Decorating Ideas

5 Ways Bold Textures Can Transform Your Rooms

5 Ways Bold Textures Can Transform Your Rooms
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Let’s face it: The phrases “layer on texture” and “add texture” often come up when designers talk about decorating. But it’s not always clear what they mean, let alone how to apply this advice to your home.

To help break it all down, we turned to nomadic makeover mavericks Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. Though they aren’t your typical designers, they are masters at using bold textures in their dreamy interiors—shaggy rugs, warm woods, lots of pillows and quilts. If you don’t know Tara and Percy, hop on their inspiring Instagram and you’ll see what we mean.

The M.O. of the designing couple, who launched their trailblazing company in 2010, has been to live in the spaces that they ultimately renovate and decorate, often with vintage pieces discovered at flea markets, custom-built furniture, and of course, plenty of wallpaper, plush pillows, bedding, and natural materials.

Step inside one of their latest ventures, a family’s enormous vacation home, and get their tips for decorating with texture to gorgeous effect.

Layered rugs—Moroccans and a tightly woven fringed mat—ground the main living area in the beach house, where pastel hues pop against the neutral tones.

Layered rugs—Moroccans and a tightly woven fringed mat—ground the main living area in the beach house, where pastel hues pop against the neutral tones.

Tara purposefully placed a Moroccan rug asymmetrically to define the seating area as well as to draw the eye to the shaggy, cozy layers underfoot.

Tara purposefully placed a Moroccan rug asymmetrically to define the seating area as well as to draw the eye to the shaggy, cozy layers underfoot.

Lesson No. 1
Layer Rug on Rug on Rug

Tara opted for a trio of layered rugs in the living room to define the seating area; the rich textures also make the floor a focus. Together, the mix of shaggy and woven rug textures help balance out the dark wood floors, the stone fireplace, and the wood beams. “The edges felt too hard, so we needed some fringe to set it all off,” says Tara of her rug choices. Additionally, the rugs provide a neutral backdrop that helps to amplify the pastel tones of the pink sectional and the blue sofa.

Try a similar approach to layering rugs: Start with a large Moroccan to span a living area; contrast it with a tightly woven fringed rug; then top it all with a shaggy Moroccan for a fluffy finishing touch.

Brass globe pendants from Rejuvenation hang high above quartzite countertops and a Kohler farmhouse sink, a staple in many a Jersey Ice Cream Co. renovation. A nubby mat brings cozy texture to the spot.

Brass globe pendants from Rejuvenation hang high above quartzite countertops and a Kohler farmhouse sink, a staple in many a Jersey Ice Cream Co. renovation. A nubby mat brings cozy texture to the spot.

Quartzite, which Tara and Percy chose for its striking texture, was used for the counters and the backsplash installed above a Smeg range. The kitchen is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Porch Swing.

Quartzite, which Tara and Percy chose for its striking texture, was used for the counters and the backsplash installed above a Smeg range. The kitchen is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Porch Swing.

Lesson No. 2
Opt for Natural Materials

From warm woods to stone, natural materials with subtle textures are a signature of Tara and Percy’s designs. This is most prominently (and beautifully) showcased in the home’s airy kitchen and master bath.

For the kitchen, “we ended up finding these quartzite countertops,” explains Tara. “They have these deep cuts through them, so when you run your hands through you can feel this amazing texture.” The striated stone also bounces light beautifully, which adds to the open, uncluttered feel of the space. To play off the stone’s rich grooves, Tara and Percy brought in cozy textures, from the richly grained wood stools and utensils to a nubby mat and striped linens. The result is a wonderful mix of sleek, warm, and soft that creates an inviting vibe.

Tara and Percy balanced similar textures in the master bath, in part by revamping a vintage wood dresser into a sink vanity. The wood’s grain instantly warms up the pristine space and its plaster walls. A knotty bath rug and linen cloths add the ideal touch of softness.

As in many of their other kitchens, Tara and Percy omitted upper cabinet shelving for a more open feel. “When we can avoid it, we avoid it,” laughs Tara. A brass rod was installed instead for additional hanging storage.

As in many of their other kitchens, Tara and Percy omitted upper cabinet shelving for a more open feel. “When we can avoid it, we avoid it,” laughs Tara. A brass rod was installed instead for additional hanging storage.

Where kitchen cabinets were necessary, the couple painted them in the same Benjamin Moore hue as the walls to make them blend in; they also installed glass-fronted doors.

Where kitchen cabinets were necessary, the couple painted them in the same Benjamin Moore hue as the walls to make them blend in; they also installed glass-fronted doors.

