Interior Design Inspiration: Fluted Accents

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Chicago Co-op with traditionalist cues from the 1930's building & modern accents like a fluted cabinet. | Design by Summer Thornton Design

In this Chicago co-op, I took traditionalist cues from the 1930's building it sits in but gave the space a fresh point of view through modern accents like a fluted cabinet. | Design by Summer Thornton Design

I always think homes should have a balance of classical architecture and modern elements - it keeps traditional work fresh & helps modern work remain timeless. I've been weaving more architectural elements into my work, particularly into the furniture we're designing, like the cabinet above. One way I've seen that coming to life is a fresh take on classicism through the inclusion of fluting details.

Today, I’ve rounded up a few fresh takes on the fluting trend, so keep scrolling to get inspired.

Sources: Remodelista, Designing Building Wiki

The Classic English Kitchen by deVOL

"The Classic English Kitchen" by deVOL features a fluted ceramic sink. Styling it with a collection of herbs, moody cabinetry and a brass bridge mixer tap proves that the accent can play nice with rustic touches.

by deVOL

Design by BK Interior Design | Photography by Mike Schwartz

BK Interior Design commissioned this fluted, walnut island for a recent project. Topping the piece with a cut of swirling marble nicely softens the rigid lines of the base. | Photography by Mike Schwartz

design by BK Interior Design Photography by Mike Schwartz

For background, fluting is an ancient technique commonly found in Greek architecture. Many believe its Greek origins date back to a time when early craftsmen relied on tree trunks to support buildings. Preparing the wood for use started with the removal of the tree’s bark; a process that left grooves in the trunk. As more advanced processes were developed, stone became the building material of choice, but designers didn’t leave fluting behind. Many believe they replicated the grooves and ridges they had seen in earlier wooden columns in the stone columns of the day. These carved channels gave the buildings they donned a sense of grandeur and rhythm; two things Greek architects admired at the time.

Photography by Maura McEvoy

This fluted wall's simple paint job helps the accent complement not dominate this hallway vignette.

Photography by Maura McEvoy

Photography by Nicole Franzan

The fluting in the kitchen of Interior designer/chef Athena Calderone is doubly interesting as it is made of plaster. The material's slight, inherent imperfections make for an eye-catching take on the trend.

Photography by Nicole Franzan

The contemporary take on fluting finds the feature breaking out of its historic shell. No longer solely made of stone or reserved for the exterior of a home, I’m now seeing fluting in an array of colors, paired with unexpected materials and fitting in with a plethora of styles. Some curve in and some curve out, but no matter the orientation, each adds an exciting rippling effect to the room it’s used in.

Design by Anon Studio | Photography by Tom Ross

Sometimes, all it takes is a dash to make a splash. As is the case in this project by Anon Studio. The kitchen's fluted accents add interest without taking away from the room's centerpiece: The undulating patio. As featured on Summer Thornton Design's blog

Photography by Tom Ross


Designed by Elizabeth Roberts | Photography by Gieves Anderson  | Styling by Colin King

The fluting in this bathroom by Elizabeth Roberts Architects gives visitors tunnel vision. It immediately draws the eye to the room's showstopping bathtub.

Photography by Gieves Anderson | Styling by Colin King

Fluting's resurgence not only highlights a desire to reinvent the classics but a renewed interest in accents that have a handmade quality about them. Divots, bubbles and other maker's marks dot both wooden and plaster fluting, and give each piece a one-of-a-kind vibe. Sure fluting is pretty, but this personal touch is one of the things I love most about its comeback. 

Fluting can curve in, like in the bathroom below by Amy Hansen of Ames Interiors, or curve out. Both they are equally interesting. | Photography by Kate Osborne

Design by Amy Hansen of Ames Interiors | Photography by Kate Osborne