Furniture and Texture in Interior Design – How to Add Depth and Pattern

a dark blue velvet sofa with mustard velvet cushions. There is an abstract piece of artwork above the sofa with blue velvet curtains and roses on an industrial style coffee table.
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When we think about interior design in the home, we immediately imagine the color palette, lighting, and room layout. But what about texture and furniture?  

Think about the last time you walked into a room lacking texture. It probably felt cold and uninviting, right?  That’s because we need more than just visual elements; our brains also want tactile stimulation— the feeling of touching something real like wood or fabric.

If you think this isn’t the case, then why don’t we take a look at how texture and furniture complete the design of your home?

The Role of Furniture and Texture in Interior Design

a pink velvet sofa in a living room with glass table, dark sage green walls and pink blossom tree artwork

Texture and pattern are two vital elements in the realm of interior design, often serving as the unsung heroes behind a room’s ambiance and overall look. While colors and furniture layouts tend to grab our immediate attention, it’s texture and pattern that subtly influence our perception, mood, and comfort within a space.

At its core, texture offers a tactile sensation that enhances the tangible experience of a room. Whether it’s the cozy feeling of a plush rug underfoot or the cool touch of a marble countertop, textures appeal to our sense of touch, bringing depth and richness. Visually, textures can create shadow and interest, transforming flat surfaces into dynamic landscapes.

Furniture, on the other hand, is often considered the backbone of any room’s design and serves as a primary medium for introducing and emphasizing both texture and pattern. Its prominence and functionality make it an influential tool in defining a space’s character and feel.

Here’s a deeper look into how furniture plays a pivotal role in establishing these essential design elements.

1. Enhance the Look and Feel of Your Interior Space

a boucle armchair with sheepskin throw, a thick pile carpet and wooden oak table in the living room

Are you tired of your living space looking bland and monotonous? There’s an easy solution; add texture and furniture to your décor. Not only does texture add depth and intrigue to your interior space, but textured surfaces also feel great.

How to Add Texture 

  • Velvet or Leather – Replace your cotton sofa with a plush velvet one, or swap out your plain armchair for a sleek leather one.
  • Bouclé Fabrics: Once a staple of mid-century modern interiors, bouclé, with its looped yarns and tactile appeal, made a massive comeback.
  • Terrazzo Patterns: Originating as a composite material for flooring and walls, the speckled pattern of terrazzo found its way onto furniture. From tabletops to decorative inlays, the terrazzo pattern offers a playful and colorful accent.
  • Rattan and Wicker: With a shift towards natural and sustainable materials, rattan and wicker furniture surged in popularity.
  • Organic Textures: Following the trend of bringing the outdoors in, organic textures like live-edge wood, stone surfaces, and clay became prominent in furniture design.

Designers have started to embrace a mix of textures and patterns within a single piece of furniture. For example, a chair with wooden legs, metal arms, and a fabric cushion has become a way to introduce multiple textures simultaneously or mix and match a vintage coffee table with a cozy, textured rug. And why not add some rustic charm with a reclaimed wood sideboard?

When comparing furniture options, don’t limit yourself to traditional stores. Online furniture websites like Furniture Hunter offer various textures and furniture styles.

2. Designs for a Multi-Sensory Experience

an exposed brick wall in the dining room with industrial style furniture and statement lighting

To create a dynamic visual balance and evoke various emotions, incorporate a variety of textures and furniture into your interior spaces. Different textures can create a multi-sensory experience.

  • Soft and Fluffy Textures: Plush carpets and velvety upholstery can make you feel like you are floating on a cloud.
  • Rough and Rugged Textures: Exposed brick walls or distressed wooden furniture add a touch of rustic charm to any space.
  • Smooth and Sleek Textures: Polished marble or glass surfaces give your area a modern and sophisticated vibe.
  • Irregular and Eclectic Textures: Woven fabrics or handmade ceramics add personality and character to any room.

3. Harmonize with Color

a bed with a patchwork quilt in pink and green tones and a green sash window

Using color in conjunction with texture in interior design creates a multi-dimensional, cohesive, and engaging space. 

