How to Use Texture in Interior Design [pro tips]

When it comes to interior design, most people will think of colours, furniture styles or light. However, one overlooked aspect of interior design is texture and how it can be utilised within a room. In this article we will explain what texture is, why it is important and what it can do to shape an atmosphere in a room.

What is Texture in Interior Design?

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. Texture can also be affected by lighting and the contrast of other textures nearby. Two examples:

  • Venetian plaster wall as smooth surface, creates a visual illusion of depth and roughness, helping contrast a room of otherwise clean, simple furniture.
  • A rug on a tile floor is both visually and tactilely contrasting. It adds in addition another layer to a room that could otherwise be flat.

It is important to remember that texture is both visual and tactile element of a design. Each object should be pleasing to see and to touch in order to get the most benefit from textured pieces.

Using texture helps to differentiate various objects and surfaces. With them we balance, shine and affect perceived scale. We can also create a particular design style wanted. For example: When you think of a modern home, you imagine glossy materials and generally smooth surfaces. Elegant style often relate to contemporary interiors. This styles we create with different type of textures.

Patterns and texture are not the same thing. A pattern is solely visual, but a texture refers to the quality of a surface. In short, patterns contribute to texture, but they are not same thing.

Why is Texture Important in Design?

As we have touched on, texture can make or break a room’s impact. It is essential to consider texture through the entire process of design or redesigns of your space. Incorporating a mix of textures from the onset will help to unify a room, and create some stand out pieces to draw the eye.

Texture provides a visual weight and depth to a room. It makes overall appearance to room itself. Without, room can look dull but using it right way room will pop and stand out. Texture is even more important in a limited colour palette. It will be key element in creating contrast between the elements of your room.

Just as your chosen colour scheme can affect how warm or cool a room feels, texture can influence the tone and weight of a room for better or for worse. A few loose rules of thumb to bear in mind; the coarser a texture, the heavier it will feel to the eye ; the more reflective something is, the lighter it appears. Bearing these two tenets in mind will help to shape a balanced room.

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 textures.

This is extremely important if one uses neutral colours in a room. While inoffensive and usually appealing to most people, a neutral room devoid of texture could present as dull and flat without a way to accentuate different features or draw the eye.

Can You Mix Patterns in A Room?

It is entirely possible to use multiple patterns in a room. To reach harmony threw room design, you need to ensure that everything remains balanced. So check each time you add new component. Example would be accent wall used to draw the eye towards a centrepiece or main area of a room. In this example we use soft blue Venetian plaster to add rough, almost natural look to the wall. It could then be complemented very nicely with a checkered smoky grey and blue throw over the sofa. Maybe also rug with a grey or blue leaf pattern.

The blue is our hypothetical living room which unites three different patterns under a common colour scheme. One is soft and reminiscent of twilight colouring. Only strong pattern is our checkered throw which helps tie less structured patterns together without overwhelming any single element of the design.

A useful rule of thumb for mixing patterns is making sure all have something in common ; colour, shapes, themes or styles.

As our example suggests, having common colours would be the simplest way of mixing patterns,

Using Texture in interior design

The simplest way to incorporate texture into interior design is the use of fabrics and other textiles. Pillows, throws and blankets are an excellent way to add texture to your room. This will be also cheapest way to Spice up your design. Possible redesigns after won’t be so expensive.

Rugs as texture element

Rugs too, 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. 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.

Contrast in textures

Use of deliberately contrasting items would make a pleasing display as well. Instead of using similarly textured, plain cushions, experiment by having a couple of heavily embroidered pillows. This is example of attractive way adding more elements to the room without risking overloading the balance. Experiment with texture in a room and progress easily to the next level of texturing.

Layering textures in interior design

This is the best way of unifying an entire room. While a statement piece adds a dramatic touch to any room, the best way to fully involve every aspect of design is to pick out a few larger pieces as a base. For this example, we will return to the blue room from earlier. With our blue room we had a statement rug and a checkered throw over the sofa. Now we will keep the two base statement pieces and combine a few more pieces together to add some textural complexity.

Bearing in mind the visual roughness created by the Venetian plaster, we will add a pale wooden table, lightly varnished. The natural texture and pattern of the wood will complement the plaster. We will put several plain applique pillows on the sofa. Accent them with a smaller beaded pillow and a larger, quilted pillow. Keeping within the calmer twilight and dawn tones will help tie everything together without the colours and textures combining to overwhelm the senses.

Texture in Accessories, Architecture and Lighting

Venturing outside the box affords more variety of textures and opportunities to create a varied, inviting room. Considering using some plants, driftwood or other raw materials to bring in some unexpected variation. Unfinished wood or stone would be an excellent contrast to a room otherwise focussed on soft textures and add a natural layer of complexity.

Alongside plants, books are a personal favourite of ours to use in decorating. We 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. In addition, they help warm a room and create a cosy atmosphere; although, naturally, our opinion may differ from yours.

If you are particularly fortunate, your room might have architecture to take advantage of. Some molding around the windows or a bay seat is asking to be used to the room’s advantage. If a room primarily has hard textures like tiling and lots of smooth surfaces, add bumpy textures. Soft woven blanket or a warm metal ornament will provide enough contrast to tie everything together.

However, do not forget that the walls and floor itself, along with the lighting, can be used to bring texture into the room. Venetian plaster in our hypothetical room uses wall itself to provide large amount of visual texture without sacrificing any space. Furthermore, the texture will be lightened at different times of the day due to natural and artificial lighting.


The closer together two objects are, the more effectively they will contrast. It is a good idea to put smooth and rough objects close to each other or to otherwise break up a design. For a room that appears evenly textured, putting the rougher or more textured pieces in the background will help balance the room. On the other side putting smoother ones of the foreground will bring harmony.

It is also at this point where you should consider scale as well. A piece of furniture with rough texture will have a different line and presentation compared to one covered in a simple linen or faux-suede fabric. It will also appear larger than the other because of the illusion presented by the material. Room layout can be affected also becouse of material itself.

Practical of textures in interior design

Ultimately, when you consider texture and any aspect of interior design, this should be the main deciding point. Your home reflects you, your family and your lifestyle. It will be up to you to see to the upkeep of the room. A polished floor might look beautiful, but in a house with plenty of activity, it can easily become dulled and messy. Having rugs on top to hide the messy floor could lead to a potential slipping hazard. White curtains and furnishings may be more prone to rotting or discolouring under intense sunlight.


Texture should not be overlooked any more than one would overlook pattern or colour combinations during interior design. While it may sound intimidating, it can actually be a very easy way to create a truly unique space. As long as you proceed cautiously and bear in mind few simple rules:

  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 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 word.

We suggest usage of different textiles to give your design additional flair. It is the most cost affordable and flexible way changing your room around without risking much. It provides also degree of safety compared to investi in larger pieces of furniture.

We hope that this article has given you some insight into using textures to your advantage in your home, and wish you luck in creating a room with the right balance of light, colour, texture and shine.

Wanna hire interior designer but prepare yourself to find best one for your taste? Here is my quide: What questions to Ask before You Hire an Interior Designer