Elements of Style

Curator Chic

Curator Chic

Curator might conjure up images of a custodian of valuables, able to recite the provenance of every item in the collection and ready to chide anyone who might come too close to an object. But Curator style—at least how we define it—is much less precious, and more livable, than that.

If Curators had a mantra, it would be “quality over quantity.” You won’t find Curators hanging pictures they don’t love simply to fill a blank wall; they’d rather look at the wall (painted or papered to their exact specifications, of course) than at something that doesn’t meet their standards. 

With sumptuous furnishings such as a faux (but still fluffy) Tibetan lambskin throw and matching pillows, crisp embroidered bedding, and a linen-upholstered bed, this bedroom has the luxury component of Curator style down pat. And don’t overlook the well-edited collection of chinoiserie jars at the base of the fireplace and the Picasso-inspired artwork. Even the floor lamp, crafted of sustainably sourced antelope horn, hews to Curator chic thanks to its sleek, sinuous silhouette.

With sumptuous furnishings such as a faux (but still fluffy) Tibetan lambskin throw and matching pillows, crisp embroidered bedding, and a linen-upholstered bed, this bedroom has the luxury component of Curator style down pat. And don’t overlook the well-edited collection of chinoiserie jars at the base of the fireplace and the Picasso-inspired artwork. Even the floor lamp, crafted of sustainably sourced antelope horn, hews to Curator chic thanks to its sleek, sinuous silhouette.

Gio Ponti chairs, an Eero Saarinen table: With their precise lines, they’re exemplars of Curator chic. The rush seats and lush plants add Naturalist-leaning warmth. Photo by Tony Vu. 

Gio Ponti chairs, an Eero Saarinen table: With their precise lines, they’re exemplars of Curator chic. The rush seats and lush plants add Naturalist-leaning warmth. Photo by Tony Vu. 

 

Which is not to say that Curators are necessarily minimalists. They’re simply discerning. The advice given to writers in Strunk and White’s Elements of Style—“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all details and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell”—can easily be tweaked to define Curator chic.

In terms of individual furnishings, Curator style is often associated with metallic or sparkling glass accents that imbue a room with glamour: a gold-framed mirror, chrome or polished nickel sconces, crystal vases. The essence of the style, though, are clean lines that showcase luxe materials such as silk or velvet, leather or marble. And that makes it a restful style, as well as a style that can be integrated into other aesthetics. Even if you consider yourself a New Traditionalist, an Eclectic, or a Naturalist, you can sprinkle touches of Curator chic into your home. Something as simple as an alpaca throw over a rattan armchair or a glossy gourd table lamp atop a live-edge wood table will add a flourish of sophisticated serenity to a room. 

The artwork is definitely New Traditionalist, and the leopard-print ottomans would fit right in as well. The sleek chrome cylinder table lamps and the minimalist (and nearly invisible) acrylic console, however, bring Curator chic to the vignette. Room by One Kings Lane Interior Design. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez. 

The artwork is definitely New Traditionalist, and the leopard-print ottomans would fit right in as well. The sleek chrome cylinder table lamps and the minimalist (and nearly invisible) acrylic console, however, bring Curator chic to the vignette. Room by One Kings Lane Interior Design. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez. 

Organic elements like these—barn wood carved to mimic a tortoiseshell, boxes crafted of bone—and a muted palette are hallmarks of Naturalist style. But artfully arranged on a minimalist table, whose golden frame echoes the gold base of the sleek white table lamp on the nearby console, they take on Curator refinement. Photo by Joe Schmelzer. 

Organic elements like these—barn wood carved to mimic a tortoiseshell, boxes crafted of bone—and a muted palette are hallmarks of Naturalist style. But artfully arranged on a minimalist table, whose golden frame echoes the gold base of the sleek white table lamp on the nearby console, they take on Curator refinement. Photo by Joe Schmelzer. 

The mix of styles (the vintage French table and the equally Old World bench teamed with postmodern chrome chairs, for example) and the pops of color (the kitchen photograph, the blue armchair) pepper Eclectic panache throughout this Curator-chic space. Find a similar chair here. Room by One Kings Lane Interior Design. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez. 

The mix of styles (the vintage French table and the equally Old World bench teamed with postmodern chrome chairs, for example) and the pops of color (the kitchen photograph, the blue armchair) pepper Eclectic panache throughout this Curator-chic space. Find a similar chair here. Room by One Kings Lane Interior Design. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez. 

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