Neutrals are undeniably soothing, serene and sophisticated. To avoid looking bland, flat or otherwise uninteresting, neutrals require a design imperative for their survival: texture. In this room the contrast between the soothing yellow walls and the sculptural white items offers a touch of sophisticated style and texture.
The Power of Accessories
Woven shades, curtains and pillows in raw silk, linen, brocades and embroideries, curly willow sticks in pottery vases, natural elements such as seashells and tumbled stones; three-dimensional artwork for the walls, such as masks, tapestries, and wall hangings; and lastly, mirrors and frames in carved wood, wrought iron or inlaid shells. Are you getting the picture? Any accessory that’s not flat to the touch will bring out the best in your home.
The Layered Look
Texture can be added from top to bottom in a room for dramatic effect. Layer rugs upon rugs, mix smooth leathers with carved metal or play up rough-hewn brick with patterned pillows. Even a sombrero can add a hit of texture.
If you’re a fan of hardwood floors, a wood grain that boasts a lot of gorgeous grain, such as oak or maple, brings instant texture. The variations in the wood’s natural color will add a lot of personality to a neutral room, while providing a stunning foundation to the room’s furnishings. If you tend to be a wall-to-wall carpeting enthusiast, try sculptured or textured carpets. Traditional? Go with a beautiful Oriental rug. If you’re really a trendsetter, go unabashedly into the future with the new shag carpeting or area rugs. Design by Gia Venturi.
The walls, as the backdrop of a room, can be a showcase for texture. If you are an off-white addict, consider using one of the many faux techniques such as ragging, combing, or sponging. Using just a bit of any darker hue, faux techniques bring walls from flat to fabulous, while still keeping very much in a neutral palette. Design by Troy Beasley.
Wallpaper lovers will revel in the effect created by grass cloth and faux suede papers. Designer Shelly Riehl David uses a green grass cloth to add textural interest to this colorful living room. For the more formal option, brocade wallpapers add wonderful texture.
The flickering light of candles of different sizes adds a kind of texture all its own. But candlesticks are also another easy way to introduce texture into a room. Sleek chrome holders, elegant crystal or rough-hewn rattan each offer its own textural note.