10 Design Tips From Brian Gluckstein You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
In his book, Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home, Canada’s most influential interior designer reveals the secrets behind his effortlessly elegant style.
Brian Gluckstein on relaxed interiors
“Designing relaxed interiors is about conveying a nonchalance to everything, even the accessories. I will lean framed art against a wall rather than hang it, because there’s a looseness to it that feels unhurried and unplanned. I had a ledge built behind the bed in this principal suite for the sole purpose of creating a place to lean art and display collections.”
Brian Gluckstein on mastering a monochromatic space
“For a perfectly balanced monochromatic palette, 75 per cent of the room should be the starring colour and 25 per cent should provide contrast. Any more and the space risks not being monochromatic; any less and it risks looking boring.”
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Brian Gluckstein on powder rooms
“If you can’t be adventurous with a powder room, where can you be adventurous? Used mainly by guests, this space should be indulgent. And it’s small, so the risk is low—you don’t have a tub and a shower and storage to consider. There is one sink, one faucet, one toilet and four walls. Do something fun. Do something dramatic. No one wants a boring powder room.”
Brian Gluckstein on window treatments
“Drapes should always just touch the floor.”
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Brian Gluckstein on living rooms
“A sisal rug tones down formality, even in the most elegant living room. There’s an unpretentiousness to it that’s timeless and wildly versatile.
I framed a mirror behind the sofa to visually expand this living room and to brighten that wall by reflecting the light and view from the windows.”
Brian Gluckstein on antiques
“I like vintage and antique pieces for the same reason I like people: they have a story to tell. Who made them? What have they witnessed and overheard? Where have they travelled? They add soul and a sense of history to spaces.”
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Brian Gluckstein on outdoor living
“Outdoor lounge areas need all the same things indoor ones do: comfortable seating arranged to encourage conversation, and elements that provide a focal point, such as a fireplace. People socialize and entertain the same way whether inside or out, so the design principles are the same too. One added consideration, however, is ensuring there’s sufficient protection from the elements. You don’t want to be sitting in the sun without respite, so shade is essential.”
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Brian Gluckstein on closets
“Closets are much more than just a place to hang your clothes. They’re where you prepare for the day and choose how to present yourself to the world. A well-designed closet can turn the ritual of getting dressed into a fun pleasure. It certainly is for me, and I love creating a special space for someone who appreciates fashion and the art of dressing. Every dressing room needs a place to sit, a full-length mirror, good lighting and well-considered storage. I personally like lots of shelves with only one or two items stacked on them, rather than fewer shelves with multiple items stacked up. It makes it much easier to pull out sweaters and folded dress shirts.”
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Brian Gluckstein on collections
“Collections give a room soul. I collect silver, chinoiserie, black basalt Wedgwood and vintage cameras. They make my home feel personal but, more importantly, they bring me joy.”
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Brian Gluckstein on bedrooms
“My bedroom—where I sleep, watch television, work and read books—is probably the most used living space in my house. The canopy bed acts like an oasis, offering a wonderful feeling of enclosure. It’s a true retreat from the demands of the world.”
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Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home
For more insights into Brian Gluckstein’s signature style, check out the design guru’s gorgeous book, Brian Gluckstein: The Art of Home (Figure 1 Publishing, 2018). Featuring elegantly designed homes from a small-but-chic New York apartment to sprawling country estate, each inspiring space serves to illustrate different design lessons, with take-away tips that apply to every home—regardless of budget.
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