Bling on royalty

Who doesn't like chic interiors?A dash of red, a splash of green or even a blob of yellow can add oodles of sophistication or that extra oomph to any space. Yes, we are talking about jewel tones.

By Deepa Ballal

Published: Thu 24 Dec 2020, 7:18 PM

A timeless trend that once adorned royal palaces, today sets the tone for winters and brings in the festive vibes. Be it on the walls, sofas or even throws they create magic, add depth and elevate the look to a notch higher with their intense colours. Playing around these hues, orchestrating the drama that unfolds in these spaces are some of Dubai's passionate interior designers. We speak to a few:

"I love the vibrancy of the rich, saturated hues of precious stones. Decorating with a deep emerald green, popping sapphire blue, mysterious ruby red, regal amethyst purple or sunny citrine yellow can be very exciting, but also needs an eye for balance to create an attractive space," says Prateek Chaudhry, Managing Director, The First Ferry. "The simpler, DIY method to handle these larger-than-life colours is to choose one dominant colour in an otherwise neutral room. In a sunny white and grey room, for example, you could use a lovely golden yellow to brighten things up while still being soothing," he explains. 

From creating bespoke pieces to introducing eclectic designs, his team is not scared of using beautiful, deep shades anywhere, as long as the people using these spaces feel good about it. "Even a kitchen (where pale shades are often preferred), provided the size and orientation is right, can look fabulous in a deep navy and brass combination or a bathroom in a rich purple and gold look," he explains.

Choice of colours

Adding grandeur to any space with jewel tones needs an eye for design and a desire to risk, then of course, sky is the limit.  Drawing inspiration from her ancestral home in Kerala, Ashwathi Nair, who runs Walls & More, believes that jewel colours and its hues provide a pleasant and subtle contrast by complementing each other effortlessly and when used in the right balance can make a monotonous space appear chic. "When it comes to living rooms, I often use amethyst and ruby with gold and black accents to enhance my design and add luxury. Jade and emerald are usually my go-to colours for adding calmness and tranquility to a bedroom space. For children's bedroom, I often use pastel colours as they enhance a child's imaginative and cognitive skills," she adds.

Choosing the colours from the spectrum can no doubt be a daunting task as they can trigger powerful emotional responses in us. Depending upon the layout of the house, direct or indirect lighting and the preference of the client, these tones can be used in specific areas or across the whole living space according to Reenu Mohindra, Founder and Owner of Reeraj Royal, who loves to blend these tones. "When we are using a jewel tone for a space, we want to add a touch of sparkle to make it stand out or outshine, despite its limitations. The perfect way to do this is with metallic colours, think copper, brass and pewter.  Metallic mirrors and wall lights too are brilliant features on these deeper colours that make a statement and add style to the space," she says.

For instance, emerald green brings out an alluringly earthy and mysterious quality while ruby reds are perfect for highlighting a contemporary design on any interior whether it is the kitchen, bathroom or living space," she says.

Though incorporating jewel tones into a space can enhance a design through a series of contrast textures and layers, however, optimum lighting is what gives life to these colours, says Ashwathi. She prefers using multiple light sources to control the transmission and reflection to achieve the desired ambience.

Less is more or more is less?

An often asked question is how to use these tones. Sparingly or lavishly? When used too little, they tend to get lost and too much of it could turn out to be kitschy.

Even when one tries to play safe, it is quite important to have at least a hint of jewel tones in your focal areas, says Saakshi Rochlani, who combines art and design in all her projects.

"Don't be afraid to take risks! Place a ruby red throw over your all white sofa and look at the character it adds to your space. Or if your style is a bit subtle, then place some delicate topaz yellow chandeliers right above your dining table," she adds.

Minimalist yet aesthetic is her style and she prefer to use jewel tones in accents; in soft furnishings such as in fabric, lighting and accessories. "Though jewel tones can be a tad overused at times by designers where they apply matching jewel tones to everything from the tiles to the wallpaper to the furniture and accessories. However, it depends on the mood and tone the client wishes to set for that space," she adds.

But one need not be too careful. "The professional would be bolder," says Prateek. "We might either choose the monotone route where the walls, furniture and carpeting are in the same family of colours. This can carry the risk of being boring and dull, but if done right it looks very classy. The other route is to go Bohemian with a party of colours. I prefer the last because it allows every home to tell its own story. Throw in the family's travel mementos, rugs and cushions that have a story, and nostalgic paintings, then choose a unifying colour theme that brings it all together in a cosy, personal way," he adds.

Adding jewel tones to your space

Brass and copper work beautifully with emerald green and sapphire blues. Jewel tones and shiny metal work in tandem to create a blend of drama with style. 

Metallic works very well in conjunction with ruby tones as the shine sparkle stands out against the red.

Mixing up jewel tones creates a statement. For example, set up a feature wall that uses a combination of sapphire, emerald, ruby and amethyst.

Patterns can also be incorporated through cushion and rug creating further dimensions in the room. For example, yellow bean bags or cushions can be used.

In a commercial space if the space includes an array of jewel tones - whether it is graffiti art or multiple pieces of art - you are sure to get admiration from visitors.


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