Sound Like a Designer :: Texture

Design :: Kelly Wearstler.  Seen in Elle Decor.

Texture is defined as “the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface.  Unfortunately, texture can often be overlooked when designing a space, so it is important to remember that it has the ability to add a powerful, yet subtle, dimension to a room.  Texture can be brought into a room in a variety of ways, such as furniture finishes, textiles, floor finishes, wall treatments and architectural elements.

Texture can be both visual and tactile and it can help differentiate various objects and surfaces, transform light and influence scale.  Texture can refer to smooth or rough surfaces, or glossy or matte.  Rough/Coarse textures reflect less light and therefore feel “warmer” and can give object more weight.  They can also feel more rustic. Smooth/shiny textures reflect more light and feel cooler, more modern.  Smooth/shiny textures also can make an object feel lighter.

The scale of the texture is also important to take into account -- the same sofa will look very different when upholstered in a thick corduroy than it will when upholstered in a smooth linen.

The proper and subtle use of texture takes a design from being flat and dead to noticeable and alive.
— Josh Byers

An easy way to  introduce a variety of textures and patterns throughout your room is with pillows, throws and draperies.  These items are easy to change and add accents of color and texture to a room.  Another way to bring in texture is by utilizing one of the largest surfaces in the room -- the floor.  Natural wood flooring is beautiful, but it looks better with the layered, textured effect of a throw or area rug. Using area rugs also allows you to define certain zones in a room and add a range of colors and patterns, and, well, texture.

Image via Lonny Magazine

Architectural elements are a larger, more permanent (compared to pillows and throws) way to bring texture in a room --  think exposed wood or steel beams, brick walls, or interesting ceiling or wall treatments.

One of the most important places to inject texture is in monochromatic design schemes.  Without texture, these rooms are just plain boring.  For example, if you have several pillows in the same color on a couch, don’t cover them all in the same fabric (yawn!) Instead look for a variety of textures -- velvet, mohair, silk, linen, leather -- to instantly add interest to the entire space.

As with anything, balance is key. A room without enough textured elements can feel cold and sterile, while a room that is overflowing with texture may read as cozy to one and cluttered to another.  It’s really all about preference and finding your spot on the texture-scale.

via greige design

Texture is brought into this bathroom through the smooth marble tile on the walls, the stone floor in a running bond pattern and the distressed vanity and mirror against the pure white ceramic sink bowl.

image :: rikki snyder

In this bedroom the flat black wall contrasts with the unfinished wood plank ceiling and the exposed white brick wall.  The sisal rug and faux fur throw also add texture to the design.

design :: lindsey coral harper.  Seen in Elle Decor

The high-gloss purple walls give this room a modernist edge, which is softened a bit with the upholstered pieces.  The metal coffee table base and light wood chair bases also bring in some texture.  Let's not forget books either!  Books are great for bringing in texture to a space.

design :: angie helm interiors.  Seen in domino magazine

Texture definitely makes the room in this monochromatic design.  The distressed fireplace mantel contrasts the the shiny herringbone floor, which is covered by a nice and soft flokati.  The velvet on the chair also brings in texture as does the cotton upholstered couch with the cozy looking throw.

image via lovely life

The rug (especially the rug,) books, plants and leather pouf bring a lot of texture into this cozy living room.

via Christy Bright's flickr stream

Another gorgeous white monochromatic room, thanks to all the texture brought in by the designer!  I love the combination of the distressed wooden ceiling and the cerused table and floors.

Seen in Elle Decor

Fur throws (faux, of course) are an easy way to bring texture into a room.  In this space, the faux fur throw and flokati contrast the harder edged metal table in the foreground.

Seen in Elle Decor

The tufted velvet headboard, velvet curtains, faux fur throw, striped bedding and books bring layers of texture to this beautiful bedroom.

Mama Shelter in Paris, via

The trendy Mama Shelter hotel's restaurant design is loaded with texture!  The rough wood tables, smooth-finish light wood bar, metal stools and faceted metal light fixture are just a few of the textured elements.

Seen in dwell magazine

The unfinished herringbone wood floors combined with the brass chairs and table base and smooth shiny table top are the sources of texture in this Parisian flat.

via restaurant and bar design awards

This restaurant really layers on the texture!  The vintage louvered shutters, metal and plastic chairs, leather chairs, wood and tile flooring, faceted metal pendant fixtures, mirrored area above the velvet banquettes and the wall full of wine bottles {Yes!  Wine bottles can add texture when presented en masse as a design element}bring in a wealth of texture.