how to: high end meets casual

how to: high end meets casual

I absolutely love browsing showrooms for inspiration. Whether I'm planning my own home style or writing interior design tutorials, showrooms are the perfect antidote for when I'm feeling uninspired. I love bold accents and wild furniture, but they definitely have a stigma of impracticality (ie...'I love this giant Cheeto sculpture, but where in the world could it go in my apartment?') Showrooms help answer that question by presenting bold looks in practice. 

McGuire has always been one of my favorites because something about their space is much less intimidating than others I've visited. In certain showrooms, you sort of feel like an intruder tip-toeing around a delicate museum that you'll somehow ruin if you touch.

My feeling is, if the purpose of the showroom is to explore home design in practice, it's a turn off to feel like I can't touch anything or really get comfortable in the space. McGuire is a great exception to this norm. And this season especially, they did such a great job at executing an inviting, high-end meets casual look. 

'High end' and 'casual' might seem mutually exclusive. But with the right choices, there is a cool balance you can achieve to make this work in your home. Sophisticated, elegant design often feels unlivable or uncomfortable- so this look is meant to give you the best of both worlds. 

If I could pick one key inspiration word to describe the best execution of high-end casual, it would be texture. When you think casual, you might think: comfortable, cozy, warm, relaxed, inviting, homey or durable. But when you think high-end, you probably think: expensive, fancy, artistic, ornamental,  maybe even fragile. 

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Texture is a great way to marry the two- and I think this wall art is a great example of this idea in action. Whereas a bold statement painting in a high-end room contributes to a more hands-off, rigid vibe, this accent piece evokes the exact opposite- it's begging to be touched. 

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This playfully hands on, 'touch me' invitation was elicited throughout McGuire's entire showroom space this season. So many of the pieces had a fun, textured appeal to them, and the consequentially tactile atmosphere had such a comfortable, inviting effect. Again, take this lamp for example. Although it's clearly a well-made, luxury piece, it's probably not at all what would come to mind if I asked you to picture a 'luxury desk lamp.' Your mental image would probably be something extremely plain, ornamental and made of glass. The difference here really comes down to texture once again. The base of this lamp is asking to be felt, it looks touchable and playful- simply because the surface is unexpectedly un-smooth. 

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Here's a final example from their room. Again, this piece has an inviting 'please touch' vibe to it. It reminds me of a toy I used to play with as a kid that was made of dull-ended pins you could imprint your hands into to make shapes.

Unlike a sculpture or vase, this accent invites interaction. So if you're really looking to achieve a luxury look in your home, but not at the expense of comfort, my biggest tip would be to find a way to incoorperate texture throughout the space. 

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