It's all about the Envelope

Our first post is going to be about something I'm very passionate about - THE ENVELOPE of a room! After all, when the last picture is hung and all the furniture is perfectly arranged, what makes the difference between a great room and take-it-or-leave-it-room, is a GREAT envelope.

So what is an envelope? It's a term we use to describe the walls, ceiling, floors, window treatments and lighting - basically anything that's a fixed feature of the room that you can't take with you when you move. It's what envelopes a space, the fruit bowl of the room that holds the fruit - furniture, accessories, art - together.

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Amazing rooms in which we feel both excited and comfortable to be in don't happen by accident - they happen by design. Good design is thoroughly planned but remains open to flashes of creative spontaneity. All design starts with an idea that most interior designers develop into the concept for the room or the house. What ILI does is take that initial idea and apply if firstly to the envelope of the room - the walls, ceiling, floor and windows. We then let that inform how the space will come together and sometimes even dictate some of the furniture and accessories selection. 

A good envelope addresses everything from colour, texture, tone, scale, proportion and balance. If done well it will literally make your room. If done poorly it will leave your room lacking and uninspiring. Paint goes a long way in changing the look of a room, but it discounts the hundreds of other possibilities you can use to reinvent that room - wallpaper, moulding, paneling, murals, glazing, metallic leafing or a clever combination of any of these finishes. The list of possibilities is endless - imagination, boldness and knowing how to put it all together are the more important requirements.

Windows and floors are also part of the envelope, and with them curtains and floor treatments. When you add in more colour and texture with curtains or set the mood of the room with carefully positioned pools of light using pendants, wall lights or an elegant chandelier, the stage is set for a beautiful space that you'll never want to leave. I use a simple test when I walk into a room - I imagine it empty of all the furniture, accessories and personal artifacts of the owner. If I still feel excited and comfortable to be in the space enveloped in its empty shell, then I know that room works.

Envelopes shape and define rooms. They are so important and so much fun to dream up because, like paint, they provide the biggest bang for your buck. So be brave and be bold with your envelopes!