A design element that I have been seeing pop up subtly, but in a lot of different ways, are scallops. Scallops can be used throughout design from woodwork, to fabric, to tile, painted details, and more. Scallops were initially inspired by shells we find in the sea, used in design for centuries and in many cultures.
You can find a variety of architectural examples of an inverted scallop from the buildings of the Moorish empire in northern Africa and Spain. A lot of design inspiration of patterns and architectural details can be drawn from the Middle East. In most traditional interpretations of the Quran, followers of Islam are not allowed to create depictions or representations of living beings, as that is a disrespectful to Allah, the one true creator of all things. Instead they poured their creative energies into beautiful and intricate patterns and designs.
Fast forward to today, and scallops are still heavily used in design today, in different ways. Design elements like scallops are used across a variety of different design styles, regardless of the style you may personally lean towards. They elevate a space by adding a subtle detail and interest to a neutral space, or as a pattern contrast in a more playful and vivid room. Below are some ways that you can incorporate the use of scallops throughout the spaces in your home.
Furniture is a fun way to bring in this detail to a space. Whether it be a couch, headboard, chair, or bench, the possibilities are endless. The settee below is from Nickey Kehoe, though locally you can also have this done when reupholstering old furniture, or when purchasing new furniture for a room.
Another simple way to bring scallops into your home through upholstery are the backs of chairs, sofas, and headboards.
There are several ways to have more fun with tile through the use of scallops, such as in this eclectic modern kitchen designed in Los Angeles, California by Murphy Deesign.
As A Frame
Scallops are fun to use to frame out focal points for a room. In these two examples, the designers framed out both a window and a stove using scallops to draw the eye in.
Linens + Fabrics
I think this might be the easiest way to add this detail into your home. It could be a scalloped edge bedspread, crib skirt, shower curtain, and more. It gives a bit of appreciative whimsy to a room, a unique touch to everyday home products.
I’ve included both lighting and plumbing fixtures in this one. Although the latter is not very realistic for the average person, it is an absolute dream. And we can all dream, right?
Incorporate Scallops in Your Own Home
I have rounded up some fun home items that allow you to use this design element in your home! But as always, I encourage you to only buy what you need and see if you can find it second hand! I found this beautiful vintage capiz shell lamps at a local thrift store and used them in our guest room. A few of the finds I listed are also secondhand, vintage items from Etsy.
I tried to find items from all price points and design styles in this round up. Included in these items are vintage and handmade items from small businesses on Etsy.
Lastly, I am sharing a photo of a vintage Cadiz shell scalloped lamps that I found at a local thrift shop. I always want to encourage to keep an eye out while shopping second hand, either at a store locally, or online through Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. Shopping second hand is a great way to save money, and the environment. Plus, unique vintage finds can really elevate interiors beyond a cookie cutter space and into one that is intriguing, personal, and warm.