Play it safe; texture is for throw pillows.  

This is one piece of advice with which we are happy to dispense! Incorporating texture into your home is an effective way to add visual interest while creating a “finished” look and feel. However, it is one of the more neglected elements of design as we tend to focus more on aspects like color. Color is important, and we love the whole spectrum – but adding texture can truly elevate your space. 

The big question: how do you do it? 

Incorporating Texture into Your Design 

What, exactly, does it mean to “add texture”? It’s a design technique that involves layering different textiles, and materials in a space. On a simple scale, it can be adding a handwoven wool throw to a leather sofa. (We’ll go beyond the throw and throw pillow in a moment, don’t worry!) 

Without texture, a space can look flat or impersonal; while it may be quite elegantly appointed, it can feel more like a showroom than a home. Fortunately, there are never-ending changes to incorporate texture into your design. A few tips – and some inspiration – to get you started: 

Layer – Organically  

Layering textures keeps your space from feeling impersonal or uninspiring. Our best tip here: Skip the sets. Instead of a matching coffee table and end tables, for example, pair a glass coffee table and oak end table with a chrome-framed upholstered armchair. That “matchy matchy” set may be easy to select, but it can make your space appear flat and uninspiring. By selecting individual pieces that complement each other, you will give your space dimension, personality, and a finished, refined look. 

Take Your Time 

Texture is all about the details and how they work together to create a harmonious, holistic effect. Explore to find your ideal balance of materials, finishes, heights, and scopes.  

Don’t feel like you have to “finish” your decor on anyone else’s timeline. In fact, the best use of texture happens very organically as you add pieces that speak to you over time. It could be an interesting frame you found at an antique shop, a tall vase you brought back from your travels, a new plant you couldn’t resist at the nursery. A solid design foundation, so to speak, allows you to easily add texture as you live in and enjoy your home, making it truly your own. 

texture in your design
texture in your design

Remember: Texture Can Be Monochromatic! 

When we want to add some “spice” to our design, many of us turn to color – and that’s a great idea. However, you can also achieve a rich, varied, textured look with a monochromatic palette. While you stay with tones, shades, and hues within the same color, you have a world of texture to create a satisfying space.  

Go Beyond the Throw Pillow 

Adding a pillow or a patterned rug is a great way to incorporate more texture – but don’t be afraid to go beyond. These are elements of the “solid design foundation” we mentioned earlier. Your home is your canvas. Let’s see what you can create when you consider the: 

  • Walls. Walls are a perfect opportunity to incorporate texture into your design, and in recent years, demand for textured wallpaper has exploded. Thanks to advances in printing technology, you can achieve the look of marble, brick, wood, stone, and other materials. You can also opt for grass cloth, which is made from hand-woven strands of natural fibers. Even if the wallpaper itself is flat, it delivers a three-dimensional look and feel.  If you want even more texture, opt for an architectural accent wall; from LVP and hardwood to stone, you can accentuate the beauty and depth of your home. 
  • Floors. If you have hardwood, stone, cork, or bamboo floors, you have plenty of texture to work with! Consider layering on an area rug here and there. You can also layer rug on rug for a cozy, warm appeal. If you have a room without a lot of furniture and which has more simple walls, layer pattern on pattern. If you feel that’s too busy, layer a solid with a pattern. The key to tying different patterns together is to make sure the colors complement each other or are tonal (i.e. different shades of the same color). Martha Stewart herself has some great tips on layering rugs.
  • Counters. The countertop surfaces can be smooth and sleek or textured themselves. The key to integrating them into a cohesive whole is to complement other features. For example, if you have a lot of texture – e.g., woven materials, wood grains, pottery and ceramics – opting for a smooth countertop surface can keep the space from becoming overwhelming. And yes, smooth is a texture!
  • Fireplaces. Fireplace surrounds are an ideal place to incorporate texture. From rough, rustic brick to sleek, contemporary steel or polished concrete, you can beautifully complement and contrast other surfaces in your living areas. 
  • Cabinets. When we think of “texture,” cabinets may not immediately come to mind. They should! Taking a simple step by opting for either raised panel or recessed (or shaker-style) cabinet doors adds a hint of dimension and depth. A step further: cane or reeded cabinets, particularly for your island. This instantly adds a natural feel that complements a variety of design styles effortlessly. You can also use your hardware to make a statement. From dramatic gold to sophisticated matte black, color plays a role too. 
  • Ceiling beams. Exposed beams have long been a design staple, and they are yet another way to incorporate texture. You can choose materials ranging from rustic rough-cut wood to sleek engineered wood to steel, depending on the aesthetic you want to achieve. This instantly adds interesting planes and lines for the eye to enjoy. 
green building materials
  • Trim. Add detail to the details. You have a world of options to explore, including: 
    • Classic crown molding 
    • Extended molding (i.e. extend it a foot or so further than typical to add a sense of height to the ceiling as well as texture to the room) 
    • Chair molding 
    • Picture rail molding 
    • Panel molding 
    • Wainscoting  
    • Beadboard 

 Learn more about these types of trim and molding here 

 Don’t forget about your door trim; this can elevate a “flat” space into a beautiful component of your design. There are many choices here as well, such as: 

  • Farmhouse 
  • Craftsman 
  • Colonial 
  • Minimal  

Again, depending on the look you want, door trim can make a subtle, but impactful, statement.  

Texture Is the New Color: How Do You Make It Work for Your Home? 

The possibilities are exciting – but they can also be overwhelming. Connect with G&G for more ways to successfully incorporate texture when building your new custom home.