Express your interior design style with iconic exterior influences.
Whether it’s a grand, centuries-old structure or a contemporary new build, great architecture has the power to captivate us. The bold lines, sleek curves and natural resources that provide the visual hallmarks of unmistakable buildings can also find a fitting place inside the home. And there’s no shortage of ways to bring an element of the exterior looks you love into a residential space. Here are six simple ideas and how to apply them:
1. Swap out or update lighting.
Ceiling lights provide an eye-catching focal point while adding architectural interest in the home; try pieces with long metallic arms, which bring to mind industrial beams, or fixtures with Edison bulbs, designed to look like something that might have lit up a building at the turn of the 20th century. Wall sconces, often seen outdoors, can be used as task lighting in place of a table lamp or floor lamp or used for ambient light in a smaller space. If you have a traditional chandelier, add a ceiling medallion at the base—the ornate details of this inexpensive accessory will recall Roman and Victorian design.
Edison bulbs over the sink and a sliding barn door in the entrance give the bath (above) architectural interest, as does the subway tile behind a pair of Pivotal wall-mount faucets. In the kitchen (top), a sectional garage door brings the outside in, allowing the Pivotal pull-down faucet to shine in unobstructed sunlight.
2. Visit an architectural salvage store.
Some sharp-eyed sleuthing at these shops can reveal old pieces ready for a second life. A simple addition might be hanging a vintage windowpane on a wall or attaching repurposed handles or knobs to existing cabinets. Looking for a more involved project? Use an old door, window shutters or a mantel to construct a headboard that brings one-of-a-kind style and function to a forgotten piece of history.
Architectural salvage stores can be a remodeler’s treasure-trove. Go there in search of vintage light fixtures and weathered wood paneling to pair with modern pieces like a Trinsic faucet and a contemporary floor-mount tub filler. (photo: @pavilion_company_seattle)
3. Install trim and molding.
These simple strips can add depth and definition to a room, and there are many options for materials and intricacy of design to get the look that suits your style. The ceiling is a natural spot, but molding can also be used for baseboards, chair rails, door trim and window casings. Consider the architectural style or effect you’re trying to evoke when making a selection: A triple-layered molding can achieve a sleek and distinct art deco look; a large room with high ceilings and traditional-style furniture can flourish with the addition of a thick, Victorian-inspired border.
When you have high ceilings, add a distinctive look to the room with thick molding at the top of the wall and on top of cabinets. A Cassidy Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet in Champagne Bronze further elevates the design.
4. Install an architecturally inspired faucet.
Many kitchen and bathroom faucets are designed with architectural influences—in fact, the Delta Faucet industrial design team travels to cities around the world to draw inspiration for their work. The sharp lines and clean edges of the Ara Collection
, for example, bring a bold, contemporary look to the bath, mimicking a stylish waterfall spillway that might be seen on a larger scale in an urban green space or a museum. A modern take on traditional design style, the Dorval Collection
evokes the curved lines of French architecture and the regal stature of German castles.
The right bathroom fixture can enhance an architecturally inspired décor. Here, the Ara single-handle channel faucet, paired with a rose vase and an ornate mirror, evokes a Victorian-era garden. (photo: @redesignhomellc)
5. Add a backsplash, an accent wall or a tile floor.
A simple subway tile is an architectural element that’s always in style in the home. But there are other ways to bring building materials indoors. For the walls, think about translucent colored tiles that suggest a stained-glass window, painted shiplap wood that looks as good on a bedroom wall as it would in a barn, or natural brick that you see on buildings in Boston or Chicago. Beneath your feet, consider tiles with geometric shapes
to capture the dazzling designs that might be on the floor of an ancient chapel, a Turkish bath or a Mediterranean villa.
White subway tile, with its architectural roots, establishes a clean look in this bathroom that’s accented nicely by a bold black-and-white geometric pattern in the floor tile. With these contrasting colors, gold tones from the faucets and fixtures—including two Stryke faucets—really stand out.
6. Hang wallpaper.
With wallpaper enjoying a renaissance, it’s easier than ever to find a variety of patterns and period styles to suit your tastes. Bring in architectural details via traditional or historic designs, from embossed patterns reminiscent of oxidized copper to vintage blueprints. Or go bold by papering the ceiling with a pattern that creates depth and drama. Seeking a less permanent update? Use peel-and-stick paper to make an accent wall or adorn a room with framed swatches of favorite patterns.
The round shapes in this earthy, mudbrick-inspired wallpaper play irresistibly with the confident angles of the mirrors and Pivotal faucets in this striking bath.