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Style Rules: Effortlessly Casual but not Shabby

Sprezzatura is the Italian word we’re going to use to define what this post is about.

Sprezzatura describes achieving elegance with no apparent effort.  When it comes to home interiors, living space is for living.  Plastic on the living room furniture is the most extreme expression of discomfort with any actual living going on, but there are many other manifestations of a rigidly formal interior.

To create an interior which is effortlessly casual but not shabby, it’s clear that part of your effort should be dedicated to quality.  It’s in quality and a clear aesthetic that you avoid “shabby”.

Let’s review the style rules for effortlessly casual but not shabby home interior design.

Casual comfort

white sand beach chair slipcovers

When casual comfort is the goal, you can retrofit any design scheme to express it.  Those most adaptable are American and French country and rustic.  But Maximalism is another current, hot trend which lends itself to casual comfort.

Your upholstered furniture is lush and cushy, when you’re seeking casual comfort.  That needn’t describe every single piece you own, but a key piece in each room adds to the effect.  Add slipcovers in a warm color to heighten the effect.

In a casual context, colors are usually rather muted.  This may suit some, but if your taste runs more to the bold color spectrum, add it whimsically, incorporating color in an overstuffed wingback adorned with a cranberry canvas slipcover, or add a bright area rug which ties in with key décor elements.

Cozy throws and blankets and nests of feather pillows (perhaps covered with cross-stitch embroidery) bring the look the true comforts of home, without making things look shabby.

Shabby that isn’t

Shabby chic has been around for quite a while as a design trend and many continue to employ it in their homes, either as an overall theme, or in small doses to create an inviting, relaxing interior.

But shabby isn’t always “funky” (in that bad way).  Shabby chic is more about patina and a sense of pieces having lived many lives than it is about looking worn out.  Patina is a keyword with the look we’re talking about.

Texture is another important word in the lexicon of the effortlessly casual interior.  Choose nubby, handloomed items and treatments for upholstered furniture.  If you select leather, don’t shy away from the patina indicating use over time.  That patina is an emblem of comfort, enjoyment and the piece’s witness to lives lived well.


tufted ottoman

Effortlessly casual interiors embrace you when you enter them.  Furniture pieces which work best for this look are large and chunky.  They’re not delicate, as delicacy can indicate impermanence in a living space intended to convey the timeless enjoyment of life.

Details like tufting, pleating and contrasting trim are homey and add a more finished effect.  Antiques and reproductions of antiques offer a sense of historical continuity.  No one needs to know that hutch wasn’t handed down by a beloved family matriarch.

Trade professionals seeking a cure for the common are invited to contact Michelangelo Designs to schedule an appointment.