1. Use many different shades of your neutral color. Whether you have decided to work mostly with taupe or cream or gray or any other neutral, using several shades of that color will add depth. In this room, the seating pieces employ four different colors: the draperies and walls are a different color, and the wood is quite dark compared to the upholstery.
2. Use multiple textures that contrast well. If the seating pieces in this room were all microfiber, the room would fall flat. But the fabrics on the two sofas and the chairs have distinctively different textures, and they contrast well with the leather piece in the foreground. The drapery panels are the same color as the walls, but the walls are a matte texture, and the drapery shines.
3. Use high-quality texture. Yes, note that I said "high quality." When you don't have dazzling colors to create interest and get attention, other aspects of your room become even more important. Texture is one of them. In the room above you can see how the light is reflected and absorbed at different angles on the fabric of the sofa by the window. Even in the photo, I can tell you that is one luscious fabric. Also, the leather on the chair in the foreground at the very bottom of the photo is definitely not your cheap, bi-cast or bonded leather. Take a little time to educate yourself on the grades of leather.
Tip: Mix the "high" with the "low." I know we don't all have the budget to use $300-per-yard designer
fabrics, high-end furniture, original art pieces and one-of-a-kind accessories throughout our entire home. Buy the best seating pieces you can afford. You'll use them and touch them every day, so you'll notice the difference. Choose a few other standout pieces and the look of your space will be elevated even if you have many bargain pieces.