Halfway House: give your interiors a striking edge by decorating in halves

Half & Half

Half & Half - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you’re thinking about shaking up the decor around your home, try splitting things right down the middle with these 5 unique interior design tips

If you’re striving to give your home a bold new look, it might be time to cut some corners and start doing things by halves.

Not in terms of effort of course; just by way of aesthetic inspiration.

Last year saw flat design trends spill over from the print world into other elements of design - including interiors. Simple, smart and clean was on trend; minimalist with an edge.

When re-decorating, it’s always best to think first of the colour scheme. This is normally a decision about the main colour of a wall and the corresponding furnishings and accents that will accompany the new-look room. But why should a room be based on one leading colour? Perhaps you’ll commit to one shade and decorate around it in a more neutral tone so as not to overbear. But what if you love purple and blue, and don’t want to compromise two striking colours for the sake of conservatism?

The answer is simple: do both. Split your decorating aspirations right down the middle. Think gradients and abstracts. The best way to merge colours is to do it obviously. Do it on purpose, and with purpose.

Start at the bottom:

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When you’ve made your colour scheme choices - bold on bold, two-tone neutral, or one of each - think about the floor first. Do you want wood floorboards, tiles or carpet? It depends on the room type; but rugs or runners are a fantastic way to affirm this particular theme. Going with wooden or laminate wood flooring is recommended here. From this, you can go one of two ways: choose natural looking wood as the foundation flooring scheme, and add perpendicular rugs that provide a splash of your colour scheme to the lower levels of the room. If the space is long, install a floor runner through the heart the room. The alternate method would be to invert the colours for an opposing effect - paint the wooden floors in your bold primary colour of choice and garnish with neutral rugs or runners. If tiling choose a neat, clean-cut design and stick to neutral with flecks of bold.

Create an equator:

Dados are a relatively Victorian concept when it comes to interior design, but they translate excellently into modern trends. They work especially well using this concept as they represent the split between two parts of a wall. The idea here is simple: create a dado effect in paint. Select two colours - these can both be bold, but must compliment one another. A shade of grey next to a shade of brown will not look good. A bold pink against a grey tone, on the other hand, will. Two variants on the same colour works especially well with this concept - for example, a deep indigo next to a cornflower blue. Or, to avoid garishness at all costs, select a loud colour and contrast it with a neutral tone - red against cream, for instance. When you paint, take the design all the way around the room. When you come to the doors, don’t stop. The added impact is striking and stunning. It’s a contemporary take on a traditional design.

Block furnishings:

Once your floors and walls are established, it’s time to fill the space. If you’re decorating a living room, soft furnishings should be of one main colour, then peppered with cushions and throws of the other colour. The same goes for bedding in a bedroom, the fittings of a bathroom or the table and chairs of a dining room. Play around with textures here too. Mix fabrics on the sofas and chairs (again, stick to two). With the hard furniture, choose wood vs metal, marble vs steel, copper vs glass.

Statement pieces:

Accentuate the split-edged theme with vases, artwork and ornaments. Either design your own or buy in the style of half and half. Vases that separate two colour blocks will carry the theme nicely. Mark Rothko artwork is the embodiment of this style. And niche pieces such as a plaster bust sliced down the middle with two colours is unique and dramatic.

Not all there:

Take the theme to a multi-dimensional level by placing certain items around the room that are not completely whole. For example, half-picture frames work excellently with this concept; or metallic spheres that have been cut into semi-circles. Place them on surfaces around the room to give an abstract illusion to the space. Fix things to the walls that give an impression that they are passing through it. Think of these accents as one half of a locket - but throw the other half out.

This is a bold statement in decorating and going down this route is a commitment. But the beauty of this style is that you can incorporate it delicately into a room, simply exploring certain elements of it should you prefer. You might want to be bold with the half-split walls, but keep everything else neutral. Perhaps the floor alone is enough of a statement piece for you. Or the half-cut ornaments and duel textured furnishings might provide the desired effect. The trick is to start with the colourings. Get those right, and the rest will flow.