Have you ever walked into a room that felt instantly warm and inviting? The trick may have been texture. Often overlooked, texture is a key element to the design process and has the power to set a tone for the overall mood of a room.
By definition, texture is the surface quality of a material and can range from buttery-soft leather to coarse wood. In interior design, textures are either visual or tactile. Visual textures appeal to the eyes and are usually noticed on first glance. In contrast, tactile textures require a closer look and need to be touched to be appreciated.
While texture can be used in a variety of ways, it is most often used to add dimension and interest to a space that features a monochromatic theme. Though soothing and sophisticated, neutral palettes can leave a room looking bland and one-dimensional. Adding texture can break up the look and instantly give the space more personality. Texture can be incorporated through accessories, furniture finishes, wall finishes or even window treatments. As with all things, texture should be used in moderation, and it should never overwhelm the space, experts say.
We asked five local interior designers to share their best tips for decorating the design element. Here’s their advice.
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Layer Over Neutrals
“With the popularity of neutral backgrounds, it is important to add texture to a room. I often add fur throws, animal hides and leather, as well as textured fabrics to add another layer to neutrals. Other textures like wood grain, textured wallpaper, metal and tile will also add dimension. Combining different textures can create a subtle and appealing space.”
— Paula Brown, Brown & Courtney Interior Design
4829 Camp Bowie Blvd.. Fort Worth, 817-247-6926.
All About Balance
“A space needs the balance of texture and smooth surfaces. Using a shag-type rug with a leather sofa is a good example of pairing the two. You typically wouldn’t want a highly textured fabric used with shags. When decorating with a monochromatic color scheme, texture is necessary to give depth to the design. Combing large, medium, and small textural patterns is best. Texture is always wonderful by adding an area rug. Faux furs are a great way to add soft texture, also.”
— Bonnie Pressley, Decorating Den Interiors
Fort Worth, 817-249-5779, www.bonniepressley.decoratingden.com.
From the Ground Up
“Floors are another exciting area to work with textures. Tile, stone, wood, carpet and concrete are a few materials that have different textures and contribute to the ambiance of the home. The different materials can be chosen for a variety of reasons, some of them being warmth, ease of maintenance, durability and noise control. However, a major reason for choosing one material over another can often be texture. Take tile floors, for example. Deciding on polish floors or nonskid tile can be a safety concern when used in bathrooms or kitchens. Often, wood floors are hand-scraped for texture to give a patina to the floors and lend a more casual feel to the space. Carpet is another material that can have a huge range of textures. From very soft to contract commercial firmness and textures that range from plush to shag to tightly woven selections. Synthetics, bamboo and wool are the most used fibers in carpets and each one has texture and performance differences that need to be taken into consideration when selecting a carpet.”
— Dennis Waters, DW Design Group Inc.
675 Bentwood Lane, Southlake, 817-481-7984, www.dwdesigngroup.net.
Patterns Are Important
“I like to design using texture contrasts and scale variations as in small grain with large, repetitive-patterned relief. Pattern can become a visual texture, and depending on the scale, can fool the eye into believing that it is tactile. This is a great way for textiles to form double duty. The repetition of a motif or geometric pattern that is integral to fabric creates both tactile and visual textures. Many forget that texture itself is inclusive of smooth and rough surfaces. And I think it is most effective to achieve a balance between the different textural qualities.”
— Gayla Jett Shannon, Inside Inc
2038 Ward Parkway, Fort Worth, 817-926-3333, www.insideinc.net.
“Ordinarily, texture is achieved by varying the surfaces of furnishings so that they have either a visual or tactile appeal. Perhaps the most obvious application of this design element can be seen in the selection and use of textiles. The way a piece of fabric looks or feels can create visual or tactile interest and can accentuate contrast or balance among the elements of the environment.”
— Annie Mason, Singular Spaces by Annie Mason
4805 Harley Ave., Fort Worth, 817-738-1727.
Brown & Courtney Interior Design
4829 Camp Bowie Blvd.
Decorating Den Interiors — Bonnie Pressley
DW Design Group Inc.
675 Bentwood Lane
2038 Ward Parkway
Singular Spaces by Annie Mason
4805 Harley Ave.