What to know about decorating with textures

Texture is an important, but often overlooked, element of decorative design to a home. The best rooms have a balance of varied textures on textiles, furniture, and other decor. Rooms that overplay one texture at the expense of others can be used to make a statement but are more often overwhelming than impressive.

To use texture wisely in your room, there a few things you should know.

Textures should be cohesive with design

Decide on what kind of room you want because it will affect which textures you choose. You can choose textures around a natural aesthetic, a modern look, or subvert expectations by using a well-placed design element that disrupts the overall theme. There is tons of room to play with natural fabrics, plush fabrics, wood, lacquer surfaces, textured wallpaper, art, plastic, metal, glass, woven clothes, etc.

How texture adds dimension

Texture is a great addition to decor because it appeals to more than one of our senses — visual and tactile. Think of how great the right rug feels squished between your toes or the way the light can play with a texture wallpaper adding an extra element of light to the room. These may be less subtle uses of design theory, but they are powerful for just that reason.

Use texture as an accent

You don’t have to make bold statements with texture to add depth. Creating a balance is important. An overwhelming amount of different textures can be jarring and appear like an amusement park rather than a cozy home. If your home has sleek wooden floor, consider adding a fluffy throw rug or furniture with heavily textured cloth. Textured cloth can be subtle yet effective. Alternatively, with a moderately textured couch (simple upholstery), try adding mudcloth pillows that feature a woven design. The cloth adds a great authenticity to your design and increases dimension without overwhelming the room, or looking as though you’ve tried too hard.

Texture can be used as a design element


Accessorizing is another way to weave in some texture to your decor without stretching the limits. Try decorative additives such as woven baskets, textured rugs, coasters, pillows, or other elements that can add texture while also adding color and other stylistic elements. Texture can also be subtle: The gentle contrast of a woven throw blanket against smooth bamboo bedding can be striking in a bedroom, for example.


If you are working in a monochromatic scheme, texture can be used instead of color. Try to start thinking about using texture as an accent in the same way you think about an accent color — which textures can complement or contrast to an the overall look. Play with the level of sleek, plush, wood, woven, and lacquer in the room and the room will come alive.

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