Redefining Luxury: How A Little Touch Of Gold Goes A Long Way
There’s no colour that evokes opulence and richness better than gold. It’s been the symbol of wealth, power and good taste for thousands of years and continues to be so. When something can’t be surpassed we call it “the gold standard.” When someone merits our love and respect we say that person has a “heart of gold.” And even oil—a dark, murky liquid so unlike the shining brilliance of our subject colour—is described as “black gold.”
It’s clear that gold is the colour we most associate with quality, so it must logically follow that gold is also perfect for interior design.
Not true. In fact, gold is very underused when it comes to home renovation. And for good reason: too much of it is overwhelming and can appear showy or unattractive. For another, gold is so bright and powerful that it best serves a secondary role, something which accents and emphasizes rather than dominates.
So how and when should you use this most luxurious of colours? The following examples will act as a guide, educating, illuminating and illustrating the nuanced beauty of gold.
1) Gentle Tones
First, if you want to use gold on a larger scale its brilliance should be toned down.
In these photographs we discover that gold is used for illumination and takes on a softer appearance, resembling something between beige and yellow. That’s because if it retains its original luster and reflection, then the colour would overwhelm our senses and disrupt the gentle flow of this room.
2) Small Touches
The key to gold is using light, delicate touches. Here we have the model of elegance, a home rich with furniture, works of art and other decor items, but it never feels overcrowded. That’s because everything is carefully spaced and positioned, giving this home a sense of perfect balance.
And even though those golden lamps suspended from the ceiling are quick to draw our eye—their exquisitely polished shells bending and reflecting the light—they never overshadow or eclipse the entire room. The lamps are so effective because they’re rare, adding a touch of gold to a mostly white interior.
But if the whole room was bursting with that same brilliant luminescence, then suddenly those light-fixtures wouldn’t be as beautiful. So in this case a little does go a long way.
3) Rich Reflections
It’s true that less is more, but this next example finds a way around that old adage. You never want to use so much gold that it stifles every other colour or aspect of a room, just enough that it draws attention to itself.
Here we find a gorgeous square of gold on the ceiling, and even though it’s just a minor trim, a clever combination of large mirrors and strong overhead lighting reflects that little piece of gold, in essence doubling it.
Not only that, those wall-to-wall mirrors actually enrich the original colour. Notice how the golden square appears far brighter in the reflective glass than on the actual ceiling, thanks to the power of good lighting.
So yes, our subject colour should be used in small quantities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t increase its brilliance through imaginative means.
4) Fantastic Frames
This home aims for a bolder aesthetic through its use of frames, proving beyond doubt how too much gold can dazzle our senses.
Although these golden trims account only for a small portion of the entire room or hallway, they’re so vivid and intense that we can’t help but notice them first. But far from being unattractive, the golden frames help to define the very look of this home, giving it character and charm.
Another point of interest is how every frame is hollow and reveals a white background, making them even more visually distinct. It’s as if someone stole all the paintings but left the frames.
5) Artistic Accents
Deluxe, decadent, dramatic—this final entry pushes gold to new aesthetic heights, not through overuse, but by restrained emphasis.
Here, gold is used to accent the borders of walls and shelf-edges, yet unlike the previous examples the metal is not diluted. Rather, it’s free to glisten vibrantly, and thanks to the overhead lights, the intensity of its luster is only deepened.
In this instance gold doesn’t try to hide—it demands attention.
The pairing of our subject colour with white also reveals the designer’s sharp eye for harmonious blends. The two colours go perfectly together, and when we see those darker gray strokes on the wall, we can’t help but admire the artistry and craftsmanship involved.
But the creativity doesn’t stop there…. Notice how the shelf compartments aren’t symmetrical, and as our eyes attempt to follow their golden contours, we become momentarily dazed by the sudden and unpredictable drops. The use of diagonals and a “Z-like” architecture causes our vision to dart back and forth and up and down, making this storage unit optically unique.
Together with the lush, silken folds of the gold curtain (which just adds another layer to the overall luxurious atmosphere), all of these different elements combine to produce a room rich in colour and good taste.
If we’ve learned one thing from this post it’s that gold is most effective when used with moderation. Too much is overwhelming, while too little is still attractive. In the end what matters is that gold should radiate luxury without being arrogant or showy.