Most people use paint or coloured wallpaper to decorate their walls, so focusing on texture can be a fresh way to approach an interior. There are many ways to use texture, and the results can be quite striking.
Wallpaper shouldn’t be discounted; one of the best and easiest ways to add a textural element to walls is with wall coverings made from natural fibres. While the effect is usually subtle, it is a great way to add a sense of warmth to a room. Reeds, bamboo and jute—materials commonly used by wallpaper manufacturers—offer slightly different looks, but grasscloth is the standard. It is available in many colours, including natural straw hues and whites.
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Another option is embossed wallpaper with a raised pattern. It typically comes in traditional styles, many of which resemble old pressed-tin ceilings (steer clear of papers that attempt a faux stucco finish; they tend to be gaudy.) Embossed wallpaper usually can be painted, if you want to achieve the same finish and colour you have on the rest of your walls.
You don’t necessarily have to cover an entire wall with texture to add visual interest to your home. Juliette Spencer, an interior designer who works for the firm Clodagh in Manhattan, took a minimalist approach to her own New York apartment.
“My apartments are always white. I like that it’s very clean and calming,” she says, but “having a very plain white can be too cold.” To add warmth to her living room, she hung a sculptural element called Wall Forest by David Wiseman, a Los Angeles designer. Made from white resin, Wall Forest looks like a series of tree trunks embedded in the wall. Wiseman designs the pieces—which are 3-5ft high—to resemble 15 species, such as pine and birch.
“How most people think about colour is how I think about texture,” Spencer says. “There’s enough visual noise in texture to forgo colour.”
©2008/The New York Times
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