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Home » Texture: Element of Interior Design | What Is and How to Use it?

Texture: Element of Interior Design | What Is and How to Use it?

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Texture is one amazing element of interior design that is often overlooked by designers but has an amazing ability to enhancing your interiors in an unimaginable way. By making use of texture, an interior designer can add a superbly subtle but yet so powerful dimension to your rooms.

modern interior designed living room

What is Texture in Interior Design? Texture can be defined as the structure of anything that can be touched and felt. This can be characterized by the way a fabric is woven, or the physical look and feel that can be lent to an object or any material by changing the arrangement, shape, size or the proportions of all its parts put together. 

What is Texture and How Can We Use it?

When it comes to texture in interior design, we refer to the surface quality. It can be rough or smooth, hard or soft, bumpy or flat, dull or shiny. We can use it with light, color and scale.

It is often, one of the most ignored elements of interior designs. The reason is pretty simple. When interior designing, the aim is to design an interior scheme that is well decorated, aligned with design principles, comfortable with a luxurious look and feel. We do not want to create a space with bumpy structures and patterns. But if used with right feeling you can create awesome look.

Texture typically pertains to the surface quality of any material that has been used in the creation of your interiors – they could be the walls, the wooden doors, window frames, textured curtains and upholstery and every other object that fills the interior spaces.

Every object in the room has its own texture and when right ones are combined together with all the other elements of interior design, your room will get transformed into an amazing spectacle. 

Interior design using natural colors

It is about obtaining a perfect blend of textures from all the objects in the room rather than focussing on just one object or area of applying and using the textures.

When used with light, using the right types can create amazing effects. Some of them can affect the temperatures of the rooms as well. For instance, shiny and smooth textures reflect the light and create a cool effect and impression whereas raised textures, absorb the light more and as such create a sense of warmth and coziness.

You would usually find cozy rooms to be full of textures. On the other hand If your room uses only one color or monochromatic scheme, then adding textures adds a subtle exquisiteness to the feel of the room. 

Applying texture should be based on how the other elements of the design have been used in the room or what outcome the designer is planning to achieve.

Use Texture with Light

Rough or coarse textures as we discussed earlier, lend a warm feeling to the room as they reflect less light. They make the objects look and feel rustic and add more weight to them.

Smooth and shiny textures, on the other hand, present a cool impression and feel colder. They lend a pristine and modern look to the interiors and make the objects in the space look sleek and stylish.

Use Texture with Scale

Scale is another element that undergoes a drastic change when used with the right kind of texture. Interior designers can use them based on the desired results they are expecting for a room. They can make use of textures to make a room look heavier or lighter.

How is it done? Consider a simple sofa in the room. Now just imagine a rough and coarse type of upholstery to cover the sofa. A simple sofa in the room gets a heavy look just by the use of some rough upholstery. And replace the same upholstery with shiny and smooth linen, the room would lighten up and so would your sofa.

Above example is called visual weight which is key when creating one of most important design principlesBalance.

Use Texture with Color

Color and texture when used appropriately complement and complete each other perfectly. Heavily textured objects will reflect less light and as such, they provide a dark shade to the color scheme of the room.

Interior design texture inside restaurant

Similarly, smooth textured interiors will reflect more light and add to the brightness of the room. Based on this simple rule, interior designers can choose where to use what texture based on the lighting requirements in the room.

Where Can We Find Them?

When the word texture comes to our mind, we think about that typical feeling that we get when we touch a wall, or a piece of furniture, curtains and other objects in real life.

Wherever you look, you will find a certain texture of everything. Your pair of jeans feels rugged and rough, your cotton shirt has a certain feel to it and so that the fine linens on your bed.

Texture is all around us in every object. And in interior designing, it is all about either using these pre-existing structures to enhance and transform your homes or create some new ones to blend with the elements that can be worked with.


Your furniture is always going to be textured. If it is wooden and has a coarse texture, your room will have that rustic look and feel heavy. If however the furniture is shiny and smooth and is made up of glass, your room will look sleek, modern and lightweight.

Wall Coverings

In a similar way your wall coverings which may be wallpapers, or even wall colors, if textured can create a wonderful effect.

Smooth textured bright colored walls or wallpapers enhance the brightness of the rooms and make the rooms look bigger and brighter. On the contrary rugged textured dark colored walls makes the room look small.

That does not mean the coarse-textured walls should not be used. The idea is to use the right texture in the right place.

Decor items

Apart from the above two things that are a part of your interiors you can also get textures in the sheets used, the linens, the upholstery and the other decor items that are a part of your room.

Using textile as texture in interior design

Silky smooth linens, upholstery, and others lend a feeling of upscale modern and luxurious kind of feeling to your interiors whereas textured patterns lend an element of class and exquisiteness.


Rugs make an excellent contribution towards interior design when it comes to adding more texture. Knit or woven rug is equally tactile and the textures are noticeable without any of the cleaning difficulty.

Rug as focus point and main texture in this modern contemporary interior design

A carefully displayed rug will be able to alter how light reflects around the room. Its presence will soften up, smooth or add rustic charm to overall place.


Books are my personal favourite to use in decorating. I find that books help liven up a room and introduce a range of textures and patterns without being overbearing because they only count as one element of a room, no matter how many there are.

Books as part of texture and its interior design

In addition, they help warm a room and create a cosy atmosphere.

Why is texture important? 

Texture like all other elements of interior design is indispensable. To some extent, you can still block one or the other element to be present in the room such as light. But you cannot do without texture.

Every object in the room has its own texture and even if there is no object in the room, the wall and the floor have a texture. As such it is important to use these textures perfectly to bring out the best in a room.

It is undoubtedly the key to a good interior design and scheme. While the colors, patterns and other elements are important, without it the entire scheme looks boring and mundane. Incorporating a mix of textures from the onset will help to unity and harmony in a room, and create some focal point to draw the eye.

Texture in interior design are often present also in restaurants

After all the time and money that you invest in your interiors, you would certainly not like to have a monotonous and outdated setting for your home right?

When it comes to adding texture, the most important thing is a light reflection. You need to know the impact of light and which tactile and visual types of textures are you planning to use.

What are the differences between Tactile and Visual texture?

The difference between the two can be explained simply by the differences in the sense of touch and sense of sight. Each object in our design should be pleasing to see and to touch in order to get the most benefit from textured pieces.

Tactile texture defines and describes the tactile or the tangible quality of a surface – this is how the surface feels upon touch which can be smooth, rough, fuzzy, sticky, slick or soft, etc. This is the actual texture that is created by the structural arrangement or orientation of the object.

Visual Texture, on the other hand, is the way a surface looks or is perceived by our sense of sight. Visual texture is nothing but an illusion that is formed from the tactile structure. A good interior designer would know how to use a tactile texture to create that perfect visual effect. 

Amazing hallway with different textures present in one design blend together

That said, it is important not to go overboard using too many similar or contrasting textures. Start a room with a select number of textures in mind, and then add more elements to the room without deviating from the chosen ones.

7 Final Tips Using Texture in Interior Design

  1. Use only a few different textures in one room to avoid creating visual clutter.
  2. Ensure that all textures you use are united by common design elements.
  3. Coarse textures are heavy, smooth textures are light, and their proximity to one another accentuates the differences between them.
  4. Rough textures are intimate, smooth textures are more sophisticated.
  5. Take advantage of any unique features within the room and use them to set the textural themes of the room.
  6. Take your lifestyle into account when designing to find the perfect midpoint between practicality and flair.
  7. Balance is the key to success .

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