Use soft textures and translucent materials to create a gentle vibe that's perfect for summer.

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There are lots of ways to make a big, bold statement when decorating. A daring paint color, audacious wallpaper, a substantial piece of furniture — these elements confidently proclaim, “Here I am!”

But décor that whispers is equally interesting. And in the season of long, sun-dappled days and mellow evenings, a gentler vibe might be just the thing.

In furniture and tabletop, look for materials that are lacy or translucent. Pieces off which, and through which, light can reflect. In soft furnishings, think about faux fur, summer-weight wool, cotton and chiffon. In all, the feeling is understated and relaxing.

New Yorker Lindsay Saccullo has her own interior design firm and also advises at Laurel & Wolf, an online home decorating site. She says that when going for a soft, light look, “don’t be afraid to go for ‘heavier’ forms. For example, the perfect mix could be a traditional coffee table, but made of Lucite.”

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams have designed a collection of Art Deco-inspired cocktail and side tables, including the Melrose Square Cocktail Table ($1,745 at Polished stainless steel and acrylic legs support two slabs of glass, creating pieces that take up little space visually but pack a style wallop.

The stackable Roche Bobois Ava Bridge chair (find retailers at is a slim sliver of polymer, available in smoky, watery organic hues.

“Since translucent/transparent furniture can feel ‘cold,’ don’t be afraid to warm it up with some textiles or upholstery,” advises Saccullo. She suggests cozy, faux-fur throws or small rugs as cushions for acrylic dining or office chairs.

Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna Clouds Sea Glass Mosaic Tiles
Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna Clouds Sea Glass Mosaic Tiles

Shaggy, soft Tibetan wool pillows and throws from Restoration Hardware also might do the job. And the retailer has Alpaca Boucle Weave Oversized Bed Throws ($429 at that are air-spun to create a light-as-feathers textile.

Soft Sherpa fleece covers the squishy PBTeen Sherpa Faux Fur Cloud Couch (on sale for $239 at, an option for small apartments and dens.

Los Angeles studio Arktura uses lasers to cut patterns into benches and steel tables, such as the Arktura Coral Side Table ($1,785 at The designs have an organic, cellular look, and when light passes through them, the effect is artful.

At Anthropologie, tufted linen and velvet ottomans, such as the Velvet Thelina Ottoman ($1,798), are a softened form of this versatile furniture piece. The store also carries voile curtains with a saucy, ruffled trim — lingerie for the windows.

And flowers made of ruched cotton voile and jersey make the Georgina Duvet ($328–$398) a romantic confection for the bed.

If the softer style sufficiently intrigues you, consider wall and floor coverings, too.

New Ravenna has a collection of tile incorporating iridescent glass, ceramic and stone in creamy tones. On Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna’s Clouds Sea Glass Mosaic Tiles (find retailers at, hand-cut mosaics form a cloud pattern against a gentle blue sky.