceiling molding detailUpscale and luxurious area rugs cover polished hardwood flooring. These may be traditional in design, but do not have to be. Many beautiful abstract designs are now used in area rugs and they lend not only a greater sense of fun to the room design, they are a powerful and creative new trend. In the past, artwork was of a serious nature and was framed in elaborate gilt frames. Nowadays, exceptionally beautiful and dynamic abstract artworks are more common and may be simple canvasses or have slim framing. Lighting has also come a long way. With today’s tall ceilings, lighting designers have been able to create dramatic and sparkling works of art which, are almost stealing the show. In formal interiors of the past we most often saw crystal or brass chandeliers. These forms of lighting still appeal to some clients, but just as many are put off by that more traditional approach to lighting, and vastly prefer a more streamlined or minimal version. Many modern formal room designs are enhanced with quite large and dramatically styled light fixtures, and often, they really lend pizzaz to the room design. Modern homes lend themselves better to formal design where formality is softened a little to create more comfort and livability. In the past, formal interior design fell somewhat out of favour, since it involved uncomfortable furniture that was hard to keep clean if it was actually used. Comfy toss cushions and throws, add softness, as well as texture, colour, and interest to tightly upholstered furniture. wide view of living room with contemporary white leather sofa, white area rug, hide chair, and open shelf wall unit with flat screen televisionSeating in formal interiors has also become more user friendly. Luxurious and well-built seating, in durable, lush-looking fabrics lends formality, as well as practicality. Even though a home’s design is formal, it should also be easy to live in and to enjoy. A precise, formal interior may or may not be for you. Perhaps elements of both formal as well as informal suit your design sense better. Elements with more rustic, rather than polished finishes may appeal to you more. Formal, ordered and fully traditional may well be your preferred design style. For many others, a softened formal room design may suit better. 

Adding formal details and elements to a comfortable home can tweak the overall look toward a more formal ambiance. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home. 

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