Variety is the Spice of Design, Too

Velvet, marble, glass, brass, textured florals, a woven rug. Even minimalist designs require variety to become interesting.    Courtesy of Pinterest

Velvet, marble, glass, brass, textured florals, a woven rug. Even minimalist designs require variety to become interesting. Courtesy of Pinterest

For a design to be memorable, it must have depth. How is depth achieved? Variety.

Regardless of style or aesthetic, shape, layout, location or purpose of a space, every piece within it brings its own unique character to the design. How everything goes together is a different story, but, a surefire way for enhancing visual interest is by taking inventory of a few simple elements: colors, patterns, textures and materials (natural & synthetic).

Think in terms of each category individually and then as a whole. The more variety you integrate into each, the more you end up with as a whole. Variety influences the level of energy and stimulation felt in a space - more is more, less is less, and none is flat and boring.

That being said, different aesthetics place emphasis on certain elements over others. For example, materials and textures play a central role in both rustic and industrial designs. With rustic, you tend to see tons of natural woods, leathers, wool and fur. Earth tones are often the color palette, however color (and patterns) are typically more muted and intended to take a back seat to natural materials.

Similarly, industrial designs are often comprised of concrete, chrome, stainless steel and exposed brick. Colors are often very subdued, made up of mostly black, white and shades of grey, complimenting the stark/clean lines of the furnishings.

On the other hand, bohemian and island styles heavily utilize color. Bright, vibrant pink, orange, teal, yellow, etc., can be found in most bohemian designs, whereas pastel blues, yellows, greens and coral are typical for island/beachy looks.

Monochromatic designs center around one or a (small) handful of colors, but require textures to bring the spice. For example, an all white bedroom can be enhanced by diversifying the fabrics used for bedding, incorporating a textured woven area rug, subtly patterned lamp shades, velvets, ruffles, etc. Just because you’re working within a very defined color palette, doesn’t mean you can’t layer extensively.

Color

In these examples, color plays a dominant role, however if you look closely you can still find patterns, natural and synthetic materials and textures blended in.

Vibrant solids - the blue and purple balance out the tremendous amount of greenery in this space.   Courtesy of Pinterest

Vibrant solids - the blue and purple balance out the tremendous amount of greenery in this space. Courtesy of Pinterest

The significant presence of teal is broken up with the addition of brightly colored books and accent pillows.   Courtesy of Pinterest

The significant presence of teal is broken up with the addition of brightly colored books and accent pillows. Courtesy of Pinterest

Each color - found in the walls, art, couch, chair and accent pillows - infuses its own character. Together they create an absolutely intriguing blend.   Courtesy of Pinterest

Each color - found in the walls, art, couch, chair and accent pillows - infuses its own character. Together they create an absolutely intriguing blend. Courtesy of Pinterest

Textures & Materials

These three spaces showcase emphasis placed on texture and materials. Colors and patterns are less of a focal point.

A relatively neutral palette of brown and beige helps highlight the leather and stone.   Courtesy of Pinterest

A relatively neutral palette of brown and beige helps highlight the leather and stone. Courtesy of Pinterest

The wood paneled ceiling, chrome accent furniture, furry rug and stone fireplace stand out against the otherwise neutral palette.    Courtesy of Pinterest

The wood paneled ceiling, chrome accent furniture, furry rug and stone fireplace stand out against the otherwise neutral palette. Courtesy of Pinterest

This bedroom is made far more interesting with the addition of the brass detailing, mirrored panel and textured rug.   Courtesy of Pinterest

This bedroom is made far more interesting with the addition of the brass detailing, mirrored panel and textured rug. Courtesy of Pinterest

Patterns

Patterns can be integrated in many different ways - flooring, wallpaper, blankets, art, rugs, upholstery, backsplashes, lighting, etc. They can be played up or down depending on how busy they are, and add dynamic contrast even when they’re more muted.

The patterned flooring and rug is balanced out by the solid dark wall paint, allowing the floral decal to become the focal point.   Courtesy of Pinterest

The patterned flooring and rug is balanced out by the solid dark wall paint, allowing the floral decal to become the focal point. Courtesy of Pinterest

Herringbone patterned flooring creates a strong foundation and contrast against the otherwise very minimalist, modern aesthetic.  Courtesy of Pinterest

Herringbone patterned flooring creates a strong foundation and contrast against the otherwise very minimalist, modern aesthetic. Courtesy of Pinterest

The pattern on the walls is perfectly eye-catching without being overwhelming - had it been a more vibrant/bright color, it could have been too much.    Courtesy of Pinterest

The pattern on the walls is perfectly eye-catching without being overwhelming - had it been a more vibrant/bright color, it could have been too much. Courtesy of Pinterest

For additional ideas, check out my inspiration gallery here and my Pinterest account here.

Until next time,

LG