Playing With Plastic

Follow these four steps to decorating with plastic in your own home.

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Lucite pendant custom-designed by Form Architecture + Interiors.

Add space and sparkle.

Since the eye travels right through it, acrylic "blends with its surroundings and imparts a sense of spaciousness and lightness," says Holly Becker, a Boston interior designer and author of the popular blog decor8 (decor8.blogspot.com). An acrylic table in an entryway, for instance, provides a surface for display and storage but takes up zero visual space. Likewise, an acrylic chair tucked under a white-painted table creates a stylish but visually unobtrusive home workspace. And while glass reflects light, acrylic actually carries it, "allowing light to dance in a space," Becker says, and making the material seem lit from within.

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Mix it up.

A Lucite lamp looks classy (and classic) on a glass table, but it’s also fun to juxtapose the diaphanous material against a heavier or rougher surface. "Lucite works as a gorgeous contrast to upholstered, wood, or solid pieces," says Brent Leonard of New York City’s Form Architecture + Interiors (FormArch.com), which often uses Lucite in its projects.

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Get eclectic.

Play with style juxtapositions, too: Soften a stark, modern space with acrylic furniture or lighting that’s molded into ornate, neo-Baroque forms – a common update on the more straightforward styles of yesteryear. Or add wit to a traditional room by incorporating a bit of space-age swank. "Take a beautiful antique table, for instance, and modernize it with acrylic chairs," Becker suggests.

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Remember: All things in moderation.

Overdone, "Lucite can look a bit ‘Seventies drug dealer,’ " Hulanicki admits. So unless that’s the vibe you’re actually going for, use acrylic as an accent, not the main attraction. One piece of acrylic furniture or a couple of accessories per room is all you need to add a touch of sexy, see-through style. A little Lucite, after all, goes a long way.

Leah Hennen has a Lucite table in her living room. She has written for Real Simple, The New York Times and Parenting magazine, among others.

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