What You Should Know About Texture

Have you ever decorated a room and thought, “No, something is not quite right”. You have all the fabulous furnishings and the right colors and the perfect accents but your room is still off. There is one element of decor that is so so important and unfortunately often overlooked. Today let’s talk about the importance of TEXTURE in decor!

Texture plays such an important role in elevating your rooms to be perceived by your brain as something beautiful. When texture is absent from decor a room often looks “flat”.

In other words not interesting to our brains and are perceived as boring.

There are so many elements to remember when putting together an attractive room: color, focal point, sight lines, scale and proportion, balance, style, repeated elements, white spaces, etc.

And some elements of design are easily seen if not executed correctly. But many of us forget about the magic of TEXTURE!

Texture, by my definition, is the ability of our eyes to take in things around it and our brains to translate how those things feel.

Texture is how something feels and we really don’t even have to touch it!

But texture is not all about bumpy things.

It’s about feeling all sorts of surfaces. Hard, soft, furry, silky, shiny, smooth, rough, abrasive, downy, chunky, embossed, ragged pleated, thin. You get the picture!

And here’s the secret… we need to try to mix different textures into our rooms so our eyes are excited to travel from one texture to another so our brain says, WOW THIS IS SO INTERESTING without it getting overloaded!

Learning how to add different textures to a room might take a little bit of practice.

Try adding and editing texture each time you do take a picture.  Then study your picture. You will be amazed at what a picture can tell you that your eyes might miss!

I talk about “visual weight”.

Visual weight is all about texture. Everything we see our brain “weighs”.

Lucite has very little visual weight and a nubby rug like the one in my living room has lots of visual weight.

Lots of visually weighted texture makes a room feel much more cozy and warm. Less visually weighted texture makes a room feel sophisticated and sometimes aloof.

Here are some ways to add texture to your home:

  • use architectural features- crown molding, larger window casings, door casings, shiplap, and hearths are all good examples of adding architectural weight to a home
  • furniture- consider the texture of every piece you put into your home. Rough planked bookshelves, smooth wooden tables, and linen upholstered sofas are examples of home furnishing texture.
  • accents- I love accents because here’s where you can easily bring texture into your home. Satin pillows, fluffy throws, smooth candlesticks, and rough wooden bowls are ripe with texture! I must also add burlap covered books… my favorite!
  • floor coverings- hide rugs, sisal rugs, silk orientals, and wall to wall pile carpets have textures that will add interest to a room!
  • textiles- every piece of material will add some sort of texture and visual weight to a room. The shiner and smoother the less weight and the more furry, bumpy, and rough the more weight!
  • wall materials- drywall, brick, shiplap, paneling, wainscoting, stone, and marble are examples.

Now you know! Look around the rooms in your home and see where you can add wonderful, visual texture!

84 Comments

  1. Amazing what a difference the sisal rug makes! Great post on what to keep in mind when decorating or even putting together a vignette.

  2. Would love to have a sisal type rug in our family room but with 2 cats I am afraid they would quickly ruin it. Too much like a scratching post! Still add texture with pillows, nubby throws, and natural wood accent pieces. I even have a rough linen lampshade that adds interest. Your tips are so on target.Thanks Yvonne.

  3. Hi, Yvonne,
    Love what the sisal rug did to the look of your living room. Could you tell me where you bought it? Locally or online
    Thanks,
    Claudia

  4. Love the large rug in the middle of the room. Had to rethink rugs since my husband now uses a walker so I have had to rethink my rug arrangement. Keep the rugs close to the legs of furniture so he can get around easier and it still adds an element of texture and color that the wood floor needs.

  5. This information was some of your best yet and the sisal in the living room was a perfect example! Such a simple thing but as you said, sooo very important. Your blogs are like classes of continuing ed. ?

  6. We have something that looks like running cedar, except it doesn’t run. Each sprig is 4″-6″ tall, dries to perfect green, and lasts for months. This time of year, I stick it into wreaths, small vases, bare spots in real plants – adds nice color and texture. Thx for texture ideas

  7. The rug made all the difference! Great example. The picture trick is an idea worth trying. That’s often how I know I need to make a change. I’ll see the room in a photo, and something doesn’t look right. Gives you a fresh perspective.

  8. Yvonne, your rooms are so comfortable and inviting. Thank you for the insight of adding texture to our rooms. Would you please share the resource for the soft nubby sisal rug? Thank you.

  9. What an informative post!! I never thought about texture intentionally when putting a room together! I must take a look around to see what I have done! Love the sisal rug! Thanks!

