Directoire – The end of the aristocratic regime brought about a departure from any sumptuousness that remained and the period known as the Directoire, when a board of directors ruled France, saw a much simpler and more delicate sense of style. Curvy cabriole legs were replaced by straight, and furniture became angular and severe in shape. Elaborate marquetry was replaced by plain waxed or painted woods and fabrics had simple stripes and delicate florals as decoration, all of which anticipated the Empire style.
Panels were carved and painted, plaster covings imitated fabric swags, huge Aubusson tapestries hung from the walls, tiles were made from rich marble and geometric parquet was to be found on the floors. This very elaborate style clearly reflected the kind of king Louis XIV was – an absolute monarch who reigned for over 72 years, through many major wars. France was the leading power in Europe and the king’s palaces and their interiors showed this.
The standard dials can usually be replaced easily by removing the instrument panel and overlaying a pre-printed panel. White backgrounds are popular and these have the added advantage of being easily seen at night. Strangely when the dash illumination turns on at night the numbers will glow and the white background will go dark, at least that was the effect in my Corolla. Companies sell complete instrument binnacles, or kits to convert the standard one. Most will require some disassembly of the dashboard to install.
Do you know the difference between a duvet, davenport and armoire? Does your wall decor and table centerpiece have to match the linens? Do you know the difference between primary colors and secondary colors? If you answered ’yes’ to any two of the previous three questions: congratulations, the Bravo network would like to offer you your own television series! But, if words like camel-back, drop-leaf and love-seat bring to mind the pictorial from that certain magazine you’ve got stashed away in the garage, read on.
Arrangement – It is not enough only to be aware of the size of your room and act accordingly. First you should consider the general space available and how much furniture you need, then you need to choose what furniture should go where and at what angles. This is a difficult task and one that needs careful thought. There are many different philosophies on the subject. Some like to keep a very symmetrical style, while others prefer an organic free flowing style. Experiment with different setups and gauge your guests reaction and their interaction. If everyone is standing instead of sitting down, you may want to change things around!
Know your personal style – Some of us prefer simple and functional furniture that serve its purpose but doesn’t stand out. Others prefer lavish and cluttered styles with bespoke furniture. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, so keep your dining room consistent with the rest of your house in terms of style.
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