Right now, many homeowners are starting to downsize and simplify their lives. That means smaller homes with increasingly minimalist interiors. There’s little room for pomp and circumstance in a heavily trafficked contemporary home, and even less for clutter. But this seemingly straightforward trend has manifested in a few unusual ways, not the least in the growing popularity of wire frame furniture and decor items.
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Shaped wire furnishings are visually lighter than hefty wood furniture. With a wire frame, there are are no solid surfaces – just thin, repeating lines that feel more delicate and ephemeral than traditional designs. Even when the interlocking pieces of wire are woven fairly tightly together, there’s still enough space between each one that you can literally look right through them, which helps reduce the visual impact the piece has on the room. This is great for smaller spaces, since you can have full sized furniture without making the room feel closed off or crowded.
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Even though you can literally see through it, though, wire framed furniture and decor items can be used to give a strong impression of shape. For example, a few simple wires can be used to mimic the shape of a vase. Though really the the design is little more than a silhouette, it gives the impression of the object without occupying the same amount of visual space. This is a very modern type of accent, because it strips the item to its most basic components, allowing you to recognize the shape of the thing it represents, but without any extraneous details.
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Probably the most iconic wire frame furniture are the chairs and tables designed in the middle of the last century. Made of very basic, industrial materials, mid century modern wire furniture is designed to be used, and stand up to tough use and abuse – many are still used as outdoor furniture to this day. But the regular, repeating wire construction is bent and curved to add shape and elegance to the chairs, giving them a sculptural and even artistic quality that elevates them above the merely practical. Though these chairs are made of simple, hardy materials, they can be quite visually arresting.
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Wire frames are also a common feature in an industrial style decor, particularly warehouse or factory style furnishings. But these tend to have a stronger emphasis on the practical, without the same artistic bent as midcentury modern designs. That said, factory inspired accents – particularly the lighting fixtures – can be quite beautiful in their own right. Intricate wire shades originally designed to prevent light bulbs from being accidentally broken now have a charmingly whimsical appearance that strikes a nice balance between practicality and elegance. If you’re looking for a more down to earth kind of antique, these industrial inspired wire accents work beautifully in a more contemporary space.
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The type of metal used for the wire or the type of finish it has can have a huge impact on the overall appearance of a wire framed furnishing, whether it’s a chair or table or a smaller decor item. Most modern wire framed furniture is done in a simple, straightforward stainless steel, while industrial styled furnishings are more likely to be brass or copper. For a farmhouse style, look for unfinished steel, iron, or oil rubbed bronze. You won’t find much furniture made of actual gold wire, but gold leaf or a simple gold finish is perfect for a glamorous old Hollywood or Art Deco style.
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Maybe the best thing about wire framed furniture and decor items, though, is that one or two pieces can easily blend with just about any space. Other than the finish on the wire itself, wire frame furnishings don’t have any really distinctive features of their own – they’re just a shape or an impression that gives a glimpse through to the room beyond. Because you can see right through them, in a very literal sense they meld with the surrounding room – no need to worry about matching colors, patterns, wood tones, and so on, because the shape will be “colored” by the space on the other side.
What do you think of this wire framed furniture?