Home & Garden

Latest accent in home decor: wrought iron

Sheri Provost never considered using decorative iron wall art for a headboard.

"I'd seen wrought iron, but I didn't think about using it in our master bedroom until Pam (Milam) gave us that idea," says Provost, 43, an entrepreneur and author from Fresno, Calif.

About a year ago, Milam, an interior rearranger and owner of Reinvented Rooms in Fresno, suggested Provost hang a set of three arched panels just above the bed like a headboard.

Provost, who likes the new look, says the set up has attracted attention. "A lot of people comment on it when they come over," she says. "They say, `Wow! What a great idea.' It really is an unique idea."

You might see decorative metal wall art pieces and grills outdoors, but they're now making decor statements inside the home.

These often-ornate pieces can be made of iron, other metals or even faux iron with the look of the real thing. They can be black, bronze, painted or rustic. "There are so many different finishes" to select among, Milam says.

Iron or metal pieces were commonly used outdoors initially, Milam says. "I think wrought iron (decor pieces) -- before they were indoors at all -- they were outdoors and were garden accents," she says. "(But) both areas became important to decorate and important that they follow a decorating scheme."

When the Tuscan or Old World look became popular several years ago, iron and metal pieces became part of the decor style. "When it became hot, (iron decor) was really expensive," she says. "Now, they're available at a variety of price points."

But iron and metal wall art and grills aren't limited to just those styles, she says. "Iron -- while it's primary look is the Old World or Tuscan look -- it can be adapted to any decor."

Ruby Flake, owner of Interior Imports in Fresno, agrees.

"They do lend themselves to the Tuscan, Italian or Old World styles, but I've also seen them in contemporary styles, too," she says. Those often have less ornate detailing.

Decorative wall art pieces come in various shapes, including rectangular, circles, crosses and squares. Many have elaborate scrolls, swirls or leaves. They can be found at interior decor stores and at some florists and nurseries. Costs of individual pieces vary. Starting prices can be between $20 and $50. Larger pieces or sets like those in Provost's bedroom can cost $400 to $600.

In many ways, iron wall grills work like any other piece of art you might put on a wall. But because they don't have an array of colors like you might have in paints or tapestries, they are less busy and blend in easily, Flake says.

"They fill wall space really well," she says.

Leah Orlando of Fresno also has the same set of three arched panels in her bedroom. However, her set isn't positioned like a headboard.

"Originally, we'd been looking for a painting," says Orlando, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother. Then she saw the panels at Interior Imports less than a year ago and decided to get them instead. Her father had textured the walls, and then she had the walls faux painted with various earth tones.

"It's really pretty because you can see the texturing," she says. "The whole wall is like a decorative piece."

Besides bedroom walls, decorative iron art and grills also can be put above mantels, windows, doorways and even tapestries. Some also can be place in recessed niches.

Tammy Goode of Sanger has an arch-like iron piece with scrolls above a tapestry. "It just sort of softens the look," says Goode, 49, a sales representative who also plans to start her own interior decorating business. "If I just had the tapestry, you'd go in and say, `Oh, that's nice.' ... But (the decorative iron piece) lets you create an effect."

In Provost's bedroom, she also has an ornate iron grill above a fireplace, while a bathroom attached to the playroom has a rectangular panel above the towel bar. She's also planning to put up a decorative rustic white iron-looking piece in her daughter's bedroom.

"There are a lot of ways to use wrought iron," Provost says. "Places you might not think about. Don't limit yourself."

Homes with high ceilings and expansive walls can fill empty spaces with these iron grills, Milam says.

"You might hang a tapestry, but you still hang it at an appropriate eye level," she says. "A decorative iron art piece above the tapestry can be nice. It fills the wall. ... (And) the half round pieces, those can go over a lot of things."