How to Add Color and Texture to Your Home

You’ve heard the expression “pop of color” ad nauseam but don’t know where to add it. Or maybe you want your space to have more character but aren’t sure how to impart it. Denise LaVey, a Los Angeles interior designer, has answers. “Texture creates warmth and it makes the space come alive. Color creates the mood and ambiance,” she explains. With both concepts, balance is the key; excess in either makes for an overwhelming aesthetic.

For walls and large pieces of furniture, focus on warm, neutral hues (beige, linen, tan, pewter, any shade of gray). Accent with brighter colors (LaVey leans towards blues and greens) in the form of artwork, throw pillows, curtains, lamps, mirrors, or a funky chair. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box–or beyond the walls. Paint your front door a daring color. Instead of the usual accent wall, look up; your ceiling wants attention, too. Paint it. Wallpaper it. Stencil it. You can even panel it in wood or metal tiles.  (If you’re unsure about how to do any of those things, this is when you should call the pros.) Flooring is another area to have some fun in. Try dark hardwood in black, ebony, or espresso hues. Go minimal with gray tones. Lighten up with ultra blonde. Stand out with wide planks.

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In the kitchen, a tile backsplash can be as ornate or simple as you desire. Though LaVey prefers stainless steel appliances and uses paneling to make them blend in with their surroundings, there are companies like Big Chill doing retro and professional appliances in vivacious hues like turquoise, orange, and buttercup yellow. 

When adding texture, keep textiles natural, but don’t be afraid to try a fur throw (real or faux) or a pintuck duvet cover. Keep building materials earthy with stones, brick, or wood. For one of LaVey’s projects in Maine, she used reclaimed wood as paneling for the kitchen cabinetry and brick from an old schoolhouse for a rustic doorway and fireplace. For a bedroom in Coronado, Calif., she recruited painted brick to give the room a New York loft feel, then accented the space with bedside tables and bookcases made from reclaimed wood and steel.

Where to find such things? LaVey’s favorite L.A. shopping spots for unique, high-end furnishings include Thomas Lavin, Holly Hunt, and vintage furniture gallery Orange. An avid traveler, she’s also gone so far as to source pottery and textiles from South Africa, lacquer pieces and artwork from Vietnam, and custom furniture made of goatskin and shagreen (that’s stingray skin for the uninitiated) from the Philippines.

“I’m not a huge trendy person,” LaVey says. “I just kind of do what I like and what the clients likes.”

Sounds like a solid–and easily imitable– interior design philosophy.

Photos: Courtesy Denise LaVey.