Start with a base color and texture that will dominate the space. This acts as a foundation upon which you can layer additional colors and textures.

When using a bold or vibrant color, consider balancing it out with a more understated texture. For instance, a bright orange cushion might be paired with a soft and smooth fabric, ensuring the color remains the focal point.

Pair contrasting textures in similar or complementary colors. Consider a glossy, smooth vase on a matte, rough-textured table or a shiny black lamp stand on a wooden floating nightstand. The contrast creates intrigue and adds a layer of sophistication.

Some color ideas include: 

  • Bold and Vibrant: Picture a room with a rough brick wall painted fiery red. The textures and colors collide, creating an energetic, passionate atmosphere that screams, ‘Look at me!’
  • Soft and Serene: Imagine a smooth, velvety sofa in a calming shade of blue. The gentle texture and soothing color blend effortlessly, inviting you to unwind and relax.
  • Playful and Quirky: Consider a patchwork quilt from different fabrics and patterns. The mix of textures and colors creates a whimsical and eclectic vibe.
  • Elegant and Luxurious: Envision a glossy marble countertop in a rich, deep shade of green. The sleek texture and luxurious color ooze sophistication and refinement.

4. Significance of Patterns

abstract art in blue, reds and creams with a white corner sofa

Texture and pattern are ubiquitous, both in nature and in the environments we create. These elements tap into deep-seated psychological responses, rooted in both our evolutionary history and our everyday experiences.

Upholstered furniture plays a significant role in interior design, serving as both a functional and decorative centerpiece in many spaces. The choice of upholstery can drastically change the character of a room, making it essential to carefully consider whether to opt for bold prints or subtle patterns.

Here’s a guide to help navigate this choice:

Understand the Room’s Purpose

Consider how the room will be used. In spaces designed for relaxation or meditation, subtle patterns might be preferable for their calming effect. On the other hand, bold prints might be more suitable for rooms meant for entertainment or socializing, given their lively and energetic feel.

Bold prints can sometimes overwhelm small rooms, making them feel even more cramped. Conversely, in large spaces, bold prints can anchor the room, preventing it from feeling too sparse. Subtle patterns can be versatile, fitting comfortably in rooms of any size.

Existing Decor 

Take stock of the room’s existing color palette and decor. Bold prints can become focal points, so they should ideally complement the room’s color scheme. Subtle patterns can blend in more easily, harmoniously integrating with the existing decor.

Modern and eclectic rooms might benefit from the vibrancy of bold prints, while traditional or minimalist spaces might gravitate towards the elegance of subtle patterns.

a living room with boucle and velvet cushions and abstract artwork above the fireplace

Personal Preference and Longevity

Bold prints are often trendy, making a statement but also running the risk of falling out of fashion. On the other hand, subtle patterns tend to have a timeless appeal, making them a safer long-term choice for those who don’t frequently update their interiors.

Think about the emotions you want to evoke. Bold can be invigorating and inspiring, while subtle can be soothing and grounding.

Making the Choice

Before finalizing your choice, obtain fabric samples or swatches. View them in the room’s lighting at different times of the day to get a genuine feel for their appearance.

While guidelines are helpful, personal preference plays a significant role in creating a space that feels genuinely “you.” Whether you lean towards the drama of bold prints or the understated charm of subtle patterns, trust your instincts.

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5. Enhance the Effect of Light and Shadows

a corner of a living room with textured wallpaper, large sash windows an armchair with velvet cushions and throws

If you strategically place textured elements in well-lit areas, the interplay between light, shadow, and texture can enhance the overall ambiance of your space. Every textured surface has its unique way of reflecting, absorbing, or diffusing light.

Here are four ways in which textures enhance the effect of light and shadows in your interior spaces:

  • Shadows that dance: Imagine a room with a textured ceiling, where the light from a chandelier casts mesmerizing shadows. 
  • Playful patterns: Textured wallpapers or furniture can create interesting patterns of light and shadow that make your space feel dynamic and alive.
  • Soft and subtle: Textured fabrics like velvet or silk can create a soft and subtle interplay between light and shadow. It’s like wrapping your space in a cozy, textured blanket.
  • Sculptural wonders: Textured sculptures or decorative objects can create fascinating shadows that change throughout the day.

