When you contrast natural tones and textures in an interior scheme, the individual beauty of each surface is highlighted. Think about the lovely interplay between a woven wall hanging on a textured white wall or a shelf styled with jute baskets, handmade ceramics and found natural ephemera. A balanced and uncluttered application of texture in organic tones will always create an inviting and welcoming home.
For expert styling advice on how to layer neutrals, we turned to Lynda Gardener, a highly respected Australian interior design talent and the mastermind of five stunning boutique holiday retreats across Victoria. “I think using different textures adds so much to a space that doesn’t feature a lot of colour,” says Lynda. Read on to learn how to layer neutrals like a pro.
Rugs and textiles are vital for a beautifully layered room.
A rug with a natural tone and subtle texture - such as our fair trade jute rugs and runners - provides a timeless decorating base and masses of cosiness. When Lynda sets out to decorate a space, the styling journey begins at her feet. “I usually start with an oversized rug… It makes the space homely and gives a lived-in and loved feeling,” she says.
Hand-loomed organic cotton towels in the bathroom and linen throws in the lounging and sleeping areas are also essential additions. You can’t beat the beautiful, effortless drape that a natural fabric gives you and the sense of everyday luxury it brings.
A fail-safe approach to layering textures without overwhelming a room is to choose one sizeable textured element that draws the eye. “It’s all about picking a focal point or hero piece,” Lynda explains. For example, a statement wall hanging will sing in an area that is otherwise lightly adorned and pared back. Consider the visual effect of a Jumbo Tassel Wall Hanging taking centre stage in an all-white living room or a Mandala Wall Hanging above a bed dressed in neutral linen layers.
Woven pendant lights can be incorporated the same way. They delineate zones in an open plan space- hung over a dining table, for example - and highlight the proportions of a room by directing the eye up and around. The beauty of a handwoven shade is amplified with a warm glow when the light is switched on. Try our Kariba Cone Pendant Light on either side of a bed or the Matabele Dome Pendant Light in multiples over a kitchen island to achieve the effect.
Embodying the idea of ‘beautiful utility,’ a woven storage basket is a heaven-sent homeware item that imbues organic texture and masses of functionality throughout the home.
As bathrooms and laundries are usually made up of hard surfaces and straight lines, adding a woven laundry basket will soften any visual harshness and bring more organisation to the spaces.
Positioned by the base of a bed layered in soft linen, a woven basket such as our Seafarer Basket provides subtle textural contrast and a convenient spot to store extra cushions or blankets. Smaller woven baskets, such as our Buna Basket or Small Jute Basket, can hide unsightly clutter while looking good sitting on a side table or bench top.
Natural decorative objects bring measured touches of texture to your home. It’s a styling trick that Lynda draws on constantly- her interesting vignettes add to the storied feeling of each space and energise bare nooks or surfaces. “It’s layers and layers, always!’ she exclaims.
Vary your materials, shapes and finishes within a vignette to create an eye-catching display. You can add texture to your coffee table top with a beautiful cluster of Clay Beads or an ocean-found treasure. On a shelf in a kitchen or study nook, place small woven baskets next to shapely ceramics and a pile of books. Leave some breathing space around your arrangement to keep it looking harmonious and not hectic.
A common question around choosing timber finishes and furnishings is whether you should mix or match the timber tones. “I love a bit of a mix, to be honest,” says Lynda. “It feels and looks more natural and collected. I have, for example, lots of light-coloured woods, and no two are the same.” She also mixes in timber pieces painted in shades of white. “They work perfectly with the natural wood selections.”
If your social calendar calls for a special gathering in your home, let your natural interior design inspire a neutral layered table setting. Our jute table runners, placemats and coasters will give you a versatile base for layering your dinnerware, glassware and styling additions. Add casually draped linen napkins to reinforce the tactile and approachable look. Lynda suggests creating a centrepiece with a natural element, like a sculptural branch, and bringing in lots of candlelight to create an inviting ambience.
Lynda firmly believes that bringing in potted greenery is a surefire way to boost the texture palette. “I style with plants to add to the natural colour palette and make the space feel alive,” she says.
Our handmade woven pots and baskets are strong enough to contain your favourite plant and soft enough to add a beautiful textural touch. The Large Woven Pot or a laundry basket made from jute is a good choice for taller plants, such as fiddle leaf figs or olive trees, while the jute Small Square Basket looks great filled with smaller botanicals and styled onto a shelf or tabletop.
Article written by Jessica Bellef.
Image credits from top: Lynda Gardener & photography Marnie Hawson; The Dharma Door at The Lodge Byron Bay & photography Jessie Prince (left); interior design Georgie Shepherd Interiors and photography by Christopher Morrison (right); AMA Studio Interiors (left); The Salty Home and photography by Muse Photography (right); Salt at Shoal Bay (left); AMA Studio Interiors (right); Oak & Orange (top left); The Dharma Door at Noa by the Beach & photography Jessie Prince (centre); The Dharma Door at Two Acres & photography Jessie Prince (top right); The Dharma Door at Picadilly House & photography Jessie Prince (bottom); Oak & Orange (top left); Soul Home & photography by The Palm Co (top right); The Dharma Door at LeViti Newybar & photography Jessie Prince (bottom left); The Salty Home and photography by Muse Photography (bottom right); The Salty Home and photography by Muse Photography (left); The Dharma Door at Haveli Byron Bay & photography Jessie Prince (right); The Dharma Door at Noa by the Beach Noosa & photography Jessie Prince (left); The Dharma Door at Two Acres & photography Jessie Prince (right); AMA Studio Interiors (left); Lynda Gardener Room+Board & photography Lean Timms.
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