  10. My home is very flat, trying to add lots of textures to give the rooms more personality.We added
    hardwood floors to the open spaces and area rugs.Loving your sisal rug and accessories, very cozy space.

  11. Totally agree! Texture gives some good depth….we just put hardwood in the dining room….I’m thinking we need a rug to ad a little texture. But I need to convince my husband.

  12. I love the sisal rug…I actually would like to do the same thing in my living room…I have berber carpet in there now that I would like to replace with hard wood, and then place a sisal rug. Right now, a new roof is in the budget??How boring, but very necessary. Thanks for the great post!

    Blessings,
    ❤Beth

  13. Yvonne your living room is so lovely and cozy. I see a sisal rug in the future. I’m especially crazy about your large leaf plant, please share the name and care, so beautiful.

  14. You are so correct about texture, Yvonne! I think texture is one of the main elements that most home decorators fail to think about when styling a room, and it can make or break a design. Another is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves…hanging artwork too HIGH or using prints, paintings, etc., that are too small for a wall space. A podcast on this would be a very beneficial topic, I think.

  15. I see what you mean about texture. Someone once told me to look around. Do I have wood? Paper? Glass? Metal? Hard? Soft? But she did not mention texture!
    In regards to your rug, i liked and still do like the room sans sisal. I also like it with the sisal. I feel like it is two different feels to your room. But I’m not there in person. But gazing at your photos, I love both looks!!! To me the polish of your wood is a texture too!
    But yes I like the texture of the sisal as well.

  16. Just added wainscotting to our living room wow!! Great texture. Should my curtains match my paint colour? Wish I could post a picture.

  17. Not only does the new rug add texture, THE COLOR unifies the colors in your decor and cools the overall impression of your design. The warm wood floor color fought with the composition.

  18. What is the paint color of the neutral walls on the living room and dining room walls in the Autumn 2017 issue of the cottage journal?

  19. I think texture is what my rooms are missing. We’re adding planked walls in the kitchen and I can’t wait to see how that turns out. I think it’s going to really change the entire feel of the room.

  20. I absolutely love this post! It’s reinforced the power of texture and the layering of rugs. Thank you for bringing such beauty to so many!

  21. Texture…it’s the essential “POP!” BTW: What do you think about a room like yours being done on an angle or the furniture pulled towards the center instead of being along the walls? Is that becoming old school?

  22. Yvonne- I listened to my first Decorating Tips & Tricks podcast with you….. It’s just not the same. I will so miss your voice and humor.

  23. I love a room with a nice sisal rug underfoot, but hate to walk on them with bare feet!! Have you found a brand that is softer than most??? Happy Mother’s Day!

  24. That is so weird. I actually thought the room looked too busy before you added the rug, but after adding the rug, it was perfect! I would have thought that the rug would have made it look busier but it didn’t!

  25. I think more than the texture, in the before and after, is the fact that the wood floor was too much of a red contrast to a monochromatic space. Yes, there’s texture with the rug, but the softer color of the sisal really adds to the room. If a sisal rug were put down that was the same color as the wood floor, would it really have the same effect?

    1. Hi Tammy the texture really does hide the oak floor. In real life, the floor does not give off such a “red” cast. Adding a sisal rug will soften the look of any flooring. Hope this helps.

    1. I found your link below. My wood floors look to be the same color as yours and I’m looking for a rug that is more white tones then gold or brown tones. In your photos this looks perfect… does the color tend to be more bleached look?

  26. This really is a deal breaker! Adding texture is the energizing ingredient that really pulls all the decor items you love together! Thanks for sharing!!

  27. I recently bought a daybed quilt set that came with a bed skirt that was a much lighter fabric than the cotton quilt and shams. It just seemed “off” to me so I made a new one from a cotton drapery panel. The fabric weight of the new dust ruffle is a better match for the quilt.

  28. Is there a rule of thumb when deciding on lamp height? Is it different depending on whether the lamp is for a bedroom or living room?

  29. Yvonne

    I thought I had my colored palette figured out based on some of the tips in your article about colors and palettes. Needless to say the brown/ greige couch we ordered in the show room looks completely gray in our living room! There went my warm color palette! After 5 months of waiting for this furniture I decided I’m not going to send it back. I admit after all this time I was disappointed.

    yvonne, you came to my rescue after reading your article on mixing warm and cool colors. Now I’m making lemonade out of lemons in trying to add pillows and a throw in warmer colors! Thank you for blogging your decorating lessons. They have become invaluable to me as I’m redecorating our main floor.

    Sincerely

    Lori Axtman

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