I like to suggest adding something unusual, something unexpected to a room, to give it a sense of originality, something that makes the room very personal to the people who live in it. I call it a touch of whimsey. A very serious, well organized and cohesive room can be transformed into a unique one by the addition of a small, but very unexpected shot of personality that no one else has.
Several years ago, I worked with a client who needed to transform a very large and modern room. The client was in transition, moving from a romantic style to a more modern and sleek room that would better conform with the home’s architecture. Knowing that this was a transition period for the client, I suggested that she choose a light fixture that had a touch of whimsey, anything she liked. The space was off center from the room, but a necessary spot of light. I should not have been surprised when she followed her earlier desire and when with something light, airy and definitely romantic. She appreciates the clean and simple lines of modernism, which now showcase the gorgeous views from her hilltop home. I’m sure she still smiles when she looks back and sees her touch of whimsey.
Another client found a little old wooden bird cage at a flea market. This was a case of falling in love with a great piece and needing to bring it home; she just had a connection and wanted to use the cage.
Once the room was painted a cool, soft gray-green and the coved ceilings were showcased in a crisp white, the little bird cage made a nice statement in the corner of the living room. Thoughts of what to put in the cage ranged from the silly to the predictable, but we settled on whimsey. The cage is light weight and hangs from a pretty light blue ribbon, reminiscent of the sky. Inside the cage are five felt pillows shaped like clouds and outlined in blue embroidery thread. One of the clouds has a yellow lightening bolt embroidered on it and cannot be seen until one is close-- now that is a surprise.
Something out of the ordinary and unpredictable is the difference between a stuffy, but well organized room and a fun spontaneous room. I have come across plenty of couples who have hobbies and collections that are the bane of one person in the relationship. I find it a perfect solution to marry the two opposing styles. If one partner loves collecting super hero characters, for instance, the other can position one or two or three in a bookcase in an otherwise serious room. A formal living room, takes on a much less serious tone with a super hero strategically placed somewhere in the room: under a lamp on a side table, off center on the mantel, or sitting on a coffee table along with more serious items.
Of course, one should not get carried away with whimsey, or it becomes chaotic and childish, but used sparingly a whimsical item can be a fun object d’ art. Keep the serious collections in a personal room, in an office or den, or part of a family room.