The importance of introducing texture and layering in interior design cannot be overstated. Without these elements, a room will come across as flat and uninteresting. Adding textural elements allows a space to come alive and gives the viewer a tactile experience with many points of interest.
Texture refers to the different surface qualities of walls, floors, rugs, scatter cushions, throws, and furniture. For instance, walls can have a variety of textures, from rough concrete, exposed brick, matte colour, or linen wallpaper. Texture can either be visual or tactile. When you walk into a room, different textures will have visual appeal. For instance, a white faux fur rug against a dark wooden floor and smooth Perspex table provide an exciting combination of textures and focal point to the lounge. A velvet couch with a loose-knit throw invites visitors entering the space to touch the surfaces and enjoy the tactile experience.
The contrast of smooth against rough when layering different textures also serves to accentuate the rough surface and provide it with visual weight. Visual weight is an object’s capacity to draw a viewer’s attention to it because it has qualities that allow it to command the space over the other décor elements in the room. For instance, a large art piece, with varying layers of richly coloured oil paint, will have visual weight and provide a focal point in the room. It will also add to the textural experience.
Scatter cushions and throws offer the most flexible opportunity to add texture to the interior design of a room. Place a smooth, satin pillow next to an embroidered or roughly woven cover. Layering occurs when you consider these against, say a jewel-coloured velvet couch, with a mohair throw over the arm.
While introducing different textures and layering these by putting together contrasting textures brings a room alive, it is essential not to overdo it. Putting together an overabundance of contrasting textures will overstimulate the senses. Just like putting together too many patterns in a room, introducing too much texture will result in a cluttered, overwhelming space. Consider high impact feature textures, focusing on two to three deeply textural elements.
The use and range of room colour will also determine how many different textures you can introduce. A monochromatic colour scheme, based on a neutral palette, gives you more leeway to introduce many varying textures. A space with strong, contrasting colours would benefit from very selectively added textures to avoid becoming overwhelming to the viewer.
Different décor designs also call for different textural treatments. To create a rustic interior design, you can explore a combination of rough and natural textures, such as harder materials like wood and stone and unusual textures like rattan, seagrass, and macramé. While a contemporary, minimalist space would come alive with smooth surfaces like marble and glossy shelving or tables.
Remember that texture is not only achieved through furniture, carpet and rugs, soft furnishing, and décor items. Certain architectural elements and floor and wall coverings have their own visual and tactile appeal.
To achieve the most cohesive and welcoming textural experience, you need to decide on your design style first and then work through the different elements of the room, exploring where and how you can introduce texture. Consider the floor surface first, then the furniture, the walls, the lighting, the ceiling, and then the soft furnishings and décor items.
A well thought through textured interior should invite visitors into the room and delight their senses. Don’t be scared to try different combinations and layers, then step back and ask whether they add appeal to the overall design or just clutter. Eventually, you will achieve the right balance and find yourself welcomed into your own space.