Betsy BurnhamEclectic Living Room, Los Angeles
What Houzz contributors are saying:
A cornice is a valance’s kissin’ cousin. The only real difference is that a cornice is hard rather than soft. It usually consists of fabric upholstered onto a padded (sometimes shaped) board. It makes very economical use of the textile, in that it is not gathered or pleated, but is tightly stretched. If you have fallen in love with a very expensive fabric, a cornice can make it more affordable. Also, because the fabric is stretched, the entire pattern is revealed.
Restricting your patterned upholstery to a smaller piece or anchoring it to a corner or a wall will make the look easier for the eye to digest. Here, Betsy Burnham married a gorgeous orange and cream ikat to a window-seat sofa, repeating the colors in the drapery to make the effect less jarring.
This mixes color and pattern. But it also mixes feeling or, as I like to say, vibe. The ikat has an ethnic, boho thing going for it, while the pillows are more traditional. Mixing it up keeps the area from looking too themed.
Notice in this photo how the coral of the ikat is picked up in the trim of the window treatments, and the neutral linen tone makes an appearance in many of the pillows. The overall effect is unified but in no way match-y. "A two-color, medium-scale ikat in grassy green and white will look fabulous with a multicolored paisley that has a bit of the same green in it," Betsy says. "Add to this a small-scale leopard print with a white ground (and perhaps one of the colors from the paisley), and you’ve got a cool room. What’s important is to make it look just random enough; in other words, not too perfect." Get more design fundamentals from Betsy: Design Tips from the Countess of California Cool Next: Browse more home design photos
Fans consider Betsy's work very complex and meticulously well thought out. Mixing patterns and using neutrals in fresh, unexpected ways isn't a skill picked up through reading a textbook. Betsy, who originally worked in menswear for The Gap, has an in-depth understanding of textiles and tailoring which often shows in her upholstery and seamstress work.