We talk a lot about colour when designing our homes, but not enough attention is given to texture. Obviously, choosing the right colour scheme and balancing different shades is important, but adding different textures can elevate things to a new level. Understanding how and when to use textures can make a huge difference, but it’s something that a lot of people struggle with. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know about using texture in interior design.
What Is Texture?
This might sound like a strange question but it’s worth asking because some people are unsure about exactly what texture means. The general definition is the surface quality of a material; is it rough, smooth, soft, fluffy? These different qualities give a different impression and we subconsciously know how to use texture in this way. For example, you might use a big fluffy cushion when designing a cosy bedroom. However, people don’t always realise that this extends to all surfaces in a room, including flooring and furniture etc and you need to consider texture in every case, not just with the small details.
Why Is Texture Important?
Before we look at different ways to introduce more texture to a room, you need to understand why it’s important in the first place. Unless you know what you are trying to achieve, you won’t be able to effectively incorporate textures into your designs.
The main reason that texture deserves our attention is that it changes the tone and feel of a room. As soon as you enter a room, you get a feel for it straight away. A lot of that is to do with the colour and warm colours will create a welcoming environment. But the different textures in the room create a certain tone and add to the overall atmosphere in there. Fluffy, luxurious textures and soft furnishings are more relaxing and welcoming, while hard surfaces create a more minimalist, modern look to the room.
Textures are broken down into visual textures and tactile textures. A visual texture refers to things that have an impact immediately as you see them. For example, a piece of 3D wall art has a brilliant visual texture that creates a sense of movement. Soft furnishings like sofas, on the other hand, have the biggest impact when you touch them, so they are tactile textures. Understanding how and when to use each is important if you want to get a good balance.
Texture And Scale
Texture has a big impact on the scale of different items in the room and can change their visual weight. The visual weight is a measure of how heavy an item looks, rather than how much it weighs. Check out https://www.mymove.com for a great guide on visual weight to help you get to grips with it.
If you have something with a lot of texture, it tends to look heavier and commands more space in the room. A big textured sofa works brilliantly in a living room, but if you are trying to create a sleek, modern home office, you should be sparing with those kinds of thick textures.
Texture And Light
People often forget to consider light when they are making decisions about texture. However, certain surfaces reflect a lot of light while others will absorb it, and this makes a big difference when designing a room.
If you don’t have much natural light in a room, you can use texture to reflect it around and brighten the place up. People often use mirrors to boost natural light and increase the illusion of space. But you can use all sorts of different textures like metal or even polished wood to get the same effect. If you are not too concerned about natural light because the room is spacious and well positioned, you have more freedom to play with soft textures that absorb more light. Before designing any room, consider how much natural light you get and how it falls, so you can choose textures that work well with the flow of light.
Matching Textures With Your Decor Style
Different textures can help you add visual and tactile appeal to a room and they evoke certain feelings when people first enter a room. But you should also use textures to enhance your decor choices. This works best when you match textures with your decor style and there are some basic rules you can follow here.
In general, softer textures work best with rustic decor styles and they’re best in areas where you relax, like the lounge or the bedroom. Hard textures with shiny surfaces tend to work best with modern decor and stylish areas like the dining room and kitchen.
But these are only general rules and when you are designing your home, it needs to be personal to you. So, don’t be afraid to play around and bend the rules until you find something that works for you.
Ways To Introduce Texture Into Your Home
Now that you know what texture is, why it’s important, and some of the important rules to follow when using it, you’re ready to get started. But what are the best ways to introduce more texture into your home?
An area rug is a brilliant way to break up a room and create more colour and texture. It’s especially good on hardwood flooring, which can get quite cold in the winter. It adds a good level of visual texture right away, but it also adds tactile texture because it warms your feet while you’re sitting on the sofa or walking through the room.
When it comes to choosing the right rug, you have some great options. In a cosy living room or bedroom, most people tend to go for a thick pile rug with lots of texture because it creates that welcoming atmosphere that you are looking for. But if you are trying to create a more modern living space, you can use things like cowhide rugs (like these from https://www.cowhiderugslondon.co.uk) to scale back on the texture a little. You still get the great centrepiece of a rug and it still brings some texture to your room, but it doesn’t have the thick pile, so it works better in a more modern setting. Having said that, the cowhide effect is perfect for a traditional look, so if you are trying to blend rustic and modern, this is the perfect choice.
If you want to go the other way and pile on the texture as much as possible, you could even try layering a few different rugs around the room. This does require a bit of experimentation to get it right, but it can look great.
Use Vintage Furniture
It’s always important to consider the texture of the materials when you are buying furniture. If you are looking for ways to add a bit of extra texture, vintage furniture is the perfect choice. You can get some great Victorian-era pieces with lots of beautiful detail that adds texture and looks amazing. Old furniture also has lots of little bumps and knocks that it’s picked up over the years. You could always sand these out, but why not leave them in to add some more texture? This isn’t ideal if you want a perfect home with clean edges, but if you are angling towards a rustic look, it creates a brilliant effect.
Add More Patterns
This is a great way to add visual texture without actually using texture. When you have heavily patterned surfaces, they look very textured, even if they don’t actually have a raised print. This is a great little shortcut that you can use to boost the texture in a room immediately. Using wallpaper to create a feature wall is a great option if you want to add a lot of texture to a room that was previously lacking. Visit https://www.grahambrown.com for some great tips to help you get started.
If you don’t want to add that much texture, why not add some wall art instead? You could even frame some small cuts of wallpaper to make a cheap wall art alternative. Cushions and rugs are another simple way to add patterns, and you can use them to add tactile texture at the same time if you want to lean heavily on texture. Just be careful with your use of patterns because if you go overboard, things can quickly start looking crowded and messy.
Introduce Some Plants
Plants are such a huge interior design trend right now and it seems like everybody is just filling their house with more and more houseplants every day. They’re great for adding more colour and bringing elements of nature inside, but people don’t always consider how great they are for adding texture. Plants come in all shapes and sizes so you can use them to introduce some really interesting textures and shapes to your room. So, when you are picking houseplants, always consider texture.
Learning how to use texture is an important interior design skill that can elevate your home to a new level. Now that you’ve read this great guide, you can start adding texture to your home designs.