How Designers Are Using Fluting

How Designers Are Using Fluting

interior with fluted detail

Nathan Schroeder

We can’t stop thinking of fluting lately—and no, it’s not because of Lizzo’s showstopping performance last night. The instrument is nice and all, but what’s really captured our interest is the decorative detail: a surface that has been grooved to create repeating scallop-shaped ridges. Over the past few years, fluting has been most common on dresser fronts and tables (and even spawned quite a few DIY tutorials), but lately we’re seeing it used in far more creative applications. At the annual Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in Dallas last week, the motif popped up on everything from millwork to upholstery to natural stone—and we loved each iteration more than the last. The versatile treatment strikes the perfect balance between modern and classic, offering unique texture without feeling too ornate (especially when realized in an oversized scale or unexpected material). Read on to see how some of the country’s top designers incorporate fluting in myriad ways.

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In the showhouse entry, Jean Liu created a warm, modern alternative to traditional wainscoting by swathing walls in fluted millwork warm white oak. The effect is a texture that’s bold without being distracting.


Fluted Bathroom Storage

In the primary bath, meanwhile, Huma Sulaiman created a striking two-tone effect by topping a fluted cabinet in soft gray with a bold, black marble, connected with a brass band. Eagle-eyed observers will notice the fluted detail is echoed in the edge of the carpet as well as the marble wainscoting.

M + M Interior Design carved a reading nook out of their sprawling living space, adding a fluted fireplace in dramatic black stone. It’s a modern foil to the room’s more classic elements: floral pattern, skirted furniture, pleats, and sisal.

Ahmad Abou Zanat of Project AZ also turned to fluted stone in the bathroom of his wellness space, where the grooved marble aligns with the abstracted ikat stripe of the wallpaper behind it.

In the beverage bar outside the bathroom, Abou Zanat also designed a fluted side table in an ombré pattern.

Natasha Baradan, meanwhile, blew the fluted motif up to oversized scale for a custom sofa, whose round shape complements an oversized bay window.

Jess Davis of Atelier Davis also looked to fluted upholstery in her hallway, designing a channel-tufted bench in chartreuse whose scalloped silhouette echoes a fluted finish.

LC Studio’s living room is brimming with unconventional takes, like a playful console leg inspired by traditional fluting.

Though it’s not technically fluting, a pair of stacked chunky arches were realized in stone for the dramatic splash in the bathroom by Beauty Is Abundant founder Leah Alexander.

Blaire Murfee of Blaire Designs, meanwhile, hearkened back to the earliest fluted forms with a classical column whose patina adds extra depth to a staircase covered in a faux tile motif by de Gournay.

Chad Graci’s multi-room bathroom space comprises a series of richly-textured rooms, including a washroom with black fluted marble wainscoting that complements the dark details throughout.

Another abstract interpretation: Byron Risdon’s inviting patio, where chair backs and tabletop vases have a scallop pattern that loosely echo the shape of fluting.

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