Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter in the 1985 movie “A Room with a View” . Image Courtesy Merchant Ivory Productions.
In the movie A Room with a View, the character played by Helena Bonham Carter is touring Italy with her domineering older cousin and chaperone (played by Maggie Smith). While seated around a large dining table with other guests at the Pensione Bertolini in Florence, the two women mention that the hotel had promised them a room with a view of the River Arno, but instead had given them a room that looked into a courtyard. A fellow diner, Mr. Emerson graciously offers to exchange rooms, as he and his son, George Emerson (Julian Sands) have a splendid view of the Arno. The chaperone declines the offer immediately- because according to her Victorian values, accepting the favor would place the women under an unseemly obligation to a stranger. Fortunately, a fellow guest, a clergyman called Mr. Beebe, intervenes and persuades the two ladies that Mr. Emerson only meant to be kind and so they accept the offer and move to the room with a view of the river. You will have to watch the movie for the rest of this romance set in picturesque Tuscany and in a beautiful English country estate.
A view of the River Arno, Florence, Italy. Image courtesy Francisca, Indulgy.com
Just like the two ladies in the movie, we all love rooms with beautiful views.
It is easy to think that such rooms are a luxury. But this view ignores the fact that when given a choice, most people prefer to sit by a window. In fact, people do not feel completely at ease in rooms where they cannot sit by a window.
According to the wonderful book A Pattern Language, “… a room without a window place may keep you in a state of perpetual unresolved conflict and tension- slight, perhaps, but definite,….a person will be torn between two forces:
1. He wants to sit down and be comfortable,
2. He is drawn toward the light.
..if the comfortable places are away from the windows, there is no way of overcoming this conflict.”
Most homes offer opportunities for designing beautiful and inviting window places. The 10 chic “rooms with a view” by leading interior designers show how to use decorative rugs to make these spaces more beautiful and inviting:
- How to use decorative rugs to design traditional or contemporary “rooms with a view” and “window places”.
- How to derive the room’s color palette from a decorative rug.
- How make the “window place” more inviting and beautiful with a decorative rug.
- How to select decorative rugs for window places that are part of a living room or a dining room.
- How to pick a decorative rug that harmonizes with the architecture of the window place.
- How to select decorative rugs for multiple adjoining window place seating areas.
1. Massucco Warner Miller chose a plain grey decorative rug to anchor the geometric pattern of the stylish daybed and the purple chair in this luxurious window place. Notice that the low window sill allows you to get a full view of the garden. Image courtesy Massucco Warner Miller.
TThe book A Pattern Language gives the following advice on purpose of windows and the appropriate height of window sills:
“…the primary function of windows is not to provide light but to provide a link to the outside and, furthermore, that this link is most meaningful when it contains a view of the ground and the horizon. Windows with high sills cut out the view of the ground.
“On the other hand, glass all the way down to the floor is undesirable. It is disturbing because it seems contradictory and even dangerous. It feels more like a door than a window; you have the feeling that you ought to be able to walk through it…..
“…on the first floor make the sills of windows you plan to sit by between 12 and 14 inches high. On the upper stories, make them higher around 20 inches”.
1A. Massucco Warner Miller. This view of the window shows the purple upholstered chair that provides additional seating options by the window. Image courtesy Massucco Warner Miller.
2. Babs Watkins, Julie Baker and Eleanor Cummings chose a cream and blue decorative rug to anchor together several seating areas in the main section of this chic living room. There is a separate seating area inside the curved windows at the left. The two comfortable upholstered chairs are positioned so that you can either view the garden outside or nestle with a good book. The brown wood floor provides a textural and color contrast to the fine Persian decorative rug in cream, blue, gold and beige. Image courtesy cotedetexasblog.
3. Suzanne Tucker created this beautiful window seating area as part of the dining room she designed for the 2010 Designer Showcase in San Francisco. Notice that she defined the window space with a smaller decorative rug under the sofa. The armchair is placed for a view of the garden as well as for conversation. Image courtesy Tucker and Marks.
3A. Suzanne Tucker. The dining area of the above room is defined by a cream and brown decorative rug. Note how the pattern and colors of the dining area rug are quite different from the decorative rug that defines the window place (see image 4B, below). Using rugs of different patterns and colors in the same room is an art that does not have too many rules. Use your own aesthetic sense and experiment until you find the right combination of rugs to define adjoining spaces. Image courtesy Tucker and Marks.
3B. Suzanne Tucker. The decorative rug that defines the window space has a small scale repeating pattern in red on a cream ground. This rug is in contrast to the cream and brown rug that is in the main dining area. Notice the interplay of the architecture of the two Moroccan tables with the patterns of both decorative rugs. Image courtesy Tucker and Marks.
4. Steven Gambrel used a large decorative rug in a cream and blue geometric pattern to anchor the main seating area of this living room. A curved sofa fits into the deep window space at the far end of the room. Since the living area decorative rug has a strong pattern, it is aesthetically desirable to choose a plain grey or blue rug for the window place seating area. Image courtesy Elle Decor.
5. This Renaissance palazzo in Florence has several window spaces and seating areas. Each window space is defined by a decorative rug. The red rug in the foreground resonates with the red sofa. The seating area in the far distance has a gold decorative rug that picks up the beige and golds of the upholstered chairs. The sofa has a view of the window. The two beige upholstered chairs are ideal for reading or can be pulled closer for intimate conversations. Image courtesy Rachel, Indulgy.com
6. Bunny Williams designed this enchanting window place in a Texas Ranch. The light filters through majestic windows. Bunny Williams chose a blue and white textured stripe decorative rug to resonate with the fretwork on the walls and arched ceiling. The chairs can be easily moved for conversation, reading or for views. Image courtesy Bunny Williams.
7. Palmer Weiss created a chic window space nestled in the curved space inside three arched windows. The rectangular shape and diamond pattern of the decorative rug balances the curves of the window space. A round decorative rug in a rounded space would not have been as aesthetically satisfying as this decorative rug. Image courtesy Palmer Weiss.
8. Ferguson & Shamamian chose a decorative rug with a large circular medallion to balance the rectangular lines of the window space. The sofa and upholstered chairs also have comfortable curves. This window space is another illustration of how to create architectural balance and harmony with decorative rugs.
9. This seaside window place is defined by a green geometric rug with a small scale diamond pattern. The angular pattern in the decorative rug is balanced by the rounded shapes of the sofa and chairs.
10. Timothy Corrigan created two seating areas for two window places in this master bedroom. The seating area in the foreground is for having tea with a leisurely window view. The upholstered chairs in the far seating area pick up the blues in the intricate pattern of the Persian decorative rug, while the upholstered chair in the foreground ties in with the cream background of the rug. Image courtesy Timothy Corrigan.