T-t-touch Me: Using Texture in Interior Design
The word ‘texture’ refers to both the tactile sensation created by a substance, and its appearance – which is apposite, as texture has the ability to influence the entire feel of a room. Commonly seen as a ‘finishing touch’ rather than a core design consideration, the importance of texture is often overlooked – at the peril of your interior’s success. The most stylish interior designs consider texture from the earliest stages of planning, knowing it can transform the sterile into the cozy, or condemn clean lines to looking cluttered. But you don’t need to be an interior designer yourself to use texture effectively – with our simple design principles, you can easily transform your interiors with texture.
1. Contrast and Complement
Using a variety of different textures adds depth and comfort to a room – think smooth, clear walls, sleek linen sofas with shaggy sheepskin cushions and a coarse, rustic carpet. Or consider exposed brickwork, muted wooden flooring, long sweeping curtains and an eklectik, hand-knotted rug. It’s all about layering your textures in a way which makes a room inviting yet understated – overusing bold textures will make a room look busy and crowded, while too many smooth surfaces will make your room seem cold and sterile.
2. Different Textures Create Different Effects
Smooth, shiny surfaces like polished wood, sleek leather and glass reflect light, meaning they can make a room seem larger, while also giving an impression of coolness. This effect is enhanced if you’re using a pale or neutral colour-scheme – it’s a stylish, modern look, but if it’s not offset by some softer, more tactile textures you might bypass ‘cool’ and end up with ‘cold’. Rougher, coarser textures like furs, wicker, tweed and cord absorb light, lending them a warmer, denser feel. The key here is balance – by cleverly contrasting a coarse, hand knotted rug and heavy drapes with smooth, shiny surfaces you create a more welcoming, live-able feel. Or by using light linen sofas and sleek blinds against textured wallpaper and exposed wooden floorboards, you can prevent heavy textures from overwhelming the structure of your space.
3. Soft Furnishings Are Everything
The use of texture in your soft furnishings can complete transform the feel of a room – something as simple as the positioning of a throw across a sofa can highlight the texture and quality of both. A soft, luxurious cashmere over a buttery-soft leather sofa; a shaggy cushion against a sleek linen armchair, a jewel-bright hand-knotted rug glowing against dark polished floorboards…it is these soft furnishings that make a room warm and comforting, and invite you to stay for a while. The layering of soft furnishings is particularly important in bedrooms – using a scattering of cushions in different textures; layering a furry or knitted throw over a sateen-cotton bedspread; using pale, gauzy curtains to enhance the natural light from a window – these are the finishing touches that add depth and comfort to your room.
Whether you’re planning a complete interior overhaul or there’s something you can’t quite put your finger on missing from your living spaces, consider the use of textures in your home. With the power to turn the mundane into the majestic and the drab into the dramatic, they’re a crucial, yet oft-overlooked design element.