Using Texture to Define and Round Out Your Design Style
When considering what to do in the design of a space, one of the often-overlooked elements is how textures can give a room impact that is hard to explain. Emotions are touched instantly. While the use of colors and patterns make a statement, the impact of textures can be just as dramatic. Textures can give a room a special quality that makes it stand out and remain memorable. And, textures can easily be switched out with each season, as design focuses change or when other design elements create the need for something different or new. Textures remain a simple way to create uniqueness and turn a room design from missing something to a showcase interior.
The use of colors and patterns can make a bold statement in a room’s design. The use of textures may not seem as obvious but can be just as impactful. Texture is particularly important if you’re working within a particular color palette where the shades are very similar. Textures are a great way to reflect personality in a space. Textures are also a great way to create immediate interest by adding dimension, depth and warmth (or to add a cooling effect if desired).
There are many ways to incorporate texture into a room’s design. Some of these include using texture in: architectural elements; on floors or walls; within furniture; through the use of textiles; and in décor accessories.
Texture can be used in a variety of ways and from an even wider variety of sources. Materials like stone and wood and fabrics and textiles are just a few of the ways to incorporate texture into a room’s design. Even more unique textures can make an interior stand out. Finishes like macramé and rattan or the many ways to use natural wood add interest to any room and create a striking contrast to fabric textures.
Design Tip! Use lighting to add a textural element. Nightlights throw a mix of color and pattern along hallways. Use an accent mirror to reflect light and make a space feel larger. Hang an interesting wall candle holder to bring flickering light to the corner of a room.
Another benefit of designing with texture is also one of the unique ways that texture can make a room stand out. Take a look at two materials that are individually unique and when they are looked at seem incompatible. But, when combined in the overall look of a space, they can create a dramatic and compatible look. The use of texture in this way can bring the décor of a room together and create a powerful finishing touch. The blending of textures is another way to make a room stand out. Textures with similar character and traits can establish a soothing, peaceful scheme in a room.
While the use of textures can make a room looked finished, we also emphasize to clients not to overdo it. Too many textures can overload the senses and make a room looked cluttered rather than complete. We suggest starting with a small variety of hard, soft, rough and smooth textures in the room’s larger elements. And then look to add textures in a room’s accessories, such as cushions and lighting. These can be compatible textures or textures in contrast to create a bold statement.
Design Tip! Stick to two or three distinct textures in any single space. This will help ensure the use of textures won't overwhelm a space visually.
Use textures to add dimension to a room. Add texture on the floor with a rug, on the walls with a piece of art, somewhere in the room with a sculpture or carvings in furniture design or anywhere in the room with the use of fabrics.
In addition to establishing style, you can use texture to create a particular look. Soft fabrics and embellished furniture create a feminine mood; while rustic metals and rich woods create a masculine feel. Silky pillows and velvet fabrics create formality in a space; and denim fabrics and corduroy pillows add an everyday comfy vibe.
The following are just some ways texture can be used to define a space:
Dress up decor with hand-tufted rugs, woven wools, smooth silks, fabric trims, gilded frames, cut crystal, and polished wood.
Make an impact with smooth leather, exposed brick, light woods, glossy surfaces, and shiny metals.
Create inviting interiors with layered rugs, chenille, ticking fabrics, weathered woods, and dimensional artwork.
Rooms can have a charming feel with the use of hand-hooked rugs, embroidered fabrics, vintage lace, painted furniture and wicker, and ruffles and trims.
Every room needs a focal point from which to build its design. This focal point may result from an item’s size, color, or unique design or shape. Texture can make a piece that may seem insignificant become that focal point and noteworthy. In this way, texture can have a strong influence on a room’s design. This is especially true when using texture to achieve a look despite architecture in a room that is hard or even impossible to change. For example, exposed brick walls or visible duct work naturally create an industrial feel. The use of textures, such as wood or textile, can add a more soothing, classic feel to this type of space.
Design Tip! Fur adds a fabulous textural element to any room, from a striking fur area rug under a coffee table to a throw blanket tossed across the back of a couch, to a pile of fur pillows in a bedroom.
While the use of colors and patterns produce dramatic effects just by stepping into a room, texture demands a closer look. Combine a mix of textures -- such as fabrics on pillows or a blend of glass or ceramic on a table -- to invite individuals to come closer, touch and feel, and want to stay in a space. Visual textures are those that immediately appeal to your visual sense on first glance. Tactile textures, on the other hand, ignite your sense of touch, forcing you to feel them to appreciate them.
Texture provides balance in a space: placing smooth texture next to rough one (will make the textured stand out even more). Another way to ensure textures work in a space: bold, saturated colors can make such a strong statement; they are best partnered with sleek, smooth textures that don't compete for attention.
The use of textures when designing a room’s look also allows for creativity and fun. Texture can make a big impact when letting opposites attract. The use of smooth against rough, sleek against chunky, and coarse against fine are just some of the ways to effectively to incorporate “opposites attract”. But don’t forget, if everything in a room’s design is too similar, our eyes have trouble focusing and tend to glaze over. Use texture to make sure your most important elements pop.
Another approach is to blend textures of similar character to establish a soothing, peaceful scheme. An example of this is to use natural materials, such as the woven shades, linen wallpaper and fabrics, and wicker accents to work together in harmony.
Design Tip! Find inspiration in nature and bring it inside. Line a windowsill with shells. String a garland of vine around a headboard. Add an accent table that shows off a gorgeous wood grain.
Also, repeat textures to add balance to a room. Pair a piece of wicker furniture with wicker baskets placed throughout a room. Balance a leather sectional with stacks of leather-bound books. Velvet upholstery on a chair pair well with velvet material on curtains or a cut-velvet patterned rug.
Here’s the important golden rule when using texture in a room’s design. Too much texture can clutter a space and dilute the effect, so be careful not to overdo. Most importantly, have fun with texture. Energize a boring room by adding texture that draws attention. The use of texture can transform a pleasant, everyday space into a conversation starter.