Natural light can affect both color and texture perception. Colors might appear different at various times of the day, and textures can cast shadows, creating a dynamic look. Position textured pieces where they can benefit from changing light conditions.

6. Establish a Consistent Theme or Style

a dark blue panelled wall with vintage artwork, a leather chesterfield sofa and plants

Texture and furniture can establish a theme or style within a room. Whether you prefer a contemporary, rustic, bohemian, or industrial look, you can bring that style to life. Ensuring cohesion in interior design is paramount to creating a space that feels harmonious, balanced, and inviting.

Before purchasing items or making any design decisions, clearly define your theme or color palette. This initial clarity will act as a guidepost for all subsequent choices. Limit your primary palette to 3-5 colors and while you can introduce additional shades as accents, these main colors should be evident throughout the space.

Some ideas include: 

  1. Incorporating distressed wood furniture, burlap curtains, and woven accessories for a rustic and cozy atmosphere. The wood’s rough texture, the natural burlap fibers, and the intricacy of woven pieces will create a warm and inviting space.
  2. If you lean towards a modern and sophisticated vibe, sleek glass surfaces, polished metal finishes, and smooth leather upholstery can work wonders. These textures reflect a sense of elegance and refinement.
  3. If you like a vintage feel to your home, consider adding plush throw pillows with lace or chenille patterns to a rustic leather couch or draping a soft, fringed shawl over the back of an old wooden rocking chair. 

Think about texture as the punctuation mark of your style. Just as bold letters and italics emphasize your words, texture enhances your space, telling a story and capturing the essence of your theme.

7. Set the Mood and Ambiance

a cozy living room with a fire lit, a coffee table with books and flowers and a sofa with textured cushions

Finally, don’t forget to set the mood and ambiance!

Picture this: You walk into your cozy living room, and your feet sink into a soft plush rug. Your eyes draw to the inviting leather couch, with cozy velvet throws and cushions enticing you in.

When you glance over at the silky curtains, gently swaying in the breeze, you can’t help but feel a sense of comfort and relaxation. This kind of mood and ambiance is how texture and furniture can affect your home.

a living room painted in a teal colour with vintage floral artwork, a blue velvet sofa with mustard cushions and curtains and a bay window

Texture and pattern add depth, character, and interest to any interior. However, like many good things, they can be overwhelming when used excessively. Striking a balance is essential to avoid a cluttered and chaotic environment.

The interplay between color, furniture, and texture in interior design is a dance of balance, contrast, and harmony. When done thoughtfully, it results in a space that’s not only visually captivating but also emotionally resonant, offering comfort, inspiration, and delight.

Q. What role does texture play in interior design?

A. Generally, texture adds visual weight and interest in interior spaces. Texture adds cool variation and dimensions to your room, making it more exciting. Without texture, rooms seem flat and dull. But you need the right balance of texture. Too little is boring, and too much is confusing.

Q. How does texture contribute to a sense of space?

A. Texture can make a room look bigger or smaller than it is. It adds dimension and depth to a space. Texture can trick your eyes into thinking a small room is big, or a room is cosy. Texture also interplays light and shadows to create a sense of movement in a space.

Q. How can furniture play a role in introducing texture and pattern?

A. Furniture is a primary element in any interior space. By selecting furniture pieces with distinct textures (like velvet, leather, or wood grain) or bold patterns, one can create focal points, set the theme, and add character to the environment.

Q. How can I update my space using texture without replacing all my furniture?

A. Simple additions or changes can have a big impact. Consider adding textured throw pillows, blankets, or rugs. Reupholstering chairs or swapping out lampshades can also introduce new textures without the need for a complete overhaul.

Q. What’s the most common mistake people make when incorporating texture and pattern?

A. Often, people are either too timid, sticking to one texture or pattern throughout, or going overboard, using too many competing textures and patterns. Both approaches can make a space feel flat or chaotic, respectively. Striking a balance, considering the room’s size, natural light, and function, is key.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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