In an attempt to design a more open, less space-restricted environment, many modern interior designers tend to lean towards white or plain, untreated walls, with little decorative detailing. While this trend opens up a space and makes ceilings appear higher, it can also become quite monotonous.
Moving away from this stark, uncluttered look by using mixed materials can create a stunning interior if you choose the material mix wisely. The beauty of mixing up your materials is you can create really unique and ambitious combinations to move away from the relentless ‘neutral’ of modern interiors that restrict the number of materials employed in a room.
The idea is that the materials work towards the same goal without needing to match each other perfectly. To avoid jarring visual interruptions, use a single material on each continuous surface. For example, use a differently textured wall covering, such as exposed brick, on a statement wall whilst sticking to a less striking effect on the room's remaining walls.
How do you pick the right materials to use?
Well, it's really up to your particular taste and what feeling you are trying to achieve. If you prefer a warm feeling in a room, look to the rich tones of American walnut wood such as this sideboard. To complement this, add some rich golden tones from a few metallic accessories, such as this lamp by Tom Dixon. A good tip is to include some light-reflecting materials, such as metallic surfaces or mirrors, into the mix; don't restrict yourself to matt.
This look would work well with a mix of reclaimed wood wall panelling in similar warm tones, or perhaps a lightly-textured wallpaper in shades of mahogany and richly upholstered furniture. The idea is that materials all work together in the scheme without needing to ‘match’ in the conventional sense.
If you want to achieve a more Scandinavian effect using cooler tones, look for a wood like maple or birch. This will complement light-reflecting surfaces, such as white kitchen units, or lights such as this. Mix in some textures and patterns to break up the smooth hard surfaces with a bold rug such as this.