Want to feather your nest this fall? Look to nature for some cues.
Neutrals are the best for your surroundings—walls and permanent fixtures like floors and counters of tile and marble look great in soft neutrals. Shades of white, beige and taupe work well because they allow you to layer with pretty, bright accessories like colorful artwork, velvet pillows and vivid wool rugs. Fuzzy textures like an alpaca throw rug on top of a large, flat-weave rug or wood floor add flair to any room while keeping a clean, modern look. With a uniform background color, you can change accessories easily and modify your whole room—even rotate pillows and rugs from room to room to transform the entire look of a space.
Once you establish your neutral background, look to inject color, texture and pattern in your drapes, upholstery fabric, or bedding. Or if you’re not ready for lots of color, consider tone-on-tone materials to add pattern and movement to your fabrics. Ikat, gingham check and geometric patterns all look beautiful in varying shades of one color.
Taupes, creams, grays, blues, and greens can all be versatile, easy-to-use colors in your home palette. According to Elaine Stephenson of Elaine Stephenson Interiors, “true green”—what she calls a “medium green”—is big right now in the world of interiors. She recommends working in some textiles that are bold and colorful—particularly in geometrics which are still quite prevalent—once you’ve established your base palette.
Organic looks are also popular in fabrics right now—botanical motifs like leaf prints and large flower patterns on items like throw pillows or seat cushions on a porch or deck. Another natural-fiber fabric that is always on trend is linen. It works easily for drapes and bed skirts because it hangs nicely and comes in a variety of colors. Linen drapes and Roman shades look beautiful in their simplicity, or can be dressed up with trim. Look for bandings with bright geometric patterns that bring out the colors of your patterned upholstery.
Velvet is another popular fabric choice with rich texture that also gives an elegant vibe. It is a classic material that works well for drapes, dresses up an occasional chair, or adds a dash of color as a luxurious throw pillow on a busy patterned piece. Another luxe look and feel in textiles is chenille, offering a warm fuzzy feel that amplifies well-being.
Wallpaper is having a serious moment in home decorating. Large format printers now create endless designs at reasonable prices, and new materials make it easier to remove—so using it is not the daunting commitment it used to be. There are even papers and decals that can be put on the wall and peeled off once the room’s needs change—a great design solution for nurseries and playrooms since children grow up so quickly.
Stephenson attests to the benefits of bold, colorful wallpapers that are so popular now. “Wallpaper makes a room very pretty and sophisticated,” she says. “There are so many designs that you can really have fun with them. You can get very creative with wallpaper.”
Chinoiserie patterns look fabulous in powder rooms and dining rooms above chair rail molding. Grasscloth still reigns as a wonderful material that comes in many neutral shades. It looks particularly smart in foyers, offices and dens. There is even a wallpaper that makes your walls look like they are covered in distressed wood—think shiplap without the depth requirement. Once you see it on a wall, you will want to touch it to make sure it isn’t real.
Indeed, now is the time to give your rooms a wash of the basics. Solid color backgrounds of white, cream, gray, blush, and taupe provide the backdrop for your artistic additions. This is the fun part! Try classics like a little velvet chair or throw pillow and mix in some linen drapes or Roman shades. For a pick me up, put some wallpaper in your powder room and add sconces or a chandelier for sparkle. Jazz up your home office or library with grasscloth paper to make it an inviting space while you tackle bills and update your calendar. Once you have set your neutral color scheme, shopping becomes enjoyable when you search for the fun accessories that truly make a house your home.