Neutrals are OK, but let your spaces sing with personality and depth by layering in colors, patterns and textures. Louisville’s design experts tell us how.
Being bold in your home can be daunting. However, when done correctly, it can make a room. Regardless, the question remains: Where does one start?
Think about stripping the room down to your favorite things and rebuilding it based only on your favorite items. Start with your “Queen,” Lyn Mabry of Living Spaces by Mabry advises.
“There is always a ‘Queen’ in the room,” she says. “The bold sofa, antique mirror, ripe fiddle leaf fig in the corner, exquisite chandelier — that one piece that holds the most important position, the life of the party, the conversation starter — the Queen.”
The Queen doesn’t necessarily have to be a piece of furniture, but rather a ceiling, patterned wallpaper or tiled floor. “All these elements can set the tone for the room,” says Mabry.
Once the Queen has been determined, add color, pattern and texture to bring your room to life.
“Designing a space is a personal and individualized experience,” says Amy Wagner of Reflections of You, by Amy. “However, in all spaces you want layers. The goal is to create a neutral canvas and accessorize with various elements including wood, metal, patterns and fabrics that feel and appeal to the clients’ specific taste.”
We turned to the experts to understand how to incorporate these layers and elements in a seamless way.
Layering colors, patterns & textures into your home
Color has the ability to transform a room. From a bold-colored sofa to a standout travel souvenir to a colorful piece of artwork, pops of colors are a great way to develop style and scheme.
“Color scheme depends a lot on the space and the personality of the person primarily using the space,” says Nancy Rankin of Huber Decor. Think about the room and its purpose. How will the room be used? Are there specific travel trinkets or antique pieces already in possession that should be a part of the room?
Merridian Home Furnishings interior designer Jack Kennedy says, “I myself prefer the bright, saturated colors of India and Morocco, but my job as a designer is to develop a color scheme that my client will find comfortable and inviting.”
Tammy Randall of LL&A Interior Design also starts with the client’s personality. “We will always start with what speaks to a client that they may already own,” she says. “A treasured piece of artwork, an area carpet or a collection of any kind are all sources of inspiration.”
From your anchor point, add items within the same color family to add depth and interest to a room. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color. “The harmony of objects in a space becomes apparent as items are added or edited,” says Mabry of Living Spaces by Lyn.
Bold colors are striking, but patterns create a sense of energy. Depending on how they’re used, they can make a room playful and exciting or calm and tranquil.
“Patterns add great dimension and comfort to a space,” says Randall of LL&A Interior Design. Keep things interesting with an accent chair or ottoman in a dramatic pattern to make a statement.
“Artworks and rugs are I think the most effective ways to introduce bold color and pattern into a room,” says Kennedy of Merridian Home Furnishings. “I love a bold wallpaper in a small powder room.”
Mixing and matching patterns is also perfectly acceptable. It might be helpful to start by building upon one bold pattern in a room. Depending on the tone you wish to set, add patterns that either contrast or complement it.
“To make multiple patterns work together, you need to make sure you are using patterns of different scales,” says Katie Hewitt of Home Staging Specialists. “Using too many small patterns will make a space seem very busy. Don’t be afraid to use a larger-scaled pattern — it will make a great statement in any room, and it will add color that speaks for itself.”
To create a balanced ambiance, choose solid colors in muted tones that play off bolder patterns. “A successful mix of patterns in a room will include a variety of scale and a balance between organic and geometric shapes,” adds Kennedy.
Have you ever looked at a room and thought something was missing? Never underestimate the power of texture. While often overlooked, it puts the finishing touch on any room. In fact, in the wise words of interior designer and blogger Emily Henderson, “Pattern is your friend, but texture is your lover.”
Texture goes beyond appearance to create a feeling. It can add a sense of warmth, comfort or character to a room. “A room in which a variety of textures are incorporated will likely be one in which color recedes into the background,” says Kennedy of Merridian Home Furnishings.
Hewitt of Home Staging Specialists agrees, adding, “In a neutral room, the best way to add interest and personality is through texture. Texture can easily be added to a space and just as easily changed when you’re ready. And, including texture in your space will give it multiple layers and dimensions.”
Some of the best ways to incorporate texture are through books, pillows, blankets, throws, rugs and plants. Additionally, “Custom window treatments always add much-needed texture to a room in either a complementary color or pattern,” says Randall of LL&A Interior Design.
Like jewelry, texture is crucial, but don’t get carried away. Make an impact by creating textural contrast. For instance, “Focus on a variety of materials and textures to add interest, like a deep pile rug, painted brick and a combination of smooth metal and rustic wood,” says Rankin of Huber Decor.
“With so many fabrics and pieces to choose from, I recommend touching and feelings fabrics before finalizing a purchase,” says Wagner of Reflections of You, by Amy. “All too often clients call on our team because they ‘tried coordinating a space on their own’ only to purchase and return items because they were the wrong size, not comfortable or the colors just did not flow. Impulse purchases are not always successful. Take your time.”
There are certain rooms that look particularly rich, interesting and balanced. While interior design cannot be boiled down into a formula or specific steps, layering is the key to an exquisite room. The challenge in design is to encourage all of the elements to interact together in a unique and inviting way. The elements of design are like the language of a room. Each corner should pull you in.
Now, go forth and have fun layering colors, patterns and textures into your own living spaces!