Any room can be elevated from simply nice to simply spectacular through the incorporation of texture as a design element.

What is Texture?

What do we mean by texture? It is the surface quality of an object or material. Think about how it will feel when you touch it. Think about how its patterns or finishes appeal to the eye. It can be smooth, shiny, rough, bumpy, soft, gritty, slippery, furry, sharp…you get the idea. These different textures are going to vary based on what material from which the object is made, such as wood, metal, glass, burlap, brick, and so on. The objects can be natural or manmade.

Why Texture is Important

Texture can make objects appear more interesting, and in turn can make a room look more interesting. It can be used to create dimension, and even evoke different emotions when you walk into a room, which is crucial to staging a home. For example, soft and fluffy textures can make a room feel cozy. Shiny, smooth textures can be used to make a room feel more sleek and modern. Texture can also be the difference-maker if you have a room that just feels unfinished. If you feel like something is missing, texture is usually the answer. When it is used appropriately and tastefully, it can help you create an emotional connection for prospective buyers or renters that you want to feel welcomed into the living quarters.

Mix and Match Textures to Create Balance

It is important to create a balance when decorating with different textures in a room. Textures can be mixed and matched to create an intriguing space. You want to avoid using ALL items of the same texture. Use their differences to complement each other. It is nice to alternate between large and small objects, and use heavier and lighter textures to create balance. Rougher finishes will feel heavier. More reflective items will feel lighter. Softer items will feel warmer. For example, place a lustrous manmade vase on a distressed wood end table. Throw some soft, fuzzy pillows on a smooth leather couch. Lean an oversized mirror against a vast brick wall and pair it with a lush, green plant. Sometimes you can even use a single antique piece in a contemporary space to generate interest. These are all examples of how textures can work together to beautify and create a dynamic environment.

You want the room to feel curated, but overuse can make a room look busy or cluttered, so be careful to not go overboard. It can be helpful to stick to only a few textures in one room. The fewer you use, the more prominent those objects will appear and can be helpful in creating a focal point. The more you use, the room will be viewed more holistically.

Texture can be extremely helpful when you want to break up a space with a very similar or monochromatic color palette. Choose items with a great deal of contrast to create a sense of harmony in the room.

Textural Ideas

Let’s get the design juices flowing. For inspiration, here is just a brief list of items you can use to create texture in a room:  

  • Rattan, wicker or jute
  • Ornamental moldings
  • Fabrics like velvet, silk, linen or satin
  • Marble, granite, glass or stainless steel surfaces
  • Sea shells, coral and river rocks
  • Tree branches or wood carvings
  • Long, flowing drapes
  • Vases, platters and bowls
  • Leather, fur or chenille
  • Brass, copper, nickel or pewter
  • Books, clocks, sculptures,
  • Plants, flowers and wreaths
  • Rugs, tapestries, quilts and throws
  • Wallpaper, tile and masonry
  • Baskets, cigar boxes or other interesting containers
  • Candles, light fixtures or lanterns

The Style of the Room

When selecting the texture elements you will use in a room, it is important to keep in mind the style of the space you wish to achieve. Will it be modern? Traditional? Beachy? Woodsy? This will dictate what type of objects and materials you choose. For example, creating a beachy room for a vacation rental in Florida might include items such as driftwood and coral, more lightweight materials such as linen, and patterned fabrics created by using palm trees, anchors, or sailboats. A woodsy room for a model home in the forest or the mountains might include objects such as heavy wood furniture, a bearskin rug, and rustic light fixtures. Essentially, everything has a texture. It’s just a matter of picking the right textures for the right feel. Whatever style you choose, you are sure to have plenty of fun mixing and matching for your desired effect.   

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