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Live Colorfully

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to change the feeling of a room is to add texture. There's nothing quite like sinking into a luxurious velvet couch stacked with silk pillows. Texture is a key factor in setting up a room that's both interesting and inviting. Using high contrast, eye-catching textures and unique accents can make bringing a room together simple. A room is a sum of its parts, and mixing decorative elements the right way will result in a balanced, pleasant aesthetic.

Contrasting Textures

Better Homes & Gardens design experts suggest using contrasting textures to add richness and interest to a room. For example, pair ultra-modern furnishings with a sumptuous and tactile shag rug. The deep, furry pile is a cozy contrast to the clean lines and geometric shapes of modern couches and chairs. A faux fur area rug or a nubby, thick knitted throw would complement a lush leather sofa nicely. Other general tips include:

  • Pair smooth textures with rougher items to create inviting seating for the home. Alternate silky satins with velvets for a classic formal look, since the contrasting fabrics add more appeal than just opting for one or the other.
  • Knotty wood furnishings make a great match with wool blankets and pillows for a homey, log cabin feel.
  • To add contrast on walls, think about using patterned wallpaper.
  • For a vintage feel, pair embroidered silk and satin pillows or wall hangings with coarse tweed or corduroy couches and chairs.
Using contrasting textures creates layers of visual intrigue that will draw the eye around a room, welcome guests, and create the appropriate atmosphere for every room. Whether for an open-plan loft or a Victorian parlor, texture helps break up the landscape of the room and adds dimension to prevent flat and boring living spaces. Choosing just one bold texture in a room, such as a great area rug as suggested by Apartment Therapy, can break up the monotony.

Simple Additions Make a Difference

The easiest way to add pops of interesting texture is through color. This can range from adding some small, accent furniture to replacing cushions, pillows and throws. Another great way to add more texture to a room is to consider replacing the window treatments:

  • Roman shades are a fantastic choice for adding texture to windows. Their basic design adds volume without being too bulky, and they are available in a huge array of colors, patterns, and textures. They're well suited to diverse decorating styles and easily customizable to accommodate various window sizes.
  • Sheer curtains add a light and airy feeling to any room while filtering light; they are generally available in neutral colors that easily complement existing décor.
  • Accessories can add small amounts of texture that can be switched frequently. For instance, a large glass bowl as a centerpiece in a dining room or on a coffee table can hold any number of small items to add depth. Try a pile of grapevine spheres in the bowl for a hint of a natural element in a modern room, or customize the décor seasonally with gourds, pine cones, or flowers—all in seasonal colors.
  • Pillows can add comfort, texture, color and style to a room. A bland and unappealing sofa can be transformed with a stack of pillows in different textures and colors.

The Right Texture for Your Style

Textures create various moods and environments, and some are better suited for different decorating styles than others.

  • Wood is warm and inviting, with rich tones ranging from the darkest ebony to pale, golden pine. Wood as a material is used in many different aesthetics and styles. Darker woods like ebony and mahogany used in antique furnishings are great pieces to add to a formal or traditional room, while lighter woods are often used in clean, modern living spaces. Painted and distressed wood pieces convey a homey, cottage feel. These pieces nicely accent a beach house or Victorian style home.
  • Metal furniture and hardware can range from subtle brass to gleaming stainless steel. Stainless steel is often matched with glass on modern bookshelves, tables, and other accent pieces. Metal can feel cold, but it is clean and linear. It's simple to warm up a room featuring metal pieces by adding textured rugs into the mix. For example, wrought iron—a fixture in Spanish and Mediterranean styles—is often combined with stained woods and terracotta for warmth and contrast.
  • Glass is used frequently in midcentury and contemporary modern furnishings, paired often with stainless steel. The translucent nature of glass promotes an open and airy space. Clear and colored glass tiles in kitchen and bathrooms add a more ephemeral and watery feel than opaque ceramic tiles; they can also be used to add texture to kitchens for a modern look.
  • Ceramic and pottery tiling, terracotta, marble and stone are some common choices for surfaces. Marble works wonderfully for a formal look, while stone and terracotta add rich, earthy textures to backsplashes and flooring.
  • Fabrics are one of the easiest ways to add texture, as they are a huge part of daily life and contain many associations. Heavy damasks bring to mind formal, antique furnishings while tweeds and plaids convey vintage nostalgia. Silks, satins and embroidery are integral aspects of many cultures across the globe. And fabrics are available in virtually every color possible.
If you're planning on redecorating a room with new colors and accessories, bring a swatch of material from existing furnishings to the store with you; this will help you pinpoint the colors you'd like to choose, and whether or not it works with your pieces.