Clear the way for acrylics. Furniture makers are using the see-through material for everything from couch legs and bed posts to tables and footstools.
It’s a way to add drama to a room without overloading it, says Sheila Schmitz, an editor with Houzz, an online source of interior-design photos and decorating ideas. She says acrylics are being used to update many different kinds of furniture, to fit any budget.
The pieces are lighter, stronger and less expensive than glass, says Tara Donovan, Wayfair.com’s style director. “It’s more malleable and easy to work with, so it can be worked into more shapes,” she says.
Schmitz says acrylic is ideal for small rooms because it doesn’t make the space look or feel crowded. “It can be a functional piece that doesn’t add visual clutter,” she says.
Clear furniture can make small spaces feel more open and inviting, says Karen Mills, an interior designer with Interiors by Design, Inc., in Lenexa, Kansas. “It bounces that light around, whereas darker pieces soak up all your sunlight,” she says.
Even a simple acrylic chair can make a statement in a room, as designer Philippe Starck proved more than a decade ago when he introduced his Ghost Chair — a clear replica of the classic Louis XV armchair. The chair helped launch the resurgence in acrylic furniture, Mills says.
Now, you can find clear chairs to fit any style of room. Add a vibrant cushion, and clear chairs — along with benches and footstools — can become a centerpiece.
“When you put fabric on it, it just looks like it’s floating. It adds a touch of fantasy,” Mills says.
Clear legs on couches, chairs and cabinets can “create a look of suspended animation,” says Michelle Lamb, editorial director with The Trend Curve, an industry observer in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “It may take you a second or two to realize what’s going on. Once you figure it out, you can’t stop looking at it.”
Designers also often use acrylic when they want to highlight another exceptional element in the room, Donovan says. Clear tables are a way to accentuate beautiful carpets, while clear chairs will not detract from an ornate desk or a special dining table.
Acrylic’s “unique silhouettes can be truly magnificent, allowing them to act as the focal point if you want a statement piece — think an acrylic table or grouping of ghost chairs,” Donovan says. “Yet their transparent appearance can also be very delicate if the space has really vibrant pieces such as a vintage rug or piece of art. Ultimately, it’s all about how you pair the acrylic furnishings within a space and where you want the focus to be.”