An Old-School Design Feature That’s Making a Comeback
Whether you call it lattice, trelliage, trellage —or the more French treillage — the look of latticework layered over an interior wall has always been a favorite. Popularized by the fabulous Elsie de Wolfe (though earlier surviving examples of this artform date back to the late 19th century), the style fell out of fashion for its formal feel.
It’s also a decor technique that can be tricky to master. I think many of us will recall the brief ’90s revival that was perhaps fueled by DIY shows on the Discovery Channel. Yet, when done professionally, it’s gorgeous — though undeniably aspirational. Take this elegant space in a private home by designer Margaret Bosbyshell (above). Technically, the room is a ladies’ drinking parlor (which might be one of the most delightful-sounding ideas for an “extra” room in a fabulous estate). The trellised white-on-white wall and ceiling add a little architecture interest without overwhelming the room.
Nathan Turner uses a gray-blue trellis and overlays in this powder room, showing how brilliantly trelliage can work in small rooms. Though it would be “a lot of look” in a bigger room, it somehow doesn’t feel very busy in the pint-sized space. Perhaps it’s due to the uniform color of all the dimensional elements and the subtle contrast of the wall color.
This bright and open solarium, seen in Southern Living, was a formerly closed-up home office. Layering latticework over a mirrored wall made the small space appear even larger.
Peter Rogers renovated his New Orleans home, and included trellised walls, painted his favorite shade of kermit green, as an homage to de Wolfe’s Villa Trianon in Versaille. The elegant color, and combined animal prints, add a little gravitas.
Yet a more marked contrast also works beautifully with trelliage, as seen in this chic hall in a Bahamas home by designer Amanda Lindroth. The painted terra cotta tiles also subtly pick up the color scheme and shape of the trellis panels.
In this Connecticut home by designer Ashley Whittaker, the white trellis over green walls, and blue accents, really gives the space a garden feel.
If you love the look and texture of the latticework, but aren’t quite into the Palm Beach or French vibe, check out Sarah Ruffin Costello’s New Orleans home, which layers the wood over glass, instead of a solid wall. The added arch detail turns out more Bohemian or Moroccan, and is seriously beautiful.
And here’s another twist. Instead of the classic white or pastels that we usually see, Michelle Nussbaumer used a black trellis in this lush, travel-inspired room.
Designer Shelley Johnstone Paschke goes white-on-white for the trellis and wall color, letting the ceiling act as contrast in a Lake Forest home.
It doesn’t get any more aspirational than a Palm Beach mansion, but we definitely daydream about the morning room of Terry Allen Kramer, as featured in Jennifer Ash Rudick’s Palm Beach Chic. Here, the trellis furthers the indoor-outdoor feel of this room.
If you’re interested in trying out trellis, there are a few ways to get the look. For one, you could go to your local hardware store and get bargain-priced trellis (usually around $4 a foot), paint it, then do the cutting and installation yourself (or hire a carpenter for help). You could also opt for trompe l’oeil wallpaper. While it does lack the dimensional quality close-up, the covering is very decorator-approved.
After all, if it was good enough for Sister Parish for the above interior, it’s good enough for everyone else.