With spring almost in sight, there's no time like the present to start thinking about redecorating your home. Although the French are often praised for their sense of style, when it comes to interior design you'll do better to draw inspiration from their Belgian neighbours. The decor in this part of the world mixes rich and interesting textures, focusing on a combination of comfort and functionality to create a timeless look of lived-in elegance for your home. To help you introduce this sense of effortless chic into your home, just read our simple E&V guide.
Basics: Neutral Colours
Belgian style utilises neutral colours: plenty of white, cream and taupe, with touches of beige and grey. To create depth and warmth with this limited palette, you'll need to incorporate a diverse range of textures. Many designers choose to highlight fine Belgian linen, which can be used to make slide covers for dining chairs, heavy curtains and cushions. If you'd rather employ this style in your bedroom, look out for duvet and pillow covers in the same soft linen. You can add some more interesting textual touches with cushion covers or curtains in brushed cottons or even burlap, adding a rustic feel to the room. Stick with block colours to emphasise the textures: this is a style characterised by a distinctive lack of patterns.
Combine these fabrics with lots of aged, untreated wood to emphasise the vintage appeal. Beautiful antiques really come into their own when added to a room that’s decorated in this unassuming style. However, this doesn't mean filling your home with opulent chaise longues: the Belgian style employs antiques sparingly as statement pieces, letting each item stand out on its own. Exposed ceiling beams, either left as natural wood or painted to match the walls, will further serve to create an intimate atmosphere. Metallic accents in the form of candlesticks, pitchers and lamps increase the impression of functionality. Do, however, avoid polishing, opting instead for the matte look with even a small amount of rust permissible. The 'shabby chic' theme that's been in vogue recently owes a lot to Belgium; so don't worry if you see hints of it creeping in to your redecoration.
Functional & Cosy
This chic style demands an atmosphere of comfort and even luxuriousness, so it’s important to choose your furniture wisely. Those statement pieces should also be functional and cosy – think soft but understated sofas and chairs arranged around simple wooden tables. Liven up the interior with a few well-chosen accessories, using simple glass vases and floral arrangements in strict colour patterns to complement the furniture.
Belgian kitchens are similarly designed to be welcoming yet practical. This impression can be created through the use of light greens or greys for kitchen cabinets, adding soft linens on and around the dining table. Don't hide brass pans and kitchen utensils away in cupboards - display them to increase the impression of stylish functionality.
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Are you interested in further interior topics? At Engel & Völkers, our years of experience in real estate have given us a deep understanding of how interior design can be used to improve a property. Here are some information about Tuscan style.