Pattern and Texture Add Playful Character to This Plain 1970s Home

See how brilliant layering and classic color combos make designer Amanda Reynal's home a master class in giving a plain-Jane space head-to-toe character.

Plain is definitely not a word that comes to mind when entering interior designer Amanda Reynal's Des Moines home. But that's exactly what it was before she got her hands on it. "In terms of the architecture, the house's interior is very vanilla," she says of the 1970s two-story that flippers had renovated into a minimal white canvas. The East Coast native—who has a Northeast-meets-Midwest (with a hint of Palm Beach) design style—welcomed the challenge to transform the blank slate.

black white living room curved sofas pattern
Adam Albright

On the first floor, the free-flowing layout led Reynal to a palette that was somewhat unconventional for a family who typically embraces color. Consistent neutrals, anchored by grass cloth on most of the walls and boldly punctuated with black and white, unify the living spaces. Upstairs, however, Reynal indulged the family's usual love of playful, energetic color against white walls. In nearly every room, you'll find a standout pattern in the spotlight and a mix of supporting patterns and textures. The result is a home that feels warm, dynamic, and anything but boring.

sunroom beige white texture ikat ottomans
Adam Albright

Reynal's sunroom illustrates how a careful mix of diverse materials and patterns can energize a disciplined palette of beige and white. The most pronounced motif, a bold ikat on the ottomans, contrasts with an antelope-pattern rug, while the curtains and sofa bring subtle prints of different sizes into play. The woven chairs, grass cloth wall covering, and wood table add texture.

"I'm always drawn to symmetry," says Reynal, who likes to anchor a room's design with a pair of matching pieces, such as ottomans, chairs, or tables.

black white living room curved sofas pattern
Adam Albright

Reynal's living room is a case study in bold contrasts but doesn't take itself too seriously. "Black and white can be cold, but natural elements make it warm and livable," Reynal says of her use of a burled wood table, grass cloth on the walls, and the floral pattern on the chairs. Everything in the room has a tactile quality, including the tape-trimmed linen curtains and nubby jute and wool rug. "A welcoming room appeals to touch as much as sight," she says.

If you opt for dark or black walls, go lighter for curtains and sofas so the room doesn't feel heavy. Reynal's white lacquered ceiling and glossy white trim help brighten the space too.

dome mirror sideboard grass cloth wall
Adam Albright

Grass cloth in gold feels special and ties the bar niche to the rest of the living room.

black accent wall neutral artwork table
Adam Albright

Neutral backdrops put the spotlight on Reynal's art collection.

Homeowner and designer Amanda Reynal

Black and white can be cold, but natural elements make it warm and livable.

—Homeowner and designer Amanda Reynal
gold white dining room colorful painting
Adam Albright

"A round dining table is such an easy place to be," Reynal says. "Everyone can face each other, which encourages conversation around the whole table, rather than only with those to either side of you." When she entertains, she expands the table with a round topper she bought online and covers it with a tablecloth. Comfortable dining chairs are also a must. Blue-and-white marbled lamps and a large, colorful painting enliven the quiet surroundings.

"I like to have ceiling fixtures, wall lights, and table lamps to balance the light throughout a space," Reynal says.

white kitchen waterfall island roman shade
Adam Albright

When Amanda and her husband, Michael, bought the house, the kitchen had been updated but in a minimal aesthetic. To make it their own, Reynal installed additional glass-front cabinetry to display her collection of serveware and replaced the hardware and faucet with brushed-gold alternatives.

A patterned Roman shade, the cane stools, and statement art infuse the kitchen with Reynal's signature style.

black gold bathroom vanity textured wallpaper
Adam Albright

"I love the light and reflection that come from adding a little sparkle," Reynal says, noting the mirrored surfaces and metal finishes like the brushed brass in the powder room. "Metallic elements look especially pretty at night," she says. "By day, they feel a bit quieter." The wallpaper's allover texture and overscale bloom pattern look particularly dramatic in such a small space.

master bedroom pink green traditional florals
Adam Albright

"In any scheme, I like to have a main-event item that inspires the rest of the scheme. It could be a fabric, rug, or artwork, for example," Reynal says. In her and Michael's bedroom, the floral fabric on the bed frame drove her choice of the green crosshatch for the curtains and dense pink-and-white dot on the bench.

bedroom striped blue ceiling woven bed
Adam Albright

In her son's bedroom, bold wallpaper on the ceiling contrasts white walls. "The wide stripe gives it a happy component," Reynal says, and is in keeping with her love of dramatic ceilings. The woven bed frame recalls the grass cloth downstairs.

black white bold mudroom laundry room gold
Adam Albright

Although the laundry-mudroom is, by nature, all about function, its visibility from the main living spaces dictates that it also needs to look great. Mirrored fronts on a wall of black cabinetry fool the eye into thinking the space is larger than it is. More grass cloth, this time in a black-and-white botanical pattern, softens any utilitarian hard edges and adds movement. Durable high-gloss paint on the cabinets stands up to bumps and scuffs. Reynal loves the crispness of the high-contrast scheme. "I'd choose black and white over gray any day."

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