The Dorothy Draper look is unmistakable. Intense colors, bold patterns and lively furnishings combine to create rooms that are fun, functional—and most of all, memorable. Fans of interior design know that Dorothy Draper pioneered the field and was the most famous designer in America from around 1930 through 1960. Her work can still be seen today in locations such as The Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.
Bringing home a bit of Dorothy Draper style is easier than you might think. She established her own design principles that are easy to follow. And when it comes to furnishings, you’ll love the personality and quality of the pieces in the Dorothy Draper collection from Kindel Furniture.
Here are some tips for creating your own Dorothy Draper-inspired look:
Color is a key component of any Dorothy Draper-inspired design. She was a color expert and wasn’t afraid to use vibrant, splashy colors and mix bold hues in never-before-seen combinations like aubergine and pink with a touch of chartreuse and turquoise blue. She also favored the combination of dull white and shiny black. To bring this look to your home, forget brown, gray and neutral—instead focus on clear colors (instead of muted) and exciting color combinations like green, red and coral. Try painting a focal wall in a bold color or adding vibrant pillows to a white or neutral sofa.
Pattern & Scale
Though it was before her time, Draper embodied the phrase “Go big, or go home.” She frequently paired her signature oversized cabbage rose chintz patterns with bold stripes and ornate plaster designs and moldings. She is known for exaggerated and bold botanical fabrics, enormous floral prints, and accents of animal and zebra patterns. Her signature flooring was a black and white checkerboard pattern. She favored wallpapers that made a statement with oversized graphics, geometric shapes and trellis designs. Today, these oversized patterns are easy to find in fabrics and wall coverings. And don’t be afraid to use a big pattern in a small space, it can actually work to your advantage.
The Dorothy Draper style is luxurious and formal, yet comfortable. There’s a touch of romance and more than a little whimsy—it’s elegant yet fun. Kindel Furniture’s Dorothy Draper collection captures this essence with furniture adapted and inspired from her designs. Painted and wood finishes make it easy to mix antique pieces with newer ones. Mirrors are an important design element for her look and reflect the beauty of bold color and pattern choices. And when it comes to collectibles, Draper set the standard: “If you are collector, let other people share your pride and joy,” she said. “Don’t sprinkle your collection out of sight in a meaningless jumble. Notice how groups of small objects, when they are well arranged, become important and effective. Remember that repetition is a form of emphasis. Collect what you will, but see to it that you arrange your hobby to its best advantage.”
Sheffield Furniture & Interiors