Double delights in design

Using doubles or pairs in decorating solidifies the symmetry of a room.

As far as celebrations go, 2020 is a significant number for a new year. A double number is a milestone and worthy of further notice. Double numbers are symmetrical and, as a designer, I love that. Using doubles or pairs in decorating solidifies the symmetry of a room.

I recently toured a home by a significant architect that was distinctly asymmetrical and, although it was on a beautiful piece of property with incredible views, I felt uncomfortable in the house. There were too many angles and spaces that felt awkward to me. I love homes that flow, generous spaces and high ceilings but not cavernously high. Many of these spaces have a balanced flow. Think center hall Colonials, Mediterranean homes and even many modern homes. These abodes and their rooms have a comfortable feel that allows their occupants to move around freely. Understandably, some architects want to showcase views and “walk” you through their spaces in a specific way. Although I understand their artistic talents I prefer more symmetrical, livable spaces.

A current trend in kitchen design in larger homes is incorporating a pair of islands. One island is a working island and becomes part of the prep area. The other becomes an island for casual dining or serving.

I often include pairs of chairs or sofas in large spaces as they ground a seating area. Another pairing favorite is incorporating artwork in doubles. Two similar paintings from the same artist can create a distinct design statement in a room. (And once you add a third painting by the same artist, then you are well on your way to starting a collection. But that is for a different article.) 

There are some ways to bring symmetry into a room that could use a more balanced feel. In a dining room for instance, use a pair of vases on a long dining table filled with similar flowers. Another statement-making idea, if the table is long enough, is to fill the length of the table with a few smaller vases centered between the two larger vases. The odd number of smaller vases between the two larger vases is a nice mix. This is a fantastic way to give the room a little magic and allows flowers to flow down the length of the table. Adding a few votive candles will create an even extra dash of sparkle.

Speaking of sparkle, I often use pairs of mirrors in a large entry with a pair of consoles. This sets the tone for a gracious entrance. Under the consoles I often place (surprise, surprise) a pair of benches. 

I recently placed two full-size beds in a guest room instead of a pair of twin beds. The two larger beds can hold more guests comfortably, especially if your guests include a couple and a small child. Small children are often unhappy when they are in a strange place and their parents aren’t close by. The lack of privacy more than makes up for keeping a small child feeling happy and comfortable, knowing his/her parents are close by. When designing the room, I used the same bedding so the beds look exactly alike. 

Pairs can bring warmth to a home whether your home is traditional or a modern home, because ultimately most people like to also be paired! We are comfortable with pairs. Families usually start with a pair of people wanting to spend their lives together filled with family and friends. 

In this double year of 2020 maybe we can all feel a little more connected to family and friends and realize how similar we are rather than how dissimilar we are. Let’s complete the circle of home and community and be more considerate of others, because, at the end of the day, we just want to care for our families and friends and keep them healthy and happy. Best wishes for a Happy 2020 and may we remember to reach out and bring others into our circles — whether they’re paired or not.

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