Why Texture is Design Magic

Why Texture is Design Magic

When you’re designing a space, colors and style often are the main things people think about. But when your style is on-point, your colors are perfectly matched, and it still feels flat, dull, or just like something is missing, look no further than TEXTURE.

Texture is design magic

We have no idea why texture ends up being overlooked so often, because it does something in a room that no other design element does – provides tactile sensation as well as visual. Sure, your couch needs to be comfortable as well as pretty, but you can have two couches that look identical and one feels awful and one feels great, not only comfort-wise but because of the texture of the fabric.


Here’s what we mean when we talk about texture.

It’s the sensation you get when you feel something, of course, but it’s so much more than that. You can look at a plush rug and know it’ll feel squishy and comfortable under your feet the same way you know that having a marble floor there instead will be cold and hard. You can decide that that feeling fits – or doesn’t fit – into a space without ever touching it. A playroom for your children with a cement floor is as bad of an idea as a shag-carpeted kitchen (in more ways than one!).

If you look at the image above, all the soft fabrics, the plush rug, and even the raw wooden table and accent piece give off a relaxed, comfortable vibe. It doesn’t say “business meeting”, “formal” or “sterile”; it says casual, warm, inviting, and definitely comfortable.

See? Texture matters more than just how it feels.

Textures Make Things POP

We overuse that phrase sometimes in design, but only because it works so well. You can make things recede into a space or draw attention straight to them (pop!) with colors and textures. We’ve talked before about how to use pops of color in spaces to make them flexible and easy to change, but texture works a little differently in helping things stand out against one another. Not necessarily drawing your eye to one specific thing, but making sure everything doesn’t just blend together into one amalgamous blob of tan or grey. It provides contrast even among like-items.

We talked in our color series blogs about how warm and cold colors change a room’s feel, and we even wrote about how important the overall psychology of a room is to your mood when you’re in the space. Texture accomplishes that for sure.

Think about what comes to mind when you think of the items and feel of spaces like these:

  • A rustic farmhouse.
  • A brand new, luxury minimalist mansion.

The rustic farmhouse brings to mind rough textures – wood, stones, bricks, maybe even fabrics like burlap, flannel or linens, right? Texture is a huge part of that design style and look. In fact, we’d wager it would be hard to create that style without use of natural textures, even if your colors were spot-on. It’s all about cozy, comfortable, and often functional and tough stuff. Chunky knit blankets, fur rugs, exposed wood and stone and visible textures on sometimes even otherwise-plain fabrics have a big impact.

The luxury, minimalist mansion probably has you thinking sleek, white, angled corners, sharp lines. Probably things with hard edges, metals, shiny materials, yes? Minimalism is one where texture is designed to give the impression of clean and neat looks everywhere. Because of the textures, it can even feel cold to some people.

Take a look below at some minimalism-style rooms. Without the texture of the woods, the rugs, the backsplash or even the barstools, those rooms would look barren and stark. A little bit of variety in texture goes a long, long way.


When you’re putting together pieces of your design, make sure you aren’t just thinking about colors, patterns and style. Think about the overall look and feel you want for a space, and make sure that the textures you incorporate give you that feeling even when you’re just looking at them in photos, not just touching them, and you’ll be on your way to design success.


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