Tuesday, September 14, 2021 / by Teresa Dipeso
Designing a home isn’t easy, and many homeowners make the rookie mistake of obsessing almost exclusively about color—for the walls, rugs, furnishings, and more. The result is often too much color, and not much style.
So if you want to shake things up visually without color, what should you do? Here’s the secret professional designers swear by: texture, the unsung hero of home decor.
“Texture is actually one of the things that most DIY decorators don’t incorporate,” says Joe Human, a New York City designer. “But texture can add so much personality to a space.”
“Texture plays an important role in the completeness of a space and sense of home,” adds Leonard Ang, an interior designer and writer for Interior Charm, a home design blog. “Colors provide emotion and ‘the feels’ of a room, but texture plays a role in giving weight, focus, and accent to a place.”
So if you feel your home needs something extra, here’s a guide to adding the perfect touch of texture that will do the trick.
Add instant depth, drama, and visual weight to any room with faux fur.
“Fur works well if placed next to a rough texture,” says Ang. So you might put a fur throw on the places you like to cuddle up in colder months. And add a sheepskin rug alongside your bed so your feet don’t have to hit the cold floor when you wake up.
But since faux fur is a luscious, extravagant texture, just be careful not to pile it on.
“It’s best used in rooms that are otherwise kind of plain,” says Jeneva Aaron of TheHouseWire.com. Same goes for feathers, fringe, and other dramatic textures.
One of Human’s favorite places to add texture is on walls, with covering to instantly create visual interest.
Lead interior designer Lisa Yates of Collective Design + Furnishings in Summit County, CO, recently completed a project where she used four different types of wall coverings (grass cloth, cork, woven fabric, and wallpaper), as well as barn wood wall accents.
“These textural additions really help to make each space feel unique,” says Yates.
We often think of texture as a tactile quality, but it’s visual, too. So show some personal style and flair with metallics.
“Metallics have come back in style over the past few years, as they make good accents in minimalist rooms,” says Aaron.
Accent pieces are a good place to start with metallics—think mirrors, lamp bases, furniture arms, or even a brass tray on a coffee table.
But as with many textures, be prudent.
“Piling too many metallic objects into a space can look a little gaudy,” says Aaron.
“One of my favorite things to do in the living room is layer rugs,” says Erin Davis, lead designer of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, OR.
Look for various rugs in different fibers, colors, and shapes that complement one another. And start with a natural fiber like sea grass, sisal, and jute to have a base of texture and dimension. (Beautiful rugs in wool have a similar effect.) Then go for a more foot-friendly top layer.
“A chunky sweater rug or animal hide layered on top of a sisal or jute can create an entirely new look and soften things up underfoot,” says Davis.
Plants not only add texture to hard surfaces in a room, but they also create warmth and dimension.
“Adding one plant to your home is awesome, but if you group a few plants together with different leaf texture, it’s organic and soothing,” says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions in Orange County, NY.
Consider leaf texture and varying plant heights to create interest. You can start with a fern, then add a pothos and a spider plant grouped together in a room, suggests Gray-Plaisted. (Bonus: These plants are all easy to care for.)
Wicker and rattan accent chair
Play with different textures when choosing your accent chair.
“Natural textures can only make a statement when the entire furniture piece is made from them,” says Emilie Baltorinic, an interior designer in Downey, CA. Rattan, cane, and natural woven chairs are not only on-trend but can also lift up the mood of your space.
And since the natural textures are neutral in color, you can go for a contemporary chair in an unusual shape or one that hangs from the ceiling.
Multiple cushions in different luxe textiles will add a wonderful touch of luxury to any room—particularly velvet in deep colors.
“The fabric is plush, soft, and beckons you to cozy up,” says Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at Modsy, an online interior design service. So layer plush cushions on your sofa, or even your bed, to brighten up the room.