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Friday, January 20, 2012

Traditional Design Can Be Fun

How does one add a touch of whimsy to their design scheme if they tend to like a traditional more classic look in their home?

This is a question that I recently had to address since one of my design resolutions is to add a touch of whimsy to my home in 2013.

If you look up the definition of whimsy you will find some interesting adjectives used:

whimsy, whimsey [ˈwɪmzɪ]
n pl -sies, -seys
1. a capricious idea or notion
2. light or fanciful humor
3. something quaint or unusual

Since we are talking about design in our homes I like to think of it as:

1. Unexpected

2. Fanciful

3. Unusual

4. Fun/Happy, makes me smile

(Notice the light touch of whimsy by placing a scattered display of butterflies on the bed post of this traditional bed.)

Personally I prefer a room that has a classic base with just a touch of whimsy. Nothing that is too heavy handed, but just a light touch of the unexpected.

(If you are a dog love this is a fun, and whimsical way to show your love for dogs in your home.)

At first when I started looking for examples of a light handed touch of whimsy, I was having difficulty finding rooms that had applied this look in a tasteful manner.

I realize that what is tasteful to one might not be too another, after all design will always be subjective.

One of the first things we will need to come up with is which elements would we use to create a whimsical look. 

(This is a bit over the top for me, but I find it so fun, and creative. I had to share it with you all.)

You will notice that I also added  items I like for each of these categories. This will give us a good direction when looking for the additions to add to our homes. Your list may look  very different from mine.

Since I want a light touch I will be choosing elements in one, or more of the following categories: 

  • Color: Adding touch of bright colors, or a mix of black and white.

  • Patterns: Checks, checkerboard, bold stripes, polka-dots or scallops.

  • Artwork: Fanciful subject matter, over scaled, bold in colors,  or Folk art.

  • Area rugs: colorful, and patterned in one of the above patterns mentioned.

  • window treatments: possibly using a colorful pattern, fanciful shape, or trims.

  • Lighting: Whimsical shapes and/or colors.

All the above elements are items that I would feel comfortable adding a light touch of whimsy to in my home.

Often times we can add a touch of whimsy with a collection of items that we enjoy looking at. By using them en masse, or by using them in an  over sized scale, or a bright color they will have a whimsical look.

I am not a collector of any particular item, but I do think it can be very effective to use a collection to set a mood of whimsy.

With keeping this in mind  the next step for me was to make a list of items that I could possibly use to make a   display en masse, or to use one  over scaled piece.

My list consist of:

  • Signs, words/numbers, or monograms
  • Silhouettes
  • Globes/maps
  • Chalkboards 
  • Plates
  • Trays
  • Keys
  • Clocks

Once you, or I have these two list the fun begins!! Now we can go looking on line for inspiration, or even shopping if you have zeroed in on the look, and the element you want for your home.

I am now going to show you some images that feel whimsical to my own design aesthetics, and some that I just thought might be inspiring to you, my readers.

Color blocking  the books in your bookcase will give you  a touch of whimsy. It is also a way of introducing some fun colors to your basic color scheme.

It is always easy to add a touch of whimsy to a child’s room. The above image shows some fun and unique ways to add a whimsical touch. Notice the teddy bear heads with their cute bow ties. For some reason the bow tie make is cute rather than a bit macabre.

The scalloped book cases on each side of the brightly red painted desk is fun and fanciful. The over sized ceiling fixture and the large red balls in the room are another fun addition. The round element is repeated in the over scaled dots on the headboard. This whole room is a great study in whimsy.

When a simple item like a mirror is done en masse it can become more whimsical, or unexpected.

This image has a very light hand of whimsical touches. Notice the clocks, the letter on the wall and on the pillow. All are fun and a bit whimsical.

Since I tend to love a more classic, traditional looking room there is another way of adding a touch of whimsy. If you paint a classic piece of furniture a fun color it will take on a whole different feel……..

