6 ways interior designer Kelly Hoppen brings texture into neutral interiors

Designer Kelly Hoppen talks us through how to add texture to a neutral scheme

three neutral interiors with different textures
(Image credit: Future)

Neutrals are a favorite when it comes to interior design, bringing timeless style and effortless sophistication. Neutrals are loved for the fact that they complement any interior scheme and any style of home, from on-trend modern decor right through to classic traditional designs.

However, decorating with neutrals is not as simple as just avoiding bright color and embracing neutral room ideas. In order for a neutral scheme to feel warm and welcoming, using texture in interior design is essential. Below, designer Kelly Hoppen talks us through how to add texture to a neutral scheme.

kelly hoppen headshot
Kelly Hoppen

Multi-award-winning designer Kelly Hoppen CBE is one of the most sought-after designers of her generation, having founded Kelly Hoppen Interiors over 43 years ago. With thousands of projects, including exclusive commercial properties, private homes and 5* hotels, she is passionate about making her design ethos accessible to the masses. Kelly has also authored nine books, including her latest release Essential Style Solutions for Every Home.

1. Incorporate texture for interest

Beige living room with beige sofa and terracotta accents

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

'Textural contrast is key to adding interest and depth to neutral rooms. Consider how things feel as well as how they look, and make sure you create a feast for the fingers and feet as well as the eyes. For instance, think of smooth silk, soft wool, sumptuous velvet and coarse linen alongside the natural grain of wood, cool metal and glass or hard stone.'

2. Create harmony in a neutral interior

bedroom neutral decor black bedside table, pendnat light and bed with textured headboard and yellow cuhsion

(Image credit: Kelly Hoppen)

'The art of creating a harmonious interior is to compose a decorating scheme with a balanced mix of light, mid and dark tones that all sit comfortably together. Make sure that within that range there are a variety of textures at play. For instance, in this bedroom, layers of texture, balanced tones and a pop of yellow create a warm and welcoming space.' 

If you're feeling inspired, then you'll love neutral bedroom ideas that will help you to curate your dream sanctuary.

3. Use textures to unite an open-plan space 

modern open plan living dining room with neutral decor

(Image credit: Kelly Hoppen)

'A balanced neutral scheme can be especially successful as part of open plan living room ideas or open plan kitchen ideas, as you can repeat tones and textures in the different zones but with a slightly different emphasis in each. For example, a taupe carpet in one area might be echoed by taupe upholstery in another.

'In this space, the dining room is linked to the sitting area by the considered balance of light and dark on the floors and walls, with the dark velvet runners on the taupe upholstery echoing the dark wooden beams, slats and shelf that define the design grid.'

4. Play with pattern

cream cushion with black bone button

(Image credit: Kelly Hoppen)

'When it comes to decorating with beige and other neutral living room ideas, self-patterned and damask fabrics are a great way to introduce subtle pattern into a scheme, while small doses of statement fabrics – perhaps crushed velvet, pleated silk or lace – can be brought in for textural contrast. For example, damask upholstery is contrasted with a paler linen cushion adorned with a large shiny black horn button.'

5. Embrace texture with trims

armchair and window with curtain

(Image credit: Creative Tonic)

'Clever details, such as a contrasting trim, band or runner, an unexpected fringe or an oversized button can make all the difference to the overall design and provide just enough interest to elevate furnishings a long way out of the ordinary.

'Cushion bands in contrasting textures and either toning or accent colors are one of my signature designs. For example, a taupe linen sofa can be enhanced with an off-white linen cushion with a wide velvet band. 

'The same mentality can be applied to curtain ideas too. Consider opting for loose-weave linen curtain and then trim with silk edging for contrast.'

6. Consider runners to mix materials

neutral bathroom with vinyl flooring, pared back style, wet room in background

(Image credit: Carpetright)

'Runners provide the perfect opportunity to bring contrasting materials and textures together in order to highlight and offset the qualities of each. Think of the grain and patina of a dark-stained wood floor inset with a shiny metal runner, the random patterning on a marble panel running through a plain plaster wall, or natural linen panels hung to create instant warmth and simple texture.'

Holly Reaney
Content Editor and Sub-editor

Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.