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Good design is ‘like a symphony,’ says designer Dawn Chapnick. This living room features a Lucien sofa, from the Flexform MOOD collection, which has both a classic and contemporary feel.PHOTO COURTESY OF STUDIO B/SUPPLIED

Think texture, colour, mood lighting and quality for a luxurious feel in every room

When talking about home decor and interior design, luxury isn’t just defined by price point. Interior designers will tell you, one can create a luxury feel in a room by giving all the design elements — stone, fabric, wood, paint, lighting, faucets, door knobs and rugs — curatorial consideration. It’s more about telling the story of a room.

“Luxury to me is almost an understatement of quality,” says Brian Gluckstein, principal designer of Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. It’s about “beautiful material, whether it’s woods, or vintage beautiful antique pieces mixed with handmade modern pieces, beautiful art, or truly comfortable furniture, like down-filled sofas, for example. It’s also about the way people live — the way they set the table, the way they entertain. Some people think that something ostentatious, something that’s over the top, that’s luxury. That’s not luxury to me.”

All of this is achieved in tandem with the homeowner. At least it should be. The best clients are the ones who aren’t passive observers, designers will tell you, or ones whose minds are clouded by a variety of Top 10 lists about styles that are trending.

“There are so many moving parts, and there are so many different directions you can go,” says Suzanne Dimma, an interior designer and a regular participant and presenter at the Interior Design Show in Toronto. “There is such a misconception of designers walking in and saying, ‘I have the answer.’ Some new clients expect that. But it’s a process. You need time to interview, talk to your client, get to know them, then go through your huge roster of resources.”

Sometimes a photo that the client presents to the designer, which represents what they want to replicate in their home, might not work in that specific space.

“Everything is site specific and architecturally specific,” Dimma says.

A designer will work with the client’s vision. They educate, then direct, to create the vision that pulls it all together.

“It’s like a symphony,” says Dawn Chapnick, principal designer at Dawn Chapnick Designs. “Luxury design should touch every sense.”

Interior designers are skilled at working out the details that make a space special, right down to the simplest of details.

“We consider all the senses: the tactile quality of fabrics, the mood that the levels of lighting can set, how the hardware will feel in your hand, the scent and touch of the fibres in the fabric and carpeting, the weightiness of the glassware. Designers are constantly thinking of the full sensory package,” says Dimma.

The quality of design and material is most important when discussing luxury. Its origin, the craftsmanship behind it and how it is made all factor in.

Chapnick agrees that the design process is most important. The clever use of different materials and how they work together is what allows the space to “speak, which makes one room feel more luxury than another.”

Mixing different materials, such as an alpaca chair with a raw copper cabinet, creates tensions that nonetheless come together, Chapnick says.

“I have this love of fur and metals,” she says. “They are sexy and decadent.

Metal can be a focal point in a room: Bronze handles, for instance, are one element that can elevate a space. The layering of fabrics, such as velvets, leathers, silks and linens, can emphasize other elements, such as a wood-framed chair with black-brass accents.

“The juxtaposition in how you place items, mixing styles, colours, textures, can create a tension that actually makes a room feel alive,” says Chapnick.

To create that luxury feel, interior designers will tell you they don’t like being inhibited by a particular order when placing elements. There are no rules, just imagination.

“Your home should tell a story about you and have meaning to you, so some of these items will be bespoke design and custom-made, and other elements added will be things picked up on your travels,” Chapnick says.

David Beaton of studio b agrees. “Luxury has to mean something to the buyer; otherwise it becomes just price.”

Having the time to create and then execute a vision, properly expressing the client’s individuality in their home, is a luxury onto itself.

“Luxury is also not disposable,” Dimma says. “It represents something that you will want to keep for most of your life and likely pass on to your family. And the quality-made item will last this long.”

There are some great artists, craftspeople and designers creating pieces at moderate price points, which the right designer can blend in while creating a space that’s unique to the homeowner. Dimma says some of most moving and memorable places can, in fact, be humble.

“I find there is a luxury in simplicity,” she says.

The meaning of luxury also differs from person to person.

“The word ‘luxury’ is the definition of your state of mind, your creature comforts, your happiness and the way you use your environment, home, habitat around you,” says Pam Freedman, vice-president of The Chesterfield Shop.

And that can include the outdoors when talking home design. Stephanie Hauser, owner and director of marketing at family-owned Hauser, says true outdoor luxury is an extension of your home, with furniture that is personalized and mixes styles, finishes, accents and fabrics to suit one’s taste.

“Quality and comfort are a given,” she says.

Adds Pamela Davidson Nicholson, director of marketing and sales for ARD Outdoor: “I expect luxury items to perform, adding value to my home and a sense of pleasure to my lifestyle.”


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.