What is Texture?
Texture is the surface quality of a material. We tend to think of texture as a tactile quality or experience, meaning something we can touch or feel. While that is true, texture is a tactile quality, texture is also perceived visually. The visual aspects of texture are what I want to focus on in this post.
By using a variety of textures, a designer can accomplish two things. First, texture gives the space visual interest. The variation in surface quality of the materials keeps a space from looking flat. Secondly, texture gives dimensionality to the furniture, finishes, and accessories in a space. This helps improve the overall appearance and gives warmth to a room.
Texture Instead of Color?
Neutral and achromatic (black, white, and gray) color palettes are wildly popular, especially in transitional and contemporary design styles, but when you remove a major design element, like color, you need something to add interest.
Here’s a great example: think about an ultra contemporary room with white marble floors, white leather sofa, white walls, and a metal or glass table. The surface quality of all of the finishes and furnishings is shiny and the overall feeling is sterile and cold.
Now imagine the exact same space with just a white shag carpet added. The look and feeling of the space will be much warmer and more inviting.
In the room below, I had a client who wanted a neutral palette because he found neutrals soothing and relaxing. However, he didn’t want the space to feel too cold or unwelcoming.
To create a warmer and more inviting feeling for him, I used a wide variety of textures. There is a leather chair, carpeting, chenille, Dupioni silk on the drapes, slub linen on the headboard, and quilted cotton bedding, to name a few. The overall look is relaxing and comfortable.
How to Use Texture in Your Home
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: How can you use texture in your home to create visual interest and a more cozy space? If you’re like my client and you aren’t a big fan of bright colors or bold patterns, you may find your rooms looking flat and cold. Below are three easy tips for bringing some texture into your home:
- Natural fibers. Add a grasscloth wall covering in neutral color. Grasscloth and raffia wall covering add a beautiful rich texture and they never go out of style. Sisal and jute rugs also pack a punch when it comes to texture. They are classics and work with almost any style!
- Wood. Wood, especially unrefined and distressed wood. This doesn’t even need to be a big piece of furniture. You can start by adding a wooden bowl or even an organic piece of driftwood.
- Woven items. Woven or braided items naturally have a lot of surface texture. A throw with a chunky nubby weave or even a basket can bring some great variation to any space. You might also consider adding throw pillows with braided leather or cable knit covers.
These are just a few ideas for easy ways to add some texture to your decor. Can you think of some other items that could bring in some great texture?
Next week I’ll be talking about TWO design elements that go together like peanut butter and jelly: Color and Light! Until then, if you want to learn more about creating a