More elegant than a wave yet often more interesting than an standard geometric pattern, scalloped detailing is one that has been known and loved in interior design for decades. A resurgence of the shell-edged style has been gathering pace this past year with design tastemakers continuing to reaffirm the appeal of its undulating aesthetic by featuring it in their projects.
Our resident Senior Interior Designer, Joanne Quinn, takes a closer look at this trend as old as time and some of her favourite ways to work it into the home from scalloped furniture to accessories.
The scalloped headboard—a bedroom’s centrepiece
With all its inherent softness, the scallop shape is a hopelessly romantic, which makes it a fine fit for the bedroom. While it suits myriad furniture forms and accessories from lampshades to decorative dishes, it’s on the headboard that it’s most charming.
Step into a bedroom with a scalloped headboard and no matter what other furniture is in the room—be it a charming dressing table and stool or vintage mirrored wardrobe—your eye is instinctively drawn to this as the feature piece.
Remember that the scalloping doesn’t need to be over the top—just a few dips will do as seen in the mustard velvet headboard scheme by Studio Ashby. Keep the surrounding details to a minimum with discreet wall or table lamps (though the playful placement of artwork and double wall lights on the one side of the bed, here, perfectly echoes the same jolly character as the scallop itself).
Image Credit: Matouk
Scalloped seating—so very Hollywood Regency
There’s something about a scalloped chair that is almost more tempting than any other. Maybe it’s the fan-shaped back that often goes hand-in-hand with the scalloped edge (see designs from Eichholtz for example) that beckons you in and leaves you feeling cocooned. Or maybe it’s the fact that the softness of the lines helps to make a scalloped armchair a little more fluid in aesthetic, encouraging you to slip one into passing places as an accent chair or as a dressing chair in a bedroom (a pink scalloped chair for me, please) as opposed to solely occasional seating in the seating room to which the armchair is so often reserved.
Look out for scalloped velvet chairs or sofas for the most convincing 1950s Hollywood Regency feel. Or cast the net wider with rattan as LuxDeco 100 designer Beata Heuman did in her own home or as Suzanne Kasler did courtesy of a scalloped wicker bench.
And if you thought scallops and minimal, modern design would have little to say to one another then guess again. Giancarlo Valle proves that, with these scalloped wooden bar stools, curvilinear form can be very contemporary indeed.
Accessories that undulate—from scalloped mirrors to cushion coversScallops might make a big statement in a scheme, but that doesn’t mean to say they must reside in grand form. Cue the line-up of scallop-detailed accessories that provide a smaller punch of a shell-like silhouette.
First up, a scalloped plate—whether it’s to eat from or to use as a decorative centrepiece on a coffee or console table. The arced edging (even better when it’s accentuated with a golden trim à la Aerin) is a welcome change to the standard design to which we're all accustomed. A scallop raises a smile.
Image Credit: India Mahdavi
From here, let’s pass to the wavy border of a pillow case that puts the traditional Oxford pillowcase firmly to bed. This example of scalloping (see pieces such as the pretty white and blue pillowcases by Matouk) is best kept for bedrooms that seek a pretty, almost provincial, end result with scalloped-edged pillows perkily sat up as the bedspread's finishing flourish.
Mirrors too are an opportunity to weave the scallop’s easy arcs into your schemes. Place one in a room where whimsy exists already and it will slot right into place, but I quite like the notion of introducing its waved edge to a smarter scheme to encourage it to let loose, just a little.
See the light—with scalloped lampshades
What I love most about welcoming scalloping into the realm of lighting is that there’s more than just one way you can feature its curvaceous detailing in your decor.
Firstly, there’s the scallop-edged lampshade where the lowermost edge bobs up and down, be it on a table lamp, wall light or pendant.
Secondly, there are those lighting designs that detail a lamp’s stem with a mosaic scallop pattern. Highly decorative yes, but what texture it adds to a room as well as a trompe-l'œil effect, appearing as if scaled.
And finally, forget not that scallops can be seen in flat form too as a pattern on repeat. Overlapping arcs form an arresting scallop pattern to feature on the lampshade itself (not to mention on rugs, tiles and cushion covers).
If you’re seriously swooning over scallops, combine their sinuous lines twice in one piece with a scallop table lamp whose lampshade perimeter and textile pattern both feature the trend-aware motif. Nothing shows commitment to the curve more…
Header Image: Studio Ashby