Tips and Guides

Design School: Designer Tricks and Furnishings (Conclusion)

The cool palette of blue, green, and white set the stage for this nail spa's calming vibe


From a tea shop to a hotel, we now focus on a nail spa. The palette used gives the place a relaxing vibe, an ambiance apt for the services on offer. Lounge on one of the cushy armchairs or share a seat with a chum on the couch as you get your digits pampered. “We wanted to create a whimsical, charming, and creative space that would be very relaxing for the customers,” says Athena Maramag, a junior designer at Design Hirayama + Quesada. The whimsical and charming bit was achieved with a wall mural depicting nature, plus the country-fresh accessories dotting the space.  Meanwhile, the creative mix of pillow cover patterns provides just a dose of spunk to toughen up the reign of pastels.

Photographed by Vincent Coscolluela and Miguel Nacianceno (Marriott Hotel).

Read the original article ("Commercial Break") in the August 2012 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.  

Tres Chic, Tres Fresh

Designer Trick #1: Fake a high ceiling.

Nailandia boasts a well-lit, airy interior that makes it look much roomier than it really is. The secret lies in creating an illusion of a higher ceiling. “To make the space look higher, we had the furniture custom-made to look smaller, so it would [seem] like there’s more head room.” Athena shares. Magnify the effect with a drop ceiling and cove lighting. 

Designer Trick #2: Put some love on the floor.

Laying out a rug is not the only way to dress up the flooring; consider sprucing it up with diagonally placed tiles. “We created the tile treatment at the center of the nail area to elongate the space,” says Athena. The simple chevron stripe-pattern of tiles, also in blue, green, and white, does wonders in effortlessly accentuating the space. 

Designer Trick #3: Use architectural details as decorative elements.

Got a winding staircase? How about windows with wonderful grillwork? Lovely architectural details such as these can be used as accents. Highlight them with a fresh coat of paint in the same shade as the prevailing color scheme, or in a contrasting hue. In Nailandia’s foyer, a balustrade painted white was added to set off the area from the rest. Bonus tip: Altering a furniture’s image can be done not only by changing the upholstery, but also by opting for different turnings or legs.

Nothing beats white cushy seating pieces in exuding a calming ambiance, as shown in Nailandia’s pampering area. Top them pillows with prints culled from nature. You can also add a colored or patterned loveseat and occasional chairs. Have fun shopping for country or Shabby Chic-inspired décor to perk up the shelves and walls. 


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