Texture and color make interior superior

May 15, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

No matter how much I emphasize the importance of texture and color, I still feel that I may not be not doing full justice to their role in giving a room a distinct personality.

Fabric, for example -- a design element that contains both color ++ and texture -- is often the key to transforming a room that's cold and lifeless. Rugs, upholstery, curtains, cushions -- all the "soft goods" -- can do so much to change the atmosphere of an interior.

But fabric is not, of course, the only way of achieving this kind of effect. Personal touches -- photographs, treasured books, a meaningful collection -- will frequently be sufficient to give a space a lived-in feel and look. Sometimes, though, more is

needed, and that's when a knack for color and texture can make a setting truly outstanding.

Even though it's black and white, the photograph shows what I mean. (The photo is from Tricia Guild's book, "Tricia Guild on Color," published by Rizzoli.)

The walls of this room have been painted in a combination of light, warm and neutral colors in order to reflect the daylight and the colors chosen for the fabrics. For example, the softly patterned pulled-back curtain is alive with yellow, orange, pink and green. And those same colors are used for the curtain's large-scale plaid lining.

Plaid appears on the upholstery fabric as well. By repeating the colors and designs on the bed coverings and the draped wall hanging, the designer of this room has artfully wrapped it in color and texture.

All the fabrics shown here, by the way, are from the Tricia Guild collection.

And how, you may well ask, does a non-professional find the inspiration to create such a striking motif? It doesn't come easily, I admit.

I'm not an elitist, however, who believes that only a fully trained interior designer can possibly produce a breathtakingly beautiful room. What's required -- much more than professional credentials -- is a gifted eye.

One might start with a colorful rug, an attractive artwork or a favorite printed fabric. Even this extraordinary setting could have started with a kilim rug . . . which led to the curtain, which led to the wall hanging, which led to the upholstery. . . .

Those of you who are reluctant to mix patterns and colors may be reassured by the fact that this particular room contains no fewer than seven different patterns and at least 12 distinct colors, not including their various shades. If it were seen in color, the effect might be too much for some tastes.

The point, however, is not that a space has to be crammed with all sorts of combinations in order to take on a unique appearance. Personality can be imparted to a space in a much less dramatic but equally effective manner. But I do doubt whether a room can ever take on a memorable look of its own LTC unless it is somehow lifted out of the ordinary.

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