Stimulate Your Senses with Texture in Your Home Decor and Art

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Texture adds life to your home!

What do I mean by "TEXTURE?"

Basically, it's anything we can feel through the sense of touch.


Picture yourself in a rustic log cabin. Run your hand across the knot-holed logs and feel your fingertips catch on the rough raw ragged wood. Next, shuffle your bare feet and feel the fur of the bear skin rug beneath you, coarse yet cushy.


Texture adds dimension. It appeals to our senses -- both visual and tactile -- which makes the room interesting.


Take a moment and scan your room. Notice the details.

Start with the big items: your walls, flooring, large pieces of furniture and your focal point. Are they smooth and refined? Or patterned and textured? It doesn't matter what they are. What matters is that you pay attention to them, and then how you'll treat them.


Texture in Art


Often a large painting can be the focal point of a room. This center of interest will have more impact if the art has texture in it, or if the painting is surrounded by texture, perhaps from the frame around it, the wall it is displayed on, and also the items near it.


As an oil painter, I create texture by using a palette knife to give me the ultimate layers of thick paint. The texture adds magnitude to the art.

In the painting below, to create a greater sense of depth in the foreground, I painted the woodland grasses with thick abundant strokes. Then for greater contrast, I painted the water with little texture.



Texture in Your Focal Point


Every room needs a focal point to build upon its design.

Although the focal point can or can not be art, the item becomes your focal point because of its size, color, unique shape, or ... TEXTURE.


Draw more attention to the focal point in your room by adding contrasting textures near the item.

The greater the difference in tactile qualities, the greater the effect.

Below:

  • Rustic Picture Frame: leads your eye into the smooth paper of the watercolor painting.

  • Wicker basket with rough brown spheres and round orange balls contrasts against the fabric runner.

  • Smooth maple wood finish and sleek metal legs of console adds subtle variety without over-powering the focal point of the painting.



Play Around with Texture

Texture makes a big impact when you let opposites attract.


FOR FEMININE FEEL:

Choose soft, fine fabrics such as light-weight, airy fabrics of lace, crocheted, layered sheer or gauze. Embellished, or hand-painted furniture.


Smooth glass and silk flowers = feminine

MASCULINE FEEL:

Use rustic to sleek metals, including an industrial look. All types of wood: rough, raw, refined, polished, unfinished, stained, the list goes on. Use fabrics of leather to distressed hides. Don't forget stone finishes like granite, or a brick fireplace.


Deer motif, weathered paint, birch bark vase = masculine

FORMAL FEEL: Silks, organza, velvet, brocade, tapestries for pillows or slipcovers, including fancy trims and braids.


CASUAL FEEL: Denim, corduroy, tweeds, linen, broadcloth used in pillows and furniture coverings add an everyday comfy vibe.


Wood carved signs = casual feel

As for how to pair these items correctly, consider two things.

1. Think about your personal style and your family's needs. Are you more casual and laid back?


2. Consider the use of the room. A traditional dinning room (heavier with feminine and formal) will merit different textures than a game room (primarily casual and masculine).


Mixing the "feels."

In this vignette of a couple's family room, the feminine traditional pattern on the chair and velvet pillow is balanced with the masculine, modern, clean lines of the table and lamp, creating harmony for both sexes.


Home of Brian and Lindsay Moynihan decor mixing traditional pattern with modern furniture
This room is enjoyed by a husband and wife so the mix of feminine and masculine is balanced.

Where to place texture


PROXIMITY MATTERS:

Putting a smooth texture directly next to a rough one will make the rough object stand out more and appear more dramatic than if you space them apart.


Use distance to determine how subtle or dynamic you want the intensity.


Repeat textures to balance a room.

  • Pair a piece of wicker furniture with wicker baskets on a bookshelf across the room.

  • Balance a leather sectional with stacks of leather-bound books.

Just remember the greater contrast in textures, the greater impact in your decor.

Texture with Monochromatic or analogous color scheme

Also known as using one-color or three colors next to each other on the color wheel.


In these limited color schemes, texture is particularly important as it is what will create the contrast and hold your interest.

Notice in the monochromatic color scheme below these effects:

  • Texture from the palette knife technique in Kate's original birch painting

  • Smooth metal hooks against white wood bar

  • Embossed fabric


Energize a boring room by adding texture. Texture will turn an everyday space into a conversation starter.



Texture brings energy to the photo above:

  • Smooth glass vases and pebbled photo frame.

  • Rough wood console.

  • Coarse ceramic pottery imprinted from real leaves of nature.

Although texture is only "perceived," it continues to be as powerful as actually physically touching them.


So look around, and empower texture!


Feeling unsure?

I have a FREE easy-to-follow, 5-step texture action guide.

Just email me: katemoynihan44@gmail.com

or login in at top of this page.

Related article: One - Color (Monochromatic) Decor for Tranquility in Your Home