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Trying the Transparent look


Published: 06/12/2012


Acrylic furniture and sheer window treatments can lighten up your rooms.


The quest for less is more alluring than ever, thanks to a revival of transparent furniture. Home enthusiasts are clamouring for see-through plastics like never before. Introduced in the 1950s, acrylic allowed furniture makers to mould see-through furniture and accessories for the first time.


Like glass, acrylic catches light but it’s up to eight times clearer and has no green edge. Today, buzzwords like chic and
sophisticated are being applied to these must-haves that became most popular in the 70s; these are the same pieces that only a few years ago carried another label – tacky. Can the resurgence of the avocado-coloured fridge be far behind?


DO select transparent furniture when space is limited, as pieces won’t contribute to visual clutter.


DO look for acrylic furnishings that have an interesting shape or purpose. Magazine tables, TV stands and plinths (which
support a plant, sculpture or bust) are serviceable items to invest in.


DO consider uber-trendy coloured acrylics and glass for punctuation within neutral rooms.


DON’T obstruct the view of a beautiful carpet with an opaque coffee, tea or dining table. An acrylic or glass version allows such a design-worthy element to get noticed.


DON’T accumulate an entire room of acrylic furniture. Choose only one or two pieces to play against wood and upholstered


DON’T purchase a see-through chair without considering what I call the ‘derrière factor’. Once seated, compression occurs
and let’s face it – the rear view expands. That may not be the effect you’re looking for.


While we’re on the topic of see-through, let’s consider how sheer window treatments can add a light, airy touch to your
home decor. White sheers soften architecture, decrease glare and bring a wisp of summer to sun-starved rooms.


Today’s sheers come in a variety of materials, including cotton, silk and linen. Look for modern sheers with decorative
detailing, such as embroidered stitching and beading – accents that give these lightweight fabrics a stylish presence.

Here’s my guide to the sheerest window treatments.

•   Modify weighty window treatments  (ideal during cold winter months) to  suit warm summer temperatures.  Remove heavier
side panels from draperies, allowing breezy sheers to remain.

•   Pair sheer fabrics with matchstick or  bamboo blinds, which are perennially pleasing and quite affordable.


•   If privacy is not required, consider leaving windows bare and enjoy the extra sunshine.

•   Enliven the grey light that accompanies drizzly days with sheer fabrics in a warm pale colour such as apricot.  


•   Kimberley Seldon Design Group is a full-service design, build and decorate firm.

For more information, phone 416-780-9187 ext. 227, or visit



Photo: TRICA

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