The designer secret for decorating tight spaces? Curves


Sexy, curvy furniture is increasingly a trend as home designers embrace sinuous silhouettes, rounded shapes and soft, plush materials to complement sleek, contemporary interiors — and cleverly give the illusion of more space.

Kenneth Boyer, principal designer at Los Angeles-based interior design firm Atelier K, said, “We feel curves create a dynamic contrast to a lot of the modern lines you see in today’s architecture. In L.A., we’re seeing high-rises being built left and right, and most of them are pretty linear and modern. … I think this resurgence of curves in furniture helps break the hard lines in these modern interiors.”

Boyer’s colleague, senior designer Kristin Gunnette, pointed out that there is a practical side to the supple shapes as well: They can be space savers. “They allow your floor plan to have more of a flow when you are in a tight space,” she said.


Simply put, it’s easier to maneuver around furniture with rounded sides and edges.

The tapered silhouette of a curved sofa, circular swivel chair or oval-shaped console is also a sneaky way of creating more visual space in tight quarters. (Think: rounded rather than boxy shapes.) It also adds visual interest to the room. “If you have a rounded coffee table, or chairs with rounded arms or a curved back … you just have less spatial things to deal with,” Gunnette said.

A balanced room usually includes both weightier, linear shapes (aimed at making the space feel grounded) and more curvaceous pieces. “It’s about finding that balance,” Boyer said .

Showcasing sinuous style

This spring, Boyer and Gunnette participated in the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design and created custom curved furnishings for their featured space. “The curves keep things lighter and more playful,” Gunnette said.

Soft landings

Plush fabrics like fluffy, sherpa-style wool, velvet, faux lambskin, bouclé and chenille are part of the trend, along with upholstery treatments such as Art Deco-inspired quilted channels, overstuffed cushions, piles of rounded pillows and poufy tufting. At the end of the day, we all need a soft place to land, and these styles aim to do exactly that.

Design details such as scalloped edges, curved lines and organic, sculptural forms are also apparent in home accessories and decor and offer another way to bring the trend home.

’Round and ’round

“We feel like every decade has had its curves and lines,” Boyer said, ticking off memorable trends. In the 1920s Le Corbusier had the LC4 chaise, and in the ’30s witnessed Streamlined Moderne. Eero Saarinen designed the Womb Chair in 1948. “It tells a little bit about how design comes and goes but the trends come back,” Boyer said, adding that in present day, “Soane Britain has an upholstered collection called Venus.”

Getting in shape

It’s not all or nothing. To incorporate the look into an existing interior, Gunnette said sometimes all it takes is a single piece to make a statement. “If you can take one chair, like [the Cleopatra Chaise from Noelle Interiors] and bring it into your space, it just gives [the room] new life, new interest.”

“Accent [tables], coffee tables, consoles, ottomans are all a great way to add to an existing floor plan,” Boyer said . “Accessory-wise, round mirrors or pictures that have curves are also an easy way to incorporate the look.”

Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome


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