Baubles, Bangles & Beads

Bubbles aren’t just for champagne and celebrations. Add some “Holiday” sparkle to your everyday life

By John D. Adams

“Baubles, bangles,
Hear how they jing, jinga-linga,
Baubles, bangles,
Bright, shiny beads.
Sparkles, spangles,
Your heart will sing …”
Frank Sinatra sings “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”

Perla Lichi

Perla Lichi

Master interior designer Perla Lichi and I are browsing through her online portfolio. I pause to express the kinds of “oohs” and “aahs” usually reserved for the lighting of a Holiday tree or a champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. But this is the middle of summer. And those beautifully cascading baubles and beads, those lovely hued chandeliers ripe with glass and crystal spheres aren’t Holiday decorations. They are integral, and unique, elements of interior design. They just put you in a Holiday mood. And that’s exactly the point. “When I think about using bubbles and beads with interior designs, I get excited,” Perla enthuses.  “They make me happy. They make me want to have fun. To me, design is art, so I might as well use all kinds of shapes and elements and textures … why not use circles, bubbles and beads?”

Asma-1230-Perla-Lichi-Villa-Interior-EC4A0204Circle of trust
As ever, Perla is feeling creatively effervescent. She has been thinking a lot about how crystal spheres, bangles, glittery beads, even rounded furnishings like Arne Jacobsen’s famous 1958 “Egg Chair,” can all be employed in creative ways to bring a little peace and pizzazz to any home’s interiors.  “Balance tastefully,” advises Perla. “Trust your own creativity. A couple of egg-style chairs to balance out your more angular pieces… It depends on the person.”

So what is it about circles, spheres and rounded furnishings that feel so jubilant yet comforting? Perla, a devotee of Feng Shui, notes: “The circle is a water symbol. Holding round objects, having a balance of circular representations, gives us a kind of comforting feeling that calls us back to the womb. The comfort of that softness … Some need more of that water element and so we add many more rounded elements to the space. Then there are others who just might like touches of it, in perhaps a decorative blown glass sphere.”

Baubles and bling
Even though Perla is always upbeat, she gets impossibly excited when talking about glitz, crystal baubles, spheres, and shimmery touches. Do a Google search on decorating with baubles and beads. All you will see are Holiday decorating ideas and images. Perla rejects that notion. “These elements are not just for Holidays and celebrations! Crystals, diamonds, clear spheres, I’m thinking about Swarovski. It’s so hot right now. And it is exploding with
possibilities. Contemporary, crystal chandeliers, beads for pillows, towels with beaded trim, this is the bling. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but this is the jewelry for your interiors…

ShadowPP-PerlaL-6133“Designing for the Holidays is all about the lights and the glamour and the ornaments. But why should you limit that to a few weeks out of your year? You can always have things lighted and beaded. It brings life and joy!”

Creative crystals
The more we discuss crystals and spheres, it becomes clear that you can bring in that essential comforting circle motif in a thousand overt or subtle ways.

ShadowPP-PerlaL-6117_18_19_20_fWe discussed beaded curtains that act as room dividers. Not a new concept. They were big in the 1960s and have continued to festoon dorm and laundry rooms across the country. Perla, of course, thinks about what a sumptuous luxury the “drapes” can convey. “More and more in commercial spaces and in homes, we have been creating dividing walls from curtains of shimmering beads, little glass orbs, small crystals, gold and silver chains… Recently, I did a girl’s bedroom and sitting room. She wanted a very feminine space but still wanted to divide her sitting area from the sleeping area. So we did a wall of crystal strands that really does give the room a soft, shimmery waterfall feel. You still have an open room but the view is softly obscured.”

Perla emphasizes the importance of details. “Remember, these touches are the jewelry of the house. In one house we imbedded the owners’ initials on the master bedroom door panels using Swarovski crystals.” Think about bringing back a version of crystal doorknobs. Crystal faucet handles. Fill baskets with glass balls. The ideas are limitless. And it could certainly be easy to
go overboard.

“You have to play and be honest with yourself,” advises Perla. “What makes you most comfortable? Think of it this way. When you were a child blowing bubbles, how much was enough? I wanted to use the whole bottle! But you might have only liked to use a little bit. For some people, less is more. But for me, more is better.”

See more of Perla’s work online at: www.perlalichi.com

Baubles, Bangles & Beads