Regency furniture needs bold setting

DESIGN LINE

February 07, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer

Q: I recently inherited a beautiful dining table and chairs built in the English regency style. Now I'm at a loss about how to dress the room's two windows and how to cover the floor. The rest of my home is rather simple, with a style verging on contemporary, and I don't want the dining room to appear ostentatious. What would be an appropriate design to build around the furniture?

A: You won't need to create anything elaborate, so there's no need to worry about the dining room standing apart from the rest of your home. English Regency furniture has a glamour all its own. Consequently, it can be used in simple surroundings, perhaps even more successfully than in rooms done up in an exotic manner.

Keep in mind, however, that Regency is what would be described, in old-fashioned parlance, as a "masculine" style. With its strong and regal lines, furniture of this period looks best with bold colors and patterns. Pastels and fabrics with pretty little dots won't be welcome in your dining room. Instead, go with colors like red-orange, empire green and royal blue. Basic black-and-white will also succeed nicely with Regency pieces.

This photo gives some notion of the adaptability of this type of furniture. Some of the pieces shown here, all of which are manufactured by Baker Furniture, are based on the English Regency model.

The room's surround, you will note, has been designed with simplicity in mind. Walls painted in a single color are punctuated by a sheer fabric treatment that barely covers the windows with its gentle swag and its side curtains puddling gracefully onto the floor. If floor-length curtains are not to your liking, Roman or balloon-like shades will also work well with furniture of this kind -- but only if the windows are long and narrow like those

shown in the photo.

An Indian dhurrie rug in a large geometric pattern was chosen as the floor covering. Its flat appearance helps frame the dining furniture, which serves as the room's centerpiece, while the rug's abstract design is consistent with the room's less-than-formal atmosphere. Another good choice would be a sisal rug with either a handwoven pattern around its border or an all-over geometric design. Either a dhurrie or a sisal rug has the effect of setting off the dining ensemble, producing a deftly elegant composition.

The quasi-minimalist approach taken in this model will result in a sophisticated and eclectic setting that can fit easily into either traditionally styled or contemporary homes. Apply these principles in your own situation, and I can virtually guarantee that your dining room will be a triumph.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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