It's What's Inside That Counts: Ode to the Contrast Interior

It's What's Inside That Counts: Ode to the Contrast Interior

Eleanor Büsing
Jan 19, 2016
(Image credit: Casey Dunn for Dwell)

Of all the architectural details I gravitate towards (and there are a lot—I sometimes worry that, given the opportunity to design my own home, it would end up looking like a postmodern funhouse), one of my favorites is the contrast interior. When a wall niche, the inside of an item of furniture, or any other structural cutaway reveals a fun material or color, it just sets my heart a-flutter.


  1. The contrast interior works well to elevate hidden storage, as in this space from Openstudio Architects in London. (For more, see the home's Small Cool entry.)
  2. For a more luxe, lacquered example, check out this glam California home featured in Architectural Digest.
  3. Contrasting finishes works perfectly in a kitchen, as in this timber-and-black space by Architektu Biuras via Arch Daily.
  4. Also found on Arch Daily, the reverse by Arhitektura doo works just as well!
  5. Designer Kelly Hoppen made the inner return of this staircase—found on Luxxu—a feature by cladding it in a matte black material.


  1. Here, an entire room is given the contrast treatment. The living room wrapped in slatted timber is by Susanna Cots Interior Design via One Kind Design.
  2. This property by Belgian architecture firm Minus features many examples of interior contrast, but I especially love the insides of the wardrobes.
  3. The look is sometimes as simple as painting a niche, as seen in this home in Nuevo Estilo via Domaine...
  4. Or in a slightly more modern iteration, in this home by Paris-based SWAN Architects via HomeDSGN.
  5. I love how the whole side section of a floor looks done in a contrast finish; the fascinating "Ant House" is by mA-style architects via Wookmark.
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