Defining Décor: Understanding a New Era of Design

Originally appeared in Northern Virginia magazine

Just what does “modern fusion” mean anyway? What, exactly, qualifies a room as “contemporary”? Before you call the interior design help line, improve your vogue vocab with our nifty glossary. Art Deco-Inspired Art deco, which has origins in France, often uses clean, architectural lines and repeat geometric shapes in fabric. Characteristically, the look calls for accents like sunbursts and dramatic use of glass. Kathy Alexander of Alexander Interiors in McLean says the look is now done with a more limited palette. Very popular today are mirrored pieces of furniture, which work best with blacks and neutrals. Alexander advises clients not to overdo it. “Oftentimes people will just keep buying more stuff to try to achieve a look,” she says. “I go in and have to remove almost 50 percent of the accessories.” Downsize Take the size of your room into consideration, and never shop without a measuring tape. Kathy Alexander says that she often sees clients who have fallen in love with a sofa that is simply too large for their living room. Likewise, for a house with high ceilings and large windows, have curtains made to completely cover the frames.

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