04/17/2014 11:54 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT

How Angles Brighten Up a Tired Space

west elm

Pillows by West Elm

The human brain is well-trained by nature to find stability and calm in our surroundings -- this is why we read flat planes and straight lines to be orderly and balanced. This also explains why diagonal lines are so visually dramatic -- they move boldly in two directions (left to right, and up and down), bringing energy to any surface they adorn.

To wake up the sleeping potential of any tired space, try an infusion of angular patterns, whether they be triangles, chevrons, or trellis:

Raimond Dome Light from Klaus Nienkamper


If you're looking to add a pop of modern pizzazz to a space, try trendy triangles.

1. Break up a solid sofa with punches of colour in a large print that looks great tossed around. These pillows by Steven Alan for West Elm feature hand-blocked patterns and hand spun silk to also add colour and texture (which can move from your sofa to your bed later if you want a change).

2. Metal mesh lighting lends an appealing architectural look, with cage-like frames that look airy and don't interrupt eyelines (great for hanging over a dining table or island). Try the Raimond Dome (by Moooi ) available through boutiques like Klaus Nienkamper, with its cool LED network for a more diffused lightsource you'll want to stare at.

3. Faceted mirror surfaces (such as chests and tables) are an excellent way to add character to a space without adding a new colour, and the reflective surface offsets the weighty shape. Try West Elm's Faceted Mirror side table for a compact version you can float next to a lounge chair or pull up for morning coffee.

Interior by Toronto Interior Design Group


This wildly popular take on a stripe is also a classic pattern you can invest in confidently.

1. Chevron works well to add a touch of sophistication to simple-shaped objects like cushions and throw blankets. Snag the Jordan Chevron Throw from designer favourite Horchow, or look for the Chevron Jacquard blanket coming to stores soon as part of my Yanic Simard Selected accessory collection (launching this summer).

2. Chevron also works extremely well for modern drapery, as the natural folds and waves created in the fabric break up the rigid geometry to create a pleasingly playful effect. For this client's guest bedroom I introduced a dash of yellow (to give guests a happy colour to wake up to) and applied the same fabric to the accent pillow to subtly echo the pattern.

Chevron Table and Rug by CB2

3. One of the most essential uses for chevron patterns is in wood, both for floors and accents like coffee tables and headboards. The pattern plays with the already linear forms of the grain, giving even common woods an exotic vibe, like in the Chevron Coffee Table by CB2


Trellis prints draw inspiration from traditional fencing and other garden accoutrements, creating patterns with geometric drama but with a less rigid structure for a softer appeal.

1. The mix between graphic and elegant makes trellis prints perfect for indoor/outdoor rugs, adding a bit of interest underfoot without completely overtaking a space. A rug like the Dyna from Crate and Barrel can dress up your patio for summer parties, and still get use in the interior dining space during the colder season.

2. Trellis prints also work well for wall treatments, as the softer shapes are easy to live with in larger doses. Try dressing one accent wall, or take a patterned paper from Bouclair Home and apply it to the interior back of a bookcase or cabinet for an easy and inexpensive DIY.

3. To dress a table with a summery accent that's easy to mix into any scheme, try a trellis print runner in one solid colour (broken up with white). Look to for runners by Chooty&Co, and mix them with existing linens or simply drape one across a wooden table by itself. Echo these dynamic lines in airy chairs like the classic Chinese Chippendale style, updated by Jonathan Adler in clean white or dramatic black.

Dyna Rug from Crate and Barrel

For more angular design options, visit my blog Keep Up With Yanic blog at