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Playing With Plastic

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

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.

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.

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.

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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