The light-filled bathroom, originally covered in tiles, was given plaster walls to brighten up the large space. The custom sink vanity was a vintage dresser that Percy revamped.

The light-filled bathroom, originally covered in tiles, was given plaster walls to brighten up the large space. The custom sink vanity was a vintage dresser that Percy revamped.

We always go to plaster because we just love the feeling that it brings, and it’s really reflective of the light. And it has so much more texture than just paint.

— Tara Mangini
Textures abound in the attic loft, where sheepskins from Overland are layered with kilim pillows and a knit pouf, perfect for lazy lounging.

Textures abound in the attic loft, where sheepskins from Overland are layered with kilim pillows and a knit pouf, perfect for lazy lounging.

Kid-friendly pieces turned the loft into a fun spot for the family’s four children.
 

Kid-friendly pieces turned the loft into a fun spot for the family’s four children.

 

Lesson No. 3
Pile on Pillows, Knits, and Other Soft Touches

The top floor of the home serves as a hideaway aerie, and with its low ceilings, it was the perfect lounge spot for the family’s four children. “We just wanted it to be a little space for the kids more than anybody else,” says Tara, who brought in kilim pillows, fluffy sheepskins, and a knitted ottoman to create a haven of coziness. The decision to skip chairs and tables in favor of easily movable floor lounging means the room offers ample space for more-active play.

For a kids’ room with soaring ceilings, a pair of midcentury twin beds were brought in. “Those beds can actually be bunk beds if they need to be. They’re amazing,” Tara says.

For a kids’ room with soaring ceilings, a pair of midcentury twin beds were brought in. “Those beds can actually be bunk beds if they need to be. They’re amazing,” Tara says.

The Cole & Son wallpaper, in a subtle pastel green depicting a sea of swimming whales and turtles, is the kid-pleasing highlight of the room. Plush dolls reiterate the paper’s fun, fantastical appeal.

The Cole & Son wallpaper, in a subtle pastel green depicting a sea of swimming whales and turtles, is the kid-pleasing highlight of the room. Plush dolls reiterate the paper’s fun, fantastical appeal.

Lesson No. 4
Add Visual Texture with Wallpaper

Tara and Percy struck a balance between kid-friendly and sophisticated by covering a children’s bedroom in a fun wallpaper by Cole & Son. With their printed whales and turtles, the walls now provide a subtly shimmering seascape backdrop. “It’s from their Fornasetti line, and it’s the perfect kids’ line that’s not too kiddy,” says Tara. In a nod to the fantastical theme of the wallpaper, plush huggable toys were brought in for a perfectly charming way to round out the room.

In a guest bedroom, beautifully ruffled and textured bedding takes center stage, and the effect is repeated in the Farrow & Ball Aranami wallpaper. The painting, one of Tara’s favorite finds for the home, is from Brimfield.

In a guest bedroom, beautifully ruffled and textured bedding takes center stage, and the effect is repeated in the Farrow & Ball Aranami wallpaper. The painting, one of Tara’s favorite finds for the home, is from Brimfield.

A brass sconce from Schoolhouse Electric brings a hint of shine and luxury to the warm woods and the wallpaper, which reiterates the wavy texture of the bed linens.

A brass sconce from Schoolhouse Electric brings a hint of shine and luxury to the warm woods and the wallpaper, which reiterates the wavy texture of the bed linens.

Lesson No. 5
Play Up Texture with Bedding

As a way to add richness and warmth to their bedroom designs, Tara and Percy often rely on beautiful quilts and wonderful bedding. It was no exception for the various sleep spaces in this home, from the simple blue quilted blankets Tara draped over kids’ bunk beds to the lavish linens she brought in for the guest room.

“My first thought was to just do white, but I know white bedding sometimes disappears, so I went with the more gray tones, which became really sweet,” says Tara of the heavy layers of textured bedding she chose for the guest room. The wavy ruffles of the linens have a luxurious effect and blend seamlessly with the Farrow & Ball Aranami wallpaper. “The pattern felt so beach-inspired but not beachy,” Tara says. The result is a room that’s at once transporting and cocoonlike.

Percy built custom bunk beds for the bedroom of the two eldest boys, where simple blue quilts add a cozy and charming complement to the austere wood beams.

Percy built custom bunk beds for the bedroom of the two eldest boys, where simple blue quilts add a cozy and charming complement to the austere wood beams.

We thought a lot about textures from the beginning. And a big challenge was that the house itself wasn’t this old, fun house with tons of character that we were reviving, but it was a new construction that we were trying to infuse with character.

— Tara Mangini
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