Someone has taken a classic Queen Anne table, and added a fun bright green paint. It now reads as  a fun light hearted piece rather than just a classic traditional piece. The fun look is furthered by the modern Lucite legs on the chairs which are covered in a bold patterned  fabric.

There are so many options in adding whimsy to a room and it is going to vary from person to person. I am finding fun and exciting ideas for possibilities in my own home by writing blog post for you all.

I am looking forward to finding more fun and inspiring ideas that I could possibly use in the future.

I hope that this post has given you all a few ideas to explore for your own homes.

“Enjoy The Process!” Of:

Adding a little fun, and whimsy to your home.



Wendi @ Classic Chic Home said...

All creative ideas, Kathysue! I agree that a small touch of whimsy is often enough, and allows it to be highlighted more effectively.
Design should never be taken too seriously!
~ Wendi ~ xo

nannykim said...

Interesting--I like the bed with butterflies!

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I love the wall of fishes and the big framed scissors. This is such a good post and so interesting to me because I have traditional furniture that I'm trying to lighten up. I am using mostly fabrics but some of your ideas may work. Food for thought for sure!

La Dolfina said...

Gosh, I thought that first image was of your bedroom!
Love the butterflies on the bed post, you always come up with such interesting posts!
Have a nice weekend and stay warm and dry!

Mary Ann Pickett said...

You are right again...it can add a little personality and lightness to a room.

Silvia C said...

Hi Kathysue, another masterful post! These ideas are wonderful. I love the picture with the scissors and other handy accessories. It got me inspired to do something similar for my kitchen with my favorite spoons. It looks so elegant. Who knew. Have a great weekend.

Karena said...

Kathysue I love this post and all of your wonderful whimsical ideas!! Adore painting traditional furniture, displaying collections, and more!

Art by Karena

NanaDiana said...

Kathysue- What great ideas here to add bits of whimsey. I'm with you- I think sometimes it gets so over-the-top whimsical that it becomes comical. You found some very nice examples.

I am pretty traditional. My touch of whimsey comes in the form of a Mark Roberts fairy that hangs above the newel post on the landing spot on our stairs. Underneath that are two hidey-holes with hinged doors that hold a special treat each time the grandkids visit. So much fun~xo Diana

Babs said...

Kathysue, Great ideas. I'm hoping to give my old traditional decor an update. Thanks for the inspirational ideas.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

I love adding whimsy in my home. My mom does, too.

Stacy CUrran said...

Another great post KS! I agree that the touch of whimsy, or the unexpected, is so important, but can be hard to pull off. I love your list - they are such great examples!

Linda in AZ * said...

*** Couldn't agree with you more~ your choices/examples are DElightful!!! They certainly keep a space from becoming BORING or PREDICTABLE (actually, the two words mean the same in this instance!)...

One of MY biggest "LOVES" is seeing, for example, an old pine chest (w/ great patina!), that has a beautifully shiny silver piece or two on top, a single HUGE cabbage rose in a yummy vase, plus a STACK of one's fave, well-worn books and a beautiful lucite lamp (like Restoration Hardware has available)... That particular vignette kind of sends me "over the moon"!!!

Enjoy your Sunday tomorrow, Kathysue! XO,

Linda in AZ *

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

great minds think alike...we just posted on this very topic to publish at the end of the month... a bit of whimsy adds fun and personality to any style homeand creates a respite from the hard cruel world outdoors.

Melinda said...

A challenge to add whimsy without being too twee or contrived, but you bring up some great points which I will bear in mind when I'm trying to add the other touch of something unexpected and unusual in my home.

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Great post...Love the butterflies on the bed post. Trying to get back into the swing of things myself. XO, Mona

Acanthus and Acorn said...

That was so fun! I secretly want one of those stools with the hoof feet and faux fir top and I recently showed a picture to my husband he said "seriously"!!!

Chic Coles said...

Patterns and bold color combinations are our favorite ways to add whimsy.


Whimsy.....love a little. I agree, a whole room of it is too much and can start to look predictable instead! I want to make a silhouette of my dogs...